I Don’t Need Assisted Living!

Am I getting too old to live by myself? This creeps into my thoughts when things are not as easy as they used to be.  I push it back, my mom lived by herself until she was 90.  I have at least 20 years left.  As I am deep in thought my foot hits something and I am on the floor with the dust bunnies looking back at me from under the couch.  I look around to see what I tripped on and see a cord that has worked its way out from behind the couch.  

Looking at my arms and elbows I see the telltale signs of new bruises next to the yellow fading one. I know I am going to hear it again from my daughter when she sees these.  I wish there was some way to get her to get her off the subject of assisted living.  Sitting down on the couch, I notice the stack of articles she printed off, the top one says “Outside-of-the-Box Assisted Living Communities” the next one is “Alternatives to Assisted Living”. I pull out the second one and start to read, just so I can tell her I read them, but continue since it has some interesting ideas.

Independence is something we treasure as soon as we are old enough to start crawling.  The thought of losing all or some of our independence is a tough pill to swallow.  When a loved one brings it up to us, we may not be ready to accept that it should at least be a conversation.  Nor do we want to admit that we have thought about it from time to time as we have seen our friends move to assisted living.  Looking at the shiny brochures and the fancy websites showing people smiling and socializing like they have found paradise is not the reality when you visit.  All the staff may not be friendly, some of the residents will be unpleasant, you will feel as if you must answer to the staff, and worst of all you have lost your home.

Alternatives to Assisted Living

The traditional assisted living center is not your only option.  Other options include:

  • Aging in place and have the help come to your house, look at Care.com to find individual assistance.
  • Assisted living or a Retirement community that is interest specific, such as outdoor, arts, etc.,  Marketwatch article has additional information.
  • Retirement centers on college campuses where you have access to classes, meals, common areas and are usually within walking distance to other amenities.  The Senior List compares these to assisted living center, click here to read their article.
  • Co-Housing where the houses all share a common living or outdoor space, and the homeowners all help each other. Click here to find a Co-Housing Community in your area.
  • Group Homes, offer live in assistance, home cooked meals and other family like qualities, click here to read more from AARP.

Find the right level of care for you by visiting AARP and use their tool to look for resources in your area. Assisted living can be a valuable option when you find one that fits your requirements, if this is the option that you choose, read this article from A Place for Mom, Finding the Right Assisted Living Community: 50 Essential Questions to Ask.

For Vets, An Alternative To Nursing Homes

The VA also has specific resources related to aging in place, assisted living, and long-term nursing care, to read their guide click here. Then once you have read their guide schedule an appointment with your local Veteran Service Office (VSO), and they can help find the right solution or combination of solutions for you. To find your local VSO office go to Know A Vet? and put your zip code in the box toward the top of the home page.[NL1] 

Looking to change your living situation, if it’s getting additional help or a move, there is always a financial aspect.  Additional cost creates additional stress, review Know A Vet? page on aging for help with emotional aspects of aging and where to get help. The VA guide has a lot of information on what they cover, but there are civilian resources that can help, click here, to find resources for your situation.  

In Home Care vs Assisted Living and Nursing Homes – Mind and Mobility – The Better Alternative

Whether it’s getting help in your home, applying for financial help or moving to a community always make sure to check reviews and third-party sources before giving any personal information.  Watch for future articles from Know A Vet? for additional information on how to identify scams, how to verify a company or person to avoid a scam, and what information you should provide.

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