| Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Live Independently as You Get Older

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

what is assisted livingThere comes a time when you start to think about where you will want to live as you get older. It’s not an easy decision to make, but with proper planning, you can help yourself enjoy a future with a continued independent lifestyle.

What will make you happy? What is most important to you? Do you want to live in a state with warm weather, to be close to family and friends, or to stay put in your current home? Do you want to move to an apartment or condo? Maybe you would feel more comfortable living in an assisted living facility.

There are also financial, health and social issues to consider when deciding where to live.

What kind of lifestyle do you want? Do you want to spend your time in solitude and just relax or do you want to be as active as possible and fully engaged with others in the community?

Location. How important is it? Do you want to stay in familiar territory, close to your family, friends, doctors, shopping and restaurants? Make sure the area will allow you to get around easily, whether you drive, take a bus or train, or walk.

Will you have problems getting around the home? Will health issues cause you to look for features to help you get around comfortably and safely? Will you need to look for a home that has things like bathroom grab-bars, wheelchair ramps or is located in a community that offers free or subsidized transportation to take you shopping or to the doctor?

How much will the home cost? If you stay in your own home, think about the costs associated with the home’s general maintenance and upkeep. Will you do the work yourself, or will you hire someone to do it for you? There may be yard care and interior and exterior home maintenance programs available through community-based organizations or your local or state governments.

If you rent a townhome or condo, you will need to think about the costs of association fees. If you decide to sell your home, the sale proceeds could help toward the costs of a home or other living arrangements better suited to your new lifestyle.

Will you be eligible for any publicly funded or subsidized services, such as Medicare or Medicaid? Contact your local, state or federal government offices to see if you are eligible for assistance.

You may want to talk to a lawyer. It may be wise to speak with a lawyer to be sure you understand your rights and any legal concerns, particularly if you plan on selling your home or other large assets or are thinking about a reverse mortgage.

Will you need an assisted living or nursing home facility? Depending on where you live, assisted living can range from the most basic in-home services to a facility providing help with activities of daily life. People who live in an assisted living facility generally have a private bedroom, bathroom, small kitchen and living area. There are usually common areas for socializing with family, friends and other residents.

People who need daily nursing care and help with bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed would probably be more comfortable and be better suited to living in a nursing home.

These are just a few things to think about while deciding where to live to maintain the most independent lifestyle possible.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources

Housing Options for Older Adults: Area Agency on Aging (eldercare.gov)

Living Arrangements for Seniors: AARP Medicare Plans by UnitedHealthcare (aarpmedicareplans.com)

Independent Living for Seniors: A nonprofit resource (helpguide.org)

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