Independent or Assisted Living Planning Attorneys in Conway, Arkansas Helping Families and Older Individuals
A common concern of aging adults is how long they will be able to live independently in their own home or in an independent-living facility before they have to go to an assisted living facility or nursing home. While nobody has complete control over what medical care they might need as they age, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of living independently or semi-independently as long as possible. Doing so not only saves money but often provides more comfort and enjoyment of life for older people. Dudeck Law Firm focuses our practice on estate planning and elder law in Arkansas, and one of our experienced attorneys can help you and your family make the right moves as you consider the options for your own or your elderly relative’s living arrangement as old age approaches. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to explore your options.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Staying in My Home?
When elders choose to live independently in their own homes, this is sometimes called “aging in place”. For most of us thinking ahead to our old age, staying at home as long as possible can seem like the most desirable option. Aging in place has both advantages and disadvantages, however.
Advantages of aging in place can include:
- Lower Cost: If your home is paid for and has been well maintained, living in it can be a lower-cost option compared with moving into an assisted living or long-term care facility
- Familiarity: As we age, most of us take comfort in the familiarity of home and may not adjust well to new situations or environments.
- Reduced Isolation: If friends and family are nearby and visit regularly, this can help to reduce the sense of isolation older people often feel.
- Psychological Benefits: Moving, meeting new people, and losing a sense of independence can take a toll on mental health. Staying at home can reduce stress and emotional upset.
There are possible disadvantages of remaining at home, as well, including:
- Increased Maintenance Costs: Along with struggles to maintain a home come increased costs, as it becomes necessary to hire others to do tasks a homeowner would typically do themselves. Even such tasks as lawn mowing or snow removal can become difficult or impossible for older people and can be expensive to pay for.
- Lack of Maintenance: If maintenance on a home is not done regularly, major problems can ensue that severely reduce the home’s value, as well as raise safety concerns. If a small roof leak, for example, is either not noticed or not repaired due to the expense, the home can become unsafe or uninhabitable as a result of mold growth or structural damage.
- Isolation: If the elder is not surrounded by neighborhood friends or family members, increased isolation can be a problem. Especially once the elder can no longer drive and getting out has become difficult, it can be easy for loneliness to set in and for the beloved home to feel more like a prison.
- Increased Cost of Care: Once an elderly person reaches a point of needing regular care and assistance, staying at home can prove more expensive than other living arrangements. Hiring in-home health aides is one of the most expensive methods of elder care.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Once a person reaches an age at which grocery shopping, cooking, and even swallowing have become difficult or impossible, concerns with proper nutrition can arise.
- Cognitive Decline: If an elderly person is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, they should not be unsupervised. They may be a danger to themselves or others.
Are There Ways to Maintain Independence without Remaining in the Home?
If an older person is not quite equipped to stay at home but still wants to remain as independent as possible, there are several options for independent living besides remaining in the family home. Retirement homes, senior housing communities or apartment complexes, and continuing care retirement communities may be good options for seniors. In these settings, maintenance is usually taken care of, there is less isolation due to planned activities and entertainment, costs are fixed, and there is usually staff available 24/7 to help with anything residents need. Moving into a community of similar-aged people can bring new joy into the life of an older person who has lacked stimulation and companionship. Interacting with other residents while attending educational programs, playing cards, putting together puzzles, sewing, doing crafts, or sharing meals can give a lonely senior quite a boost. Facilities that cater to older populations often have transportation available, allowing seniors who no longer drive to shop, visit friends, or go on outings. Meanwhile, they maintain the independence of living on their own, with their own home or apartment to themselves.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Assisted Living?
A good bridge between independent living and long-term care can be assisted living. In assisted living facilities, residents maintain some level of independence while still having access to help that they may need in performing the activities of daily care such as cooking, cleaning, dressing, bathing, and other routine tasks. There is usually medical staff on call for emergencies, and residents are monitored more closely than they would be in independent living. The costs of assisted living can be high, and it is important to consult with a skilled estate planning and elder law attorney to explore your options in affording assisted living, if that is your choice, while still protecting the assets you’ve spent a lifetime earning.
Why Should I Talk to an Attorney About Independent or Assisted Living?
Dedicated estate planning and elder law attorneys from Conway like those at Dudeck Law Firm can explain all of your options, as well as talk through the various financial and legal ramifications of different living situations. Choosing where to spend your golden years and figuring out how you will pay for it can be stressful and complex. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 and let us help you plan for your future.