It’s common for independent living to become difficult with age. This is true for various reasons; the loss of a spouse no longer makes a person feel comfortable being alone in a big house. No longer having the ability to drive increases the need to be closer to an adult child. Or sometimes medical issues necessitate avoiding stairs. No matter what the reason may be, figuring out what to do next can be challenging, especially in these financially trying times.
While it seems like a viable option, assisted living facilities can cost on average between $25,000 and upwards of $50,000 a year, which is not realistic for most families. In a recent report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median household income in the U.S. is $52,098 and most Social Security benefits only pay out about $1,230 per month. Seems pretty difficult to pay for assisted living, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, there are many affordable solutions to independent living. As the primary Caregiver for your loved one, it’s important to understand what all of the options might be. Here are four of the best:
This is the type of living arrangement that might evoke memories of old “Golden Girls” episodes, but senior roommates are making a comeback. Not wanting to bear the burden or expenses of living alone, many seniors are choosing to cohabitate. There are both for profit and non-profit websites that help you find senior roommates in your neighborhood.
Medical Alert Devices
Medical alert devices are a great way to keep loved ones protected when you can’t be there with them. Thanks to new technologies, Medical Guardian’s medical alert systems are equipped with fall detection technology that triggers an alarm without the push of a button. If Dad is having a heart attack, or if Mom falls and knocks herself unconscious, Medical Guardian’s emergency trained responders will still be alerted and help will be dispatched to the house.
Companion care is offered across the country and services range from helping with housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, bathing, toileting, or grocery shopping. The price is dependent upon the services needed and most companies will customize packages for you. If you are planning on finding a home health aide without going through a company, be aware that while this might be the cheaper option, there is no regulation, and therefore no guarantees about how that person will do their job.
For the more tech-savvy seniors, there are many new products and devices that can help them perform day-to-day tasks while keeping them out of harm’s way. iRobot’s Roomba and Looj are great for getting housework done in a safer way. The Roomba is an automatic vacuum that zips around the house doing the work for you and Looj is a robot that uses a fan and brush to clear leaves and debris from your gutters. Lids Off Automatic Jar Opener by Black and Decker is a guaranteed way to open jars with the push of a button and TV Ears is a wireless device that helps the hard of hearing enjoy their TV time.