- 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day. 1
- By 2029, 18% of the U.S. will be retirement age or older. 1
- About 1 in 7 U.S. adults provide unpaid care of some kind to another adult. 2
In the first phase of senior caregiving, seniors are primarily still living independently but may need a little extra help with a few things. Those needs are likely to evolve over time, creating a spectrum of care available for this phase of caregiving.
One of the biggest decisions your clients will face in this stage is the same as in life before caregiving: choosing where to live based on personal preferences and needs. Options can range from seniors staying in their current homes to finding housing that caters specifically to adults 55 and over.
Clients should consider five basic criteria when determining their required level of care, and subsequently, the best place to live:
- Home Care – What is the desired level of maintenance responsibilities, such as the difference between having a home and an apartment (e.g., lawn care, housekeeping, having to make or schedule repairs)?
- Personal Care – Do they need help with meals? What about personal hygiene (e.g., bathing, dressing, laundry)?
- Health Care – Is immediate access to healthcare services a requirement? For example, is medication management or health monitoring needed?
- Finances – What are the associated housing costs? For example, homes come with property taxes, maintenance costs, and possibly HOA fees. What will insurance cover (e.g., Medicare, Medigap, long term care insurance) for any eligible expenses?
- Safety – Is transportation needed? Does the place of residence provide a safe environment (e.g., grab bars in the bathroom/shower/tub, wheelchair accessibility, no fall hazards like rugs)? Is there a way to get help in the event of a fall, such as an emergency call service?
Once they’ve determined their necessary level of care, they’ll have a better idea of the options available to meet those needs. It’s important to note that many of the care needs previously mentioned can likely be met in the home through various service providers and/or home modifications. However, seniors may desire the amenities, activities, and social access that senior communities provide. Some retirement communities even offer a continuum of care in different areas of one location, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care.
As clients move forward in their search, suggest resources like Seniors Blue Book — a source for finding and comparing senior housing, health, and home care that may be found in many local grocery stores. Printed versions exist for larger markets in 15 states, and information on other states may be found on their website.
Further educate clients on their senior housing choices with our Independent Living Options infographic.
Things to Consider:
- Encourage clients to be actively involved in any transition decisions.
- Provide clients with a wide range of resources to help ensure they’re getting the care they need.
- Work closely with your clients to be sure future healthcare costs are part of their overall financial strategy.
Read the next article in the series: How To Know If a Client May Need Assisted Living.
1 “10,000 Boomers Turn 65 Every Day. Can Medicare and Social Security Handle It?” The Fiscal Times, May 2017.
2 “Adult caregiving often seen as very meaningful by those who do it,” Pew Research Center, November 2018.