The Midwest is a unique region of the United States for many reasons, and one reason is that it has a high percentage of senior citizens (those aged 65 and older) living in the region. In fact, Ohio alone has more people over the age of 50 living in the state than Oklahoma has people! The Midwest as a whole is largely representative of the U.S., with the median age being around 38. With that being said, here are some of the most common living options for seniors in the Midwest, as well as all over the U.S.
#1: Aging in Place
Most seniors prefer to (and are able to) remain in their homes as they age, and this is what is known as aging in place. However, most people aren’t aware that aging in place may require certain changes to be made in order to do so safely and comfortably. Senior falls can still be a risk, and the majority of these falls occur in one’s own home— and usually in the bathroom. Because of this, these are the most common bathroom upgrades for seniors:
- Walk-in bathtubs/showers
- Vinyl flooring in place of ceramic tiles
- Grab bars in the shower
Extremely hard flooring and extremely soft flooring in other rooms of the home can also be hazardous. Other changes that may be necessary include chair lifts for stairs and wheelchair ramps on the exterior of the home.
#2: Hospice Care
Unfortunately, not all seniors are healthy enough to continue living in their homes, and some may even have terminal illnesses. This is when hospice care can be the best living option. It’s important to understand that hospice care doesn’t provide any medical treatment, but instead, its focus is to make sure its patients are as comfortable as possible. Therapeutic treatments and pain management may be given, but not any treatment for illness. Hospice care also provides grief comfort and counseling for families.
#3: Moving in With Family
Another option seniors may have when it comes to living arrangements is to move in with other family members, creating what is known as a multigenerational home. This may be done when aging in place isn’t as safe as it could be, and this could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe home renovations are too expensive, or maybe the senior needs some extra care. This option also gives family members peace of mind.
However, for those caring for an aging loved one, it can be challenging and even stressful. Fortunately, there are respite care centers and adult daycare centers that can give caregivers temporary relief and avoid burnout. This is important and necessary to avoid potential elder abuse, which is usually caused by family members.
#4: Nursing Homes and Assisted Living
Nursing homes are the most popular type of assisted living facility, and this is the ideal living arrangement for seniors who need round-the-clock care. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with all nursing homes across the Midwest, as many homes have also abused their patients. This is due to a variety of reasons, from being overpopulated and understaffed, to nursing home staff not knowing how to properly perform their duties. Some of the most common examples of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Medication errors
If your aging loved one needs to be placed in a nursing home, make sure it’s a quality home that has adequate and qualified staff. Still, if you suspect that your aging loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse/neglect, contact a Midwest elder abuse attorney at nursinghomelawcenter.org.
#5: Retirement Communities and Independent Living
Retirement communities are another option for seniors who don’t need special or 24/7 care. These are independent living facilities that are apartment-, condo-, or townhouse-style homes, and some even accept adults as young as 55. They also have amenities like pools/jacuzzis, tennis courts, gyms, and meeting rooms, and some even provide transportation and housekeeping services. This option allows seniors to be more social than some may be if they decided to remain in their homes.
When seniors (and their families) decide on a living arrangement, it should be what’s best for the seniors. Those who are still independent can age in place, move into a retirement community, or even move in with family. On the other hand, those with an illness or special needs should choose an assisted living place that will best serve their needs.