The graying of America is definitely upon us. With more and more seniors needing assistance, some are finding new ways to live out their golden years. In this week’s New York Times blog “The New Old Age,” writer Emily Liedel examines some alternatives to the nursing homes and assisted living centers of the past. For instance, in Emily’s article Growing Older in an Urban Village a two-year-old nonprofit is serving 165 households. Lincoln Park Village in Chicago was organized by older adults who want to age at home. More than 60 such villages, modeled on Boston’s decade-old Beacon Hill Village, have been started, and 100 more are in development.
August 9th’s post: My House, Our Home includes a video portrait of two women sharing a home. In this case, the elder shared her housing with the caregiver to create a win-win situation. The article notes that some 27 percent of people over age 65 live alone, compared with 10 percent of the total population, according to census data. Annette Leahy Maggitti, co-president of the National Shared Housing Resource Center, said that interest
in shared housing has grown since the economic downturn. A similar program she runs in Baltimore matched 102 pairs in 2010, compared with 49 in 2008.
The video portraits included in Emily’s articles, are produced by fellow reporters in the News21 program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The videos offer reports on four of these new versions of senior living: a shared housing arrangement in White Plains, a senior co-housing development in Virginia, an urban village in Chicago and an R.V. community in East Texas. While these new solutions may not be suitable for everyone, they offer a new way of thinking about senior living arrangements.
If assisted living or a nursing home is more in line with your needs, you may be interested in visiting Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare web page. They have recently revamped the criteria they use to compare nursing homes using 21 new quality-of-care measures that assess patients’ experiences at both long-term care and short-term care facilities. And here’s our article on What To Do When Your Spouse Needs a Nursing Home.
Once you have found a solution that is right for your situation, you will be faced with how to pay for it and how to make sure that you have enough to last your lifetime. We have resources available on our website to help you determine whether you may qualify for a Veterans benefits or Medi-Cal before you go broke! It’s a brave new world for seniors today. We are not going to do it in the same way as our parents did, but we have to admit: these decisions are life changing. Be sure to seek the advice of a trusted elder law attorney before making any decisions that could later disqualify you from receiving a benefit you were due.