Anti aging guide

Type of Accommodation for Old Age



How to determine the proper type of accommodation for older people

If on balance a move seems the most sensible step, the next task is to decide on the type of accommodation. Again, it will be necessary to pay attention to your possible future needs, for example, should you acquire any disabilities. Remember that well-designed aids to living should not be obtrusive and should not embarrass or offend any able-bodied person. It should be possible to ignore them if they are not required – however, should the need for their use arise, they will be instantly available and familiar.

The following are important principles to keep in mind.

  1. A single level is better than multiple levels.
  2. Sufficient space should be available for your possessions and visitors.
  3. Avoid large empty spaces.
  4. If not located on the ground floor, make sure there is at least one lift.
  5. Go for ease of maintenance and heating.
  6. Seek good communications.
  7. Ensure convenient access for others.

Generally a flat or bungalow is best but also consider houses where you could live on the ground floor alone, if necessary, for example, where there is a downstairs bathroom and lavatory. Storage space should be ample but convenient, i.e. not overhead. Good communication should encompass not only the availability of a telephone and personal alarm system, but also easy access to public transport and facilities such as shops, banks, and post office. Always remember that there is the risk that you may have to give up your driving license for health or financial reasons.

Make access easy for others by opting for accommodation in the center of a community – be it town, village, or neighborhood. If you ever need support from others, your chances will be enhanced by being conveniently located.

With the development and increased use of technology, it should become less necessary for elderly people to move house. If somebody already lives in suitable accommodation with provision of a personal alarm to summon help when needed in an emergency, it should obviate the need to move if and when support is needed. However, should an older person desire special accommodation there is now a greater range available both for purchase and for renting.

Specialized accommodation usually takes the form of sheltered housing. This is based on the almshouse layout. Small, convenient living units are grouped and supervised by a warden. There is the opportunity for mutual support amongst the residents – but this may not occur if they only have their fears and anxieties in common. They will have been brought together to be sheltered and are frequently reluctant to participate in any neighbor’s care. If a unit in a private sheltered scheme is to be purchased it is important that professional and legal advice is sought concerning the terms and conditions. Important aspects needing consideration are the management arrangements, especially of the warden and deputy, and the control of service costs and limitations on tenure and resale.

Those who become very frail and no longer have the ability or will to live independently will have to consider institutional care. Essentially this high-dependency form of care is subdivided into residential or rest-home care, and nursing homes or long-stay hospitals. The former concentrates on providing hotel-type services for those who are personally independent or need only minimal help with activities such as dressing or bathing. Nursing homes and hospitals cater for the more disabled and will provide constant nursing supervision and help. The private provision of both residential and nursing home care has multiplied in the last few years. Some state provision is still available through the local authority for residential care and the National Health Service for nursing home and hospital care. However, there has been a contraction in the statutory provision of these forms of support during recent years.

A further development in the private sector has been the establishment of continuing care communities. These provide a full range of accommodation, from totally independent units for those who require no assistance, through sheltered accommodation, to full nursing home care. It is necessary to buy into these schemes and the price is high – but once in, there should be a guarantee that you will be provided with whatever level of care you need for the management of your health and disability problems right up to your death.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - April 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm