Perhaps one of the most challenging decisions for seniors is where to live during their golden years. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are expensive, yet living alone is often dangerous and lonely. Finding the right balance is difficult; however, emerging trends are changing the way we think about senior living. Here are some tips that can help you with this important decision.

The Rising Popularity of House Sharing

Among the popular housing trends for seniors is house sharing. This is an attractive option for those who want to remain independent and in their own home. By sharing their home with another person, they reduce expenses, feel safer, and don’t feel quite so lonely. This can be especially helpful for seniors who have special needs.

Rent is either a monetary contribution, help around the home, or a combination of both. The main goal of home sharing for seniors is to share their home with someone in such a way that it provides a mutual benefit.

Finding the right person to share your home with is crucial for success. The wrong roommate can have the negative effect of stress and worry when they fail to respect your space or share responsibility. 

Home sharing requires adjusting to a new person living in your house, condominium, or apartment. At the same time, you must practice patience as it is a new situation for them as well. As TruSense points out, you should weigh the lack of privacy against the benefits the roommate brings to your situation as you enter into an agreement.

Village to Village Senior Living

One new concept gaining momentum throughout the United States is the Village to Village model. This type of senior living is membership-based and allows seniors to remain in their own homes and communities. 

Each village is its own nonprofit membership organization. Volunteers within the organization assist seniors with transportation, home repairs and other tasks. Villages help members find resources and information they need. 

There are currently more than 110 villages in the United States with an additional 120 in development. This data shows the popularity of this growing segment that allows seniors to age in their community. 

Aging in Place with Modifications

For seniors who choose to age in place within their own home, modifications are sometimes necessary for their safety. The National Council on Aging reports that every 11 seconds, a senior is treated in an emergency room for a fall. 

Two main areas of concern are the kitchen and the bathroom. The bath is of special concern due to the possibility of water on the floor. Though a walk-in tub is a costly upgrade, it allows seniors to take a bath while reducing their chance of a fall. Lower cost changes like adding a rubber mat and installing grab bars can make a big difference in safety, too.  

In the kitchen, if a senior is still able to prepare their own meals, consider a touch-screen stove and levered faucet handles for the sink. These two modifications alone will help seniors who suffer from arthritis

You should also ensure at least one entrance to the home is step-free. This can be accomplished by adding a ramp. Widening the doorway is also a plus, since assistive equipment like walkers and wheelchairs often require a little more elbow room than what a traditional doorway provides. 

If your home isn’t a good fit for senior-friendly modifications, it may be time to move. Downsizing will not only make maintaining the home easier, it is typically a safer choice for seniors than a larger, multi-story home. Before looking at listings, use an online calculator to help you decide how much house you can comfortably afford. These calculators typically ask you to input your income, down payment, and monthly bills, along with the area you wish to live in. If you wish to rent, you can do an online search and even filter your results by price and disability access.

Avoid Isolation

Aging in a community keeps you social. Isolation is a serious health threat that can lead to depression and even an increased risk of heart problems. Don’t spend your golden years alone; join others in exploring the available options to get you out and about and living among your peers.

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