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Your Aging Parents: Living Arrangements

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Assisted Living

Money Morsel

Anticipating an increased need for assisted living, the Marriott hotel chain has entered the assisted living arena with its Brighton Gardens communities. These are upscale assisted living facilities that cater to the needs of elderly persons.

Assisted living is a level of care that's somewhere between independent living and nursing home care. It varies greatly because every person in an assisted living facility may have different levels of need. Geriatric specialists say that people in assisted living generally need help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, eating, and using the bathroom. Assisted living also provides, or provides help with, tasks such as using a telephone, taking medicine, cooking, managing finances, using transportation, and so forth. Most provide three meals a day, with residents eating together in a dining room. Many offer transportation to doctor appointments, shopping, and other locations; activities and recreation; and housekeeping and laundry services. Assisted living facilities are not nursing homes. While some facilities accept high-need residents, most do not take people who suffer from dementia or who are incontinent.

Nursing Homes

No one likes to think about sending a parent to a nursing home, but there sometimes is just no choice. If Mom has Alzheimer's disease or anther type of dementia, is incontinent, can't move, or is just too sick for you to care for and no longer qualifies for assisted living, she may need the skilled care of a nursing home staff. Most nursing homes provide 24-hour nursing care, on-call physicians, personal care, meals and nutritional monitoring, laundry, activities, therapy, rehabilitation services, and counseling. Patients with different needs normally are placed in different sections of the building. Alzheimer's patients, for instance, may live in a separate wing. People who are in the nursing home temporarily for rehabilitation services after a stroke or illness may be housed in a certain area. All nursing homes have to be licensed, and they're inspected by state and federal agencies. There are a lot of issues—financial, practical, and emotional—involved with placing a loved one in a nursing home.

Senior citizens are coming up with some innovative housing solutions on their own. Some are taking on a roommate, or arranging for house sharing situations. Allow your parents to be creative when assessing their living arrangements.



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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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