The Senior Residence Dilemma: When Small Might Be Better
We all have heard the comments for many years and toward a variety of matters….’Bigger is better’; ‘Think big’; ‘Go big or go home.’ There is no question that big can be best – depending on the situation being addressed – but an equally compelling argument can be made for something less than the biggest. Take for example the matter of senior living. In Atlanta, many seniors find advantages in large, complex residential communities. Those Assisted Living communities certainly offer many attractive benefits for those wishing to reside in a larger community. On the other hand, there are great advantages in living in smaller home environments with personal touches.
The question these seniors and their families must ask is whether or not these smaller residences can meet their needs and offer amenities scaled to their requirements. Can big things be found in small packages?
For many Atlanta area residents, the answer is a resounding yes, as more and more seek the benefits of a move into a Residential Personal Care Home.
In Georgia, a Residential Personal Care Home is an adult residence that provides protective care and watchful oversight of seniors who desire to maintain an active lifestyle but need some degree of supervision and assistance with daily personal needs. Residential Personal Care Homes provide housing, meals and assistance with daily living activities for one or more non-related seniors. The homes typically house between 2 and 10 residents who rent private or shared bedrooms but have access to the entire house.
So who would likely benefit by such a residence?
Residential Personal Care Homes work well for those who can no longer maintain independent living, who need some level of supervision, require some assistance with personal care, are in need of assistance with medication management or have physical or cognitive impairments. The last is of particular importance as many Residential Personal Care Homes provide a program of dementia care as the need arises.
For many, Residential Personal Care Homes offer advantages that the larger communities may not be able to match. Since the homes are smaller with fewer residents per building, the resident receives more hands-on care and personal attention since the caregiver to resident ratio is higher. These homes are often converted family homes found in residential neighborhoods that offer a more ‘homelike’ atmosphere that include a living room, dining room,a patio as well as more opportunities for social interaction with the owner, staff, other residents and their families, pets, and the neighborhood at large.
Residential Personal Care Homes are generally less expensive than other types of senior housing. The cost per month in a Residential Personal Care Home depends on the location of the home and the services required by the senior and can range from approximately $1500 a month for a shared bedroom to more than $3500 a month. Many Atlanta area seniors with a limited amount of financial resources find these homes and their costs in line with what they are seeking.
For those with anticipated memory care needs, many Residential Personal Care Homes specialize in memory care through the design and layout of the home, the education and training requirements for their staff, and the special programs and activities afforded their residents.
With smaller residences, seniors often express a higher degree of satisfaction with their sense of control, privacy, and independence in making choices and decisions.
One key question seniors and their families need to ask prior to any move to a senior living option is what happens when the senior is no longer able to care for themselves? Residential Personal Care Homes offer the opportunity to ‘age in place’ with continuity of staff and residence; this helps avoid multiple relocations and reduces stress.
Before any move to a senior living residence, the senior and his or her family should contact Atlanta Senior Advocates. Advocates have the most up to date information on residential personal care homes and the levels of care they can provide.
Big can be good, but for many seniors, small can be better. A move to a large or small senior residential setting is a decision that must take into consideration a number of factors such as cost, location, needs, amenities and the overall feel of what would work best for the senior.
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