Senior living ranked: Best/worst living options for Chicago seniors

Senior living is a topic that looks at the living options senior citizens (those aged 65 and older) have. The two main categories of senior living are independent living and assisted living, with many options within each category. Here’s a look at what research says are the best and worst living arrangement options for seniors in Chicago.

Aging in place: Best

Studies and information across the web have shown that aging in place is one of the best living arrangements for seniors if they can do so safely and comfortably. This type of independent living means that the senior remains in his or her own home, as opposed to moving into assisted living. One of the biggest reasons that this living arrangement is best is because it provides familiarity for seniors.

This living arrangement does come with a few cons and concerns. One major concern is the safety of the home the senior is living in. Some home renovations to consider include grab bars in the shower, a ramp at the front door, non-skid floors, and even a residential elevator.

Once the house is made safe to live in, it’s also important to consider community resources for seniors so that they don’t grow lonely and become isolated. Making sure that family and/or friends come by to visit and they’re involved in community activities can be a big help.

Retirement community: Better

Retirement communities are another form of independent living that many seniors choose. This may be an option for seniors who can’t afford (or prefer not) to make renovations on their home, but they’re mobile and independent because they’ve prioritized their health. Some retirement communities in the Chicago area accept adults as young as 55, and others may offer assisted living services as needed. They even offer meal, laundry, and transportation services, and amenities such as:

  • Exercise equipment
  • Meeting rooms
  • pools/jacuzzis
  • Tennis courts
  • Walking trails

It’s important to keep in mind that retirement centers aren’t free to live in. They’re apartment-style or townhome structures, and rent can range anywhere from $575 a month to $3,575 a month— with retirement communities in the Chicago area being on the higher end. However, you don’t have to be retired to live in one of these communities, and social security income may help cover costs.

Nursing homes: Worst

On a surface level, nursing homes and other assisted living facilities are the best options for seniors who can’t live safely on their own, who don’t have family that can properly care for them, and who need daily assistance. These facilities are supposed to be equipped and staffed with the best medical devices and healthcare professionals to help care for a wide range of ailments. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case as nursing home staff are known for seriously neglecting and sometimes abusing their patients— making it one of the worst options for senior living.

If you have any questions about nursing home abuse in Chicago specifically, do your research. You can also contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect if you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of this.

Other living options

Another popular living arrangement among seniors is moving in with other family members. This is sort of a combination of aging in place (because the senior is likely in a familiar home) and assisted living (if the family also acts as caregivers). Moving in with family can be a viable option for some seniors, but not all. There still may have to be some home renovations, and caregivers may need to look into respite care so they don’t get burned out.

Memory care is an option for seniors experiencing a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The staff at these facilities are specially trained to take care of seniors with dementia, including calming them down when they’re emotionally distraught and making sure they don’t wander away.

Hospice care is another option, but it’s only for seniors (and individuals of any age) with a terminal illness. Instead of spending the final days in the hospital, a hospice care center is more comfortable and more like a home setting for the terminally ill to spend their final days. Overall, aging in place is best if you can do so both safely and comfortably, and it’s even better when you have a social support system. Nursing homes are the worst when neglect and abuse are common, though there are high-quality nursing homes where this doesn’t occur. The bottom line is that you should look at the pros and cons of each option to decide what’s best