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The fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many of us to re-evaluate where and how we as seniors are going to reside in our later years in life.  Families are also concerned regarding best living arrangements for their loved ones in the future.

There will undoubtedly be a lot of dissecting of how residents are managed in Long Term Care, and Retirement Homes.  This pandemic has shown us that congregated living arrangements present distinct challenges in managing highly contagious illness.  The management of contagious illness is nothing new, in the past we have had to manage Influenza outbreaks most years, but Covid-19 has presented with more serious problems and high mortality.    Eventually new protocols and changes will be made as how to better manage the flow of others entering the congregated living setting to better protect those who reside within the communities.  Yet it will be a long time before we forget the hardships, worries, haunting images and burdens this pandemic has placed on all of us.

Many of us are asking – so what next – where do we go from here…. Where do our seniors live safely?

First off, conversations need to happen between the people involved.  This conversation needs to include financial considerations, caregiver roles, living arrangements, health needs, cost of private care, and other expense (specialized equipment). You also need to consider…. what if’s, alternative plans, roles and responsibilities, impact on family units, planning for caregiver burnout – the list of considerations can be extensive depending on situation.  Once you have a ‘working plan’ remember – that it is just that – a plan, that will need to be re-evaluated, fine tuned or changed as circumstances and needs change.

What alternatives are there for living in our senior years? What assistance is out there?  What is the cost?  There are options, however these too can present other challenges as well.  The options available to you will be dependant many things – area you live, proximity to resources, financial circumstances, government assistance eligibility, private care providers, family resources, suitable living accommodations.

After considering your options and cost, perhaps you can support and provide for the aging senior in alternative living arrangements for a certain amount of time.   However, at some point the decision may be that the best choice is a congregate living setting like Long Term Care or Retirement Home living as the best solution for the higher needs of the senior – and that’s OK, you have done your due diligence and made an informed choice and decision.

Just remember – how we provide care is always evolving and changing.  Best Practices and protocols will change how we provide care to those high need individuals requiring specialized care best provided for in congregate settings.  What ever your residence of choice, time has been taken to weigh the options making the best decision for your given circumstances.  Congratulations.