The Hidden Language of Senior Housing

If you’re considering downsizing into senior housing, you’ll quickly find out it’s a little more complicated than just leasing a regular apartment. There’s an entirely different language used in senior housing. So, in addition to learning new vocabulary, you also have to take the extra step of finding out why all these new words should even matter to you.

I thought it would be fun to start featuring a senior housing vocabulary word of the week. These won’t be technical definitions, but rather the way I would explain these words to my clients. Hopefully I’ll also be able to explain WHY I think you should know what it means when you’re shopping for a senior housing community. It will be interesting to see how long I’ll be able to keep it up!

Word of the Week: [su_highlight]Aging in Place[/su_highlight]

Everyone who works as a professional who works with seniors uses this word. Frankly, the definition may change a little, depending on who is using the word!

If you hear a home health care company using the words Age In Place, they are likely talking about a situation where you hire the services necessary to stay in your home for as long as you want. In other words, you’re staying put. If you hear a senior housing community using the words Age In Place, they are likely referring to you aging in place in their community, in the apartment you chose when you move in. 10 years ago most of the senior housing communities had a wing for “Independent Living” and a wing for “Assisted Living.”  If you moved into the Independent Living wing and needed an assistive device like a wheelchair, you would then be moved down to the “Assisted Living” wing where all the other residents with wheel chairs lived. Thankfully, now most senior housing communities don’t separate levels of care that way, and everyone just stays in their apartment and if they need to add services, they can add as many as they need and won’t have to move.

If you are shopping for senior housing, one of the questions to ask when you are touring, is whether or not it is an Age In Place community. If it is, you’ll be able to bring in housekeeping and health care services into your apartment without having to move.  This is an appealing choice when you’re already thinking about making such a big move into senior housing.