Assisted living alternatives help seniors seize their golden years

By Colleen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM

Assisted living facilities are a necessity for many aging seniors who find themselves unable to manage their own health care. But for others, the prospect of living among strangers in an institutionalized group home is frightening and unfamiliar – even in the face of debilitating health conditions, loneliness and burdensome homeowner responsibilities. Alternatives to nursing home living include everything from in-home care to co-housing; but in order to determine the conditions best suited to each individual’s unique health, budget and lifestyle needs, it may be necessary to consult management professionals before establishing a new routine.

The New York Times

recently reported on a small but growing trend towards shared senior housing – an unusual solution to the challenges of aging that incorporates cooperative values and community involvement with independence, mobility and limited assistance from professional caregivers. Residents at these facilities, such as those living in the ElderSpirit community of Abingdon, Virginia, help one another accomplish daily tasks ranging from rides to and from the doctor to routine chores and meal preparation – all while residing comfortably in clustered homes located within “shouting distance” of one another.

Current residents at ElderSpirit and several other such communities throughout the United States enthusiastically endorse the senior co-housing movement; but between high start-up costs, long-term development requirements, recession-hobbled funding options and the realities of eldercare for less healthy residents, intentional living communities are likely to remain an exception to the rule. For those looking to find an affordable middle ground between institutionalized living and cooperative community, a consultation with professional healthcare managers can help determine customized, long-term care plans that strike the perfect balance between skilled nursing, senior autonomy and compassionate care.

Find harmony with innovative healthcare solutions for San Diego seniors

Co-housing residents stress the advantages of growing old alongside fellow seniors who provide companionship and community for daily activities as well as emotional and wellness support; and while such community undoubtedly improves quality of life for many seniors, it is hardly the only means by which to give aging loved ones a sense of camaraderie and independence while providing adequate care. At

Innovative Healthcare Consultants,

we consider it a privilege to help aging individuals and their families determine a care plan that is as vibrant and well-rounded as possible – all while taking financial limitations, family preferences and healthcare necessities into account.

By uniting professional, highly skilled geriatric care management with a deep knowledge of health and wellness resources throughout San Diego County, our consultants are fully equipped to aid seniors and caregivers alike in making the best possible decisions for optimized living and personalized service. We understand how to make the golden years even greater: to learn more, visit us online, at