by Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
What are the options we have for housing as we get older? 
Everyone wants to stay in their homes and just die in bed. Some studies show that over ninety percent of seniors want to live the rest of their lives at home. Is this realistic?
Will staying at home work for a person age 75, 85 or 95? Are there stairs or yard work that makes staying at home impossible? Many Americans prefer not to think about the need for assistance in the future or who will provide it. The typical person who is alive at age 65 can expect to live another 20 years. The U.S. government estimates that those turning 65 today will incur $138,000 in future long term services and support services [LTSS] with half being paid by the individual or family and the rest by the government or insurance.
What are some housing choices for seniors that permit them to live safely and with the most independence?
Stay at home. This may work by retrofitting the home with small and large changes such as grab bars in the bathroom, brighter lighting or a ramp. Hiring help to come to the home to assist with bathing, medications and chores may also make it possible to stay safely at home.
Move to an “Independent Living” facility, which used to be called a retirement home. Advantages for this choice include a sense of community, activities and someone else taking care of the house chores, meals and yard work. These facilities assume that their residents are able to take care of themselves and live independently, but want a lifestyle with less daily responsibilities.
Assisted Living is available for individuals who need some help with some of the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing or handling their medications, yet that person has the ability to do many tasks on their own.
Nursing Homes provide 24 hour care for those with more serious health issues.
Advanced planning for LTSS (long term services and support services) allow for more options to protect the independence and assets of Seniors as they age.
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 What Are My Long-Term Care Options? By John Schwartz, New York Times, September 12, 2019
 U. S Government, Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, ASPE Issue Brief, “Long=Term Services and Supports for Older Americans: Risks and Financing, “ Revised February 2016