Should I Just Stay In a Hotel?

Why not just stay in a hotel?!

Someone sent me a cute email this morning, in which the writer suggested that, for the daily cost of a nursing home, she might just as well stay in a hotel.  The daily cost would be about 1/3 of what the nursing home would charge, leaving plenty left over for meals (even room service) and tips for the helpful staff.  The hotel probably has a free fitness center, pool and business center, and you can either use the washer/dryer on your floor or, for an extra charge, leave your laundry in the plastic bag on your doorknob for the hotel to take care of for you.  You could use the city bus for your errands, and for a change of scene, you could take the hotel shuttle to the airport, and shop and eat there.  You can call down to the  front desk for security by just pressing 1 key on your phone, and the maid who comes in every day to clean would check and see if you were ok.

This definitely sounds appealing, and even cost-effective.  Frankly, it would also be a lot easier than sorting through the confusion about what level of senior living facility might be right for you.  25 years ago, pretty much every residential facility for seniors was called a nursing home.  Now, that term refers only to a “skilled nursing facility” (sometimes referred to by the acronym “SNF”), which provides hands-on care to people being rehabilitated from an injury or illness, or are unable to perform at least 2 of their “activities of daily living” (ADLs) – feeding themselves, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, transferring themselves from bed to chair and getting around without help.  Unfortunately, a person who needed to be in a nursing home would probably not be able to get in and out of the hotel’s tub, dress herself or use the bus.

For seniors who are still healthy and active, there are a lot of residential choices that are a lot like hotels!  These might be age-restricted communities like Sun City, or independent living facilities that provide private apartments, restaurant-style meals and lots of activities.  And in between, there are assisted living facilities that provide hands on assistance that is not necessarily medical.  The possibilities are almost endless, and very confusing (which is another reason why staying in a hotel is so appealing!)  An excellent resource to help navigate the various options is the Area Agency on Aging.  The Area Agency in the Phoenix, AZ area can be found at http://www.aaaphx.org, and their national organization, which can point you to the Area Agency in your area, is at http://www.n4a.org

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