Unfortunately, wisdom isn’t the only thing that aging brings. It also brings changes that can make staying in a cherished home difficult, if not impossible. As an elder’s care needs change over time, so will their housing options. When deciding a senior’s future housing plan, understanding the differences between independent living, assisted living and nursing homes is a crucial part of the long-term plan.

As a director for an agency whose mission it is to help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible, I know that sometimes, despite valiant efforts, a person must move to a setting that is better equipped to meet their needs. On many occasions it is not the senior, but rather a concerned family member, who recommends this move from the home where they have created so many memories. This is certainly not an easy decision for the caregiver either—especially if they have made the promise to never put them in a nursing home.

The move into senior living will always be an emotional one, but steps can be taken to make this transition a little less difficult.