Assisted living, home care, skilled nursing, adult day programs, memory care—these refer to just a few of the many types of senior services. While it’s great that there are a wide variety of options to fit different situations and needs, deciding which is right for your loved one can be a difficult and overwhelming process. It’s important to make a careful, informed decision, as pairing someone with the right care is essential to their health, safety and well-being.
So, where should you start?
First, assess family/caregiver and financial factors. What kind of caregiving commitment or involvement is the family or current caregiver available for? Is the current level of responsibility becoming too stressful? Is there a limited support system? Signs that a caregiver may be in over his or her head include declining physical and emotional health, job performance and parenting abilities. In general, if a caregiver seems unable to juggle other responsibilities, it may be time to seek additional support.
Financial considerations are also important. Many seniors live on a fixed monthly income, and if his or her spouse is still living, selling their home or using retirement money may not be an option. If your loved one will need your financial help in getting the care they need, it’s also important to properly assess your own financial situation and hold off on making care decisions until you’ve figured out what you and other family members can contribute.
Once you have a solid understanding of existing caregiving and financial resources, you can begin to research different care options.
Home care can be a great route for when isolated services or minimal care is needed. This type of care allows your loved one to stay in their home, and it can give the current caregiver a much-needed respite to look forward to. The services home care providers offer varies widely, from medical care and personal care assistance to help with laundry and other housekeeping duties.
One thing to keep in mind in regard to home care, though, is that while it can afford your loved one lots of one-on-one attention, it lacks the social aspect that community-based care options like assisted living provide.
Assisted living communities, as the name suggests, provide housing, healthcare, support services and activities for seniors who prefer to reside in a community setting. This can include meal assistance, medication management, transportation and help bathing or dressing. Upon moving into a community, residents receive an individualized service plan based on their health needs, to be updated as those needs change.
For seniors with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, there are also memory care assisted living communities. These communities provide all the services offered at a traditional assisted living community in a setting designed to meet the unique needs of individuals living with memory impairment. This includes specially-designed activities, programming and building features, as well as specially-trained staff.
Memory care assisted living often comes with a high price tag, as residents typically require comprehensive daily care. Oftentimes, a home must be sold or a strong financial plan must be in place to manage the payments, but the good news is that many long-term insurance policies, as well as veterans’ benefits, will help to cover the costs.
Skilled nursing facilities offer skilled care from nurses and specialists such as physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists. This type of care is often the best option for seniors with chronic health conditions and who require ongoing medical treatment. These communities typically offer both short-term rehab and long-term care, as well as programs and activities to promote socialization, engagement and entertainment for residents.
Adult day programs can be a great option for social seniors who prefer to continue residing at home, but could benefit from a community atmosphere and certain types of assistance. Adult day programs can provide services such as transportation, medication management and medical appointment coordination, as well as meals, snacks and activities. The cost is typically based on how many services are needed, and clients are usually picked up and dropped off at home via van or bus.
While this blog is not intended as a comprehensive guide to making care decisions, it is hopefully helpful as a starting point to your research. For more information on assisted living and memory care, contact Spring Arbor.