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
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
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
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 in Richmond.