How To Choose The Right Elder Care For Your Loved One
Caring for an elderly person requires lifestyle adjustments, and senior care generally represents a considerable investment of time, money or both. Thus, selecting the best elder care option for loved ones presents most families with a challenge.
Sadly, the obstacles to finding appropriate care may increase in the future. For one thing, the cost of senior care has risen dramatically in the past few decades. The elder population is also growing, with projections that the amount people over 80 will increase by almost 80% by 2030. At the same time, most caregivers range between 45 and 64 years old, and that population will only increase by 1%.
With those facts in mind, families with seniors who may need help within the next five to 10 years should start to plan sooner rather than later. Caregivers must balance their elderly loved one's needs and preferences with their budgets, other financial and family responsibilities, and available options.
Choosing the Best Elder Care Options for Loved Ones
Families need to decide between residential care facilities and at-home care.
Residential Senior Care Facilities
A few years ago, most people associated elder care with residential facilities. Common types of residential care facilities for seniors include:
- Independent and active living communities: Older people who need some extra support might find an independent living community that offers a perfect transition from living at home. These communities may provide meals, transportation, activities, concierge services and access to extra support when needed.
- Assisted living: Assisted living facilities can suit people who need help with the activities of daily living but don't require full-time medical monitoring. Besides meals, an assisted living center generally provides recreational programs, transportation, medication administration, medical monitoring and access to therapists and other support.
- Adult daycare: These centers provide assisted living services during the day for caregivers who need to work or attend to other responsibilities and can only watch their loved ones in the evenings and on weekends.
- Nursing homes: Seniors needing 24/7 medical monitoring and support should consider a nursing home. A nursing home will always have skilled nursing staff and sometimes also employ doctors.
- Memory care: Memory care facilities may appear similar to assisted living or nursing homes. They have activities and safety measures suitable for seniors who struggle with memory issues because of dementia or other diseases.
The descriptions above offer a starting point for working with a loved one, representatives from various facilities and current caregivers to determine the best type of residential elder care. The lines between different types of elder care sometimes blur.
For example, many facilities offer continuing care, meaning residents can access more than one type of care as their needs change. Some assisted living complexes employ full-time nursing staff, and residents of independent living facilities might have access to home healthcare aids. These flexible service options can make it easier to transition to more care as needs change.
Aging at Home
Some seniors want to age in place, either in their own home or that of a family member. Typically, family caregivers will offer support. Some families may also use respite care, home healthcare services and adult daycare to assume some responsibility.
Family caregivers can't provide care 24/7. Naturally, they need to sleep. They might also need to leave the older person alone to run errands, attend to their appointments, care for other family members and go to work.
Some home healthcare providers can send qualified people to a home to help safety-proof it for seniors and offer respite care. For instance, a walk-in shower may provide a safer alternative to a bathtub. An electronic elderly monitoring system can provide additional peace of mind at any time of the day or night.
What's the Best Elder Care Option?
The right elder care solution will depend upon the individual's ability to care for him- or herself, family preferences and budgets. Various residential care facilities may offer the best access services and amenities. In addition, the professional staff can relieve the family of many responsibilities.
At the same time, many seniors and families cannot afford or don't want residential care. They find that creating a safe environment at home and accessing services on an as-needed basis serves them better.
Author bio: Robert Blatt is co-founder and CEO of envoyatHome, the industry’s leading supplier of remote senior monitoring. A recognized expert in aging in place technology, Blatt is a sought-after panelist, speaker and contributor on the topic of behavior sensing for data-driven senior care. An innovator and family caregiver himself, Blatt’s mission is to make 24/7, high-quality care affordable so seniors can live independently, longer.
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