Choices in Elder Home Care
As our parents age, they may require elder care at home to help them with the day-to-day activities they used to find easy to do on their own. They may have developed physical conditions or illnesses that limit their mobility or require regular care. And, about one third of seniors will suffer some degree of dementia or develop Alzheimer’s disease. These disabilities and memory loss conditions can mean mom or dad will need occasional, daily or even constant care and supervision to keep them safe and make sure their daily needs are met.
Options in Caring for Aging Adults
When facing the choices for elder care, most families consider several options. While there is no single solution for every family, and the right solution for now may change over time, the most common long term solutions for caring for aging parents are:
- family care
- adult day care
- in home care
- residential care
The choices in elder care can vary widely in cost. The preferences, health and independence of the elderly parent will also be a consideration. But unless the parent has sufficient savings or long-term care insurance, very often the cost of elder care is a major factor for the children and other family members in deciding how to care for mom or dad.
Often, to save money and make sure aging parents get the best care, families take on the care of elderly parents at home on their own. This takes time away from work and family, and it impacts the caregiver’s own health and well-being. There are many positive aspects of bringing together the different generations but, even in the best situations things can become stressful and the work overwhelming. For many families, the family care model works well until the elderly parent becomes more dependent, such as becoming bedridden or due to the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Adult Day Care
One alternative available in some areas for working families is adult day care, which provides daytime facilities, activities, meals and basic care to dependent seniors. But, often the daycare facilities are stressful for an aging and confused parent who is asked to leave home and spend the day among strangers, some of whom may also feel distressed. A daycare situation should be carefully selected for quality and appropriateness to make sure it is a good fit for the senior.
Many families consider residential care for the next step when parents can no longer live alone, and family care is no longer an option. Residential care, such as an assisted living facility, offers daily assistance to residents for activities like meals, transportation and housekeeping. In assisted living, the resident lives independently, but receives whatever personal services they require, such as help with dressing or medication reminders. Assisted living facilities are an expensive alternative, usually costing from $3,000 a month and up.
Nursing homes, unlike assisted living, provide professional nursing care and regular medical care, and usually are suited for seniors who are seriously ill, disabled or suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The cost of nursing homes is more expensive than assisted living because of the need for trained medical staff and intensive daily care for patients. In some states, Medicaid may pay some nursing home fees in situations when the parent has limited financial resources.
Board and care homes and other small facilities are also alternatives, and may be slightly less costly, but quality varies widely among these mostly independent residential facilities. Families should choose very carefully when selecting residential care because of the wide variations in quality, cost and care.
Elder Care at Home
For families and seniors who want to avoid the high cost and institutional atmosphere of residential care, and for whom family care is not a good long-term solution, elder care at home is a good alternative. Elder care home services provide a qualified home caregiver to handle some, or all, the daily living needs of the senior in the comfort of their own home and at their own pace, making this a great choice for seniors who want to retain their independence and stay in the home they know and love.
Elder Home Care Services
Elder home care services can span a wide range of daily, weekly or on call services. The client pays only for the services they need and when they need them. Services an elder home caregiver can provide your parent or loved one include:
- meal preparation and feeding
- medication reminders
- personal care: bathing, grooming, oral care, toileting, dressing
- mobility and wheelchair help
- walking or exercising
- activities and memory stimulation
- light chores: laundry, change linens, washing dishes
- errands and shopping
Elder Home Care is Affordable
Since the services are flexible and set at an affordable hourly rate, the cost of elder care at home is far less than most other alternatives. And with a one-on-one service model, the senior and caregiver enjoy a caring bond that will make each visit that much more valuable. Often families combine elder caregiver services with family care, allowing family members to go to work, run errands and spend time with their children. Home caregivers may spend only a few hours, or they may be full-time during the day, or even provide 24 hour care when it’s needed.
The value of elder care at home is also reflected in the health and happiness of the seniors. Studies show seniors do better in their own homes, where familiar surroundings and routines help them stay healthy longer, help delay memory loss, decrease depression and increase their quality of life. While these priceless qualities can’t truly be measured, they can result in lower medical costs and help the senior live independently longer.
Elderly in home care services are an affordable alternative that all families should explore to provide the very best care for their loved ones in their senior years.