Many families find they must care for aging parents who, due to either physical or memory care needs, can’t be left home alone during the day. Working families and families with children or other daytime responsibilities have to look for the best care solution, one that fits their needs and budget, and one in which the senior parent is well cared for and content. Families benefit from the presence of elders in many ways, so, while there are many choices for senior care, many families want options that are both economical and can keep the parent close to home.
Choices in Senior Care
When it comes to senior care, it’s not one size fits all. There are many factors involved in choosing a care solution and the answer will be different for different families and situations. For seniors who can no longer cope on their own, the main choices include:
- Home care by a family member
- Home care by a visiting or live-in caregiver
- Adult day care facility
- Assisted living facility
- Nursing home facility
Making a choice from the above depends on the senior’s health, family circumstances and how they feel about the choices. Here are some factors that should be part of your decision process
- Is the parent still relatively well, or do they need significantly professional care (nursing home)?
- Can the parent or family pay the costs of a nursing home or assisted living facility?
- Are there memory or other issues, such as falling, that could put the senior in danger if left alone?
- Does the parent enjoy socializing and being with others on daily basis?
- Is the senior strongly attached to and generally doing well in their own home?
- If living with adult children, is that situation working for the entire family?
- What are the senior parent’s wishes?
- Could the current living situation work with some extra home help?
Senior Day Care or Home Care?
Usually the most satisfying and least costly solutions are for the senior to stay in their home or with their family for as long as possible. Both home care and day care are more affordable and less stressful than moving to a group living situation. Moving to assisted living or a nursing home can be traumatic, with the senior having to adjust to a completely new living environment, new people, new routine, new food and so on, all at the same time. For some seniors, that is a difficult transition. Before going the institutional route, it’s best to be sure the senior is ready and that the family has a support and backup plan in place in case things don’t work out.
For care outside the home, senior day care is a slightly easier transition since the senior’s time away is limited and they will get to sleep in their own bed at night.
Advantages of Senior Day Care
- Good for seniors with living situations where care at home is difficult, such as living with adult children who need the home for business or other activities during the day
- Allows lonely seniors some social time with stimulating and interesting activities
- Decreases depression due to loneliness
- Gives relief to caregivers at home
- Medically licensed facilities may offer exercise, physical therapy or health checks that monitor or improve senior well-being
- Less costly than live-in care situations
Disadvantages of Senior Day Care
- Senior needs to be transported to and from the center every day
- Senior may find a rigid daily routine and commute stressful
- They may feel tired or burned out at the end of a day of busy activities
- Seniors may feel institutionalized or neglected
- Senior may experience a drop in coping and self-sufficiency since their day is now scripted by others
- Seniors with serious health issues may not do well in a day care facility
- Less outgoing or quieter seniors may find the daily whirl of people and activities stressful
- day care facility quality may vary, so family may worry about safety and supervision
Senior Home Care, an Alternative to Day Care
Whether seniors live at home or with family, going to adult day care is a big decision and may be a stressful one. While social activities are vitally important to help seniors avoid isolation and loneliness, many seniors do great by getting out once or twice a week for their favorite activity, or having friends and family stop by for social time.
For these seniors, having the comforts of home during the day, and the freedom to decide their daily activities and routine are vitally important to their happiness and health. A home care provider can be scheduled with flexible hours to accommodate the needs of the senior and his or her family. In addition to preparing meals and helping with personal care, the home care aide can provide companionship and can even transport the senior to activities or appointments.
Deciding on a care solution for senior loved ones is a big decision, but can be made wisely if everyone’s input and ideas are shared. Whether you choose home care or day care, the most important factor is making sure the senior is doing well and adjusting the program if needed.
If you need help at home for an aging loved one, contact an Acti-Kare provider today.