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How to Choose the Right Senior Care Option for Your Loved One
Aging is an inevitable part of life. As people age, it affects their ability to take care of their affairs, family assets, homes, and themselves. For those of us with aging loved ones, assessing and evaluating their needs, especially in regard to living arrangements, can be an ongoing process.
In many instances, family members are able to provide for the needs of their aging loved ones. However, this can prove difficult in the long term, as people have jobs, families, and their own affairs that require priority attention. As the senior’s mental or physical condition deteriorates over time, it may become increasingly challenging for family members to provide appropriate and adequate care. In such instances, it is usually in the best interest of the aging individual to consider alternative living options in order to tend to their needs.
While it is never an easy decision to make, there may come a time when putting the best interests of our elderly loved ones first may involve making a choice in regards to senior care facilities. As Family Assets explains, transitioning seniors into assisted living, memory care, or independent living community is like any other move to a new home. It is a significant life event, which can prove overwhelming for some.
This article will discuss some of the differences in senior care facilities to help you choose the right option for your aging loved ones.
Skilled vs. Custodial Senior Care
Depending on the individuals’ medical and mobility needs, there are a few different options in terms of elderly care. Understanding these options will help distinguish which type of care facility would best suit their needs and provide adequate care.
Senior care is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on their health condition, mobility level, specific care needs, and personal preferences, older adults often require different types of care. This can be broken down into two categories: Skilled care and custodial care.
Skilled care refers to services such as nursing care and physical therapy, which can only be provided only by qualified or licensed medical personnel.
Custodial care is non-medical care that provides assistance with daily living activities, such as dressing and bathing.
Both of these options can be provided at home or in a specialized facility. These facilities include nursing homes, residential care homes, assisted living communities, and adult daycare centers.
Types of Senior Care Facilities
Assisted living care options for seniors fall into four categories. By assessing the individual needs of your aging loved one, you can make the best determination as to which care option is the best fit.
Independent living is an option that many aging Americans find to be the most desirable. This type of senior care option is the most “hands-off” form of care offered at senior living communities.
Independent living communities are ideal for seniors who are capable of handling the basic activities of daily living on their own but wish to enjoy an active lifestyle among a community of peers. Independent living facilities usually consist of private apartments that vary in size from studios to two-bedroom units.
Many independent living facilities also have community rooms and other spaces where seniors can socialize with one another, play games, engage in arts and crafts, and more. At an independent living community, seniors will also have access to social events and regularly scheduled meals. Many facilities also offer other care services such as transportation and housekeeping upon request.
Assisted Living and Residential Care
Seniors who find daily life increasingly challenging but do not have severe medical conditions requiring 24-hour care may find assisted living or residential care to be the best option. Assisted living communities serve elders who need more support than independent living facilities provide but are not in need of hands-on medical care on a daily basis. Most assisted living facilities offer meals, housekeeping and planned activities.
Assisted living facilities generally consist of private apartments and also offer opportunities for seniors to socialize and enjoy various recreational and entertainment activities together. In most cases, three basic meals are provided in a central dining area.
Residential care homes are private homes designed for seniors who need assistance with daily living but wish to reside in a home-like setting where they can eat meals in a kitchen, watch television, and enjoy other activities that people usually do at home.
Staff in these facilities are on hand 24/7 to help with meals, medication management, housekeeping, and other daily living activities. Licensed nursing services, scheduled transportation, and personal care are also provided as needed.
As people age, it is not uncommon for individuals to develop different conditions which cause cognitive impairment. Seniors who are affected by neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia have a unique set of care needs to provide care for.
These skilled nursing facilities are dedicated to serving memory-impaired patients and focusing on providing stimulating and healthy lifestyles. Memory care or Alzheimer’s are generally secure to ensure that patients can’t wander off the grounds.
The staff in these facilities are specially trained to provide an adequate level of care for seniors with cognitive issues. Caretakers in these types of facilities range from health-aides who are qualified to help seniors with day-to-day routines and licensed medical staff who are eligible to care for seniors with different levels of cognitive impairment and memory loss.
Short Term Care
Short-term care facilities are also known as respite care or adult daycare. These types of senior care options offer senior care that is short-term and temporary.
This level provides a secure, warm environment for a senior to spend a short time or extended stay. Residents usually sign up within a community to be a member. Then, whenever assisted living services are needed, they are welcome to come onsite.
This is an excellent option for seniors whose home health care is provided by family members. In the event that the family members who provide care are leaving town for a few days or otherwise just need to temporarily step away from the care needs of the elderly individual.
It is also an option for senior citizens recovering from an illness or surgery and may be in need of access to medical care during their recuperation period.
Choosing the Right Senior Care Option
With a solid understanding of the different types of senior care available and a good assessment of the patient’s individual needs, you can determine the most appropriate senior care solution for your loved one. Do your research, talk to professionals, and weigh all the options carefully.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinons of the editors or the mangement of EconoTimes