Having a conversation with an aging loved one about a sensitive topic, such as senior housing and care, can be intimidating, but is often important to their health and well-being.
The thought of moving out of their own home and into a senior living facility could translate to a loss of freedom to some seniors. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Depending on your loved one’s mobility, health and need for assistance, many senior care housing options offer a high degree of independence, while providing help when needed. On the other hand, some seniors may need round-the-clock attention to help make everyday activities easier as they enter their final stages of life.
By having these conversations, you and your loved one can identify the appropriate housing and care given the level of care needed, timeframe, budget and available support. Below, we explore six types of senior living options with varying levels of care and independence.
1. Assisted Living (Minimum Care)
If your loved one is looking for a senior care option that offers a high degree of independence, assisted living may be right for you and your family.
While facilities differ from place to place, most provide residents with similar care and support services. In addition to having a nurse or doctor, staff is available to offer assistance with basic activities, such as cooking and cleaning. Depending on the state of your loved one, they may also receive assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming. Please note this housing option is designed for seniors who are able to care for themselves, but may need occasional help.
Care aside, assisted living facilities take a residential approach to senior housing with communal areas for socializing and exercising. This home-like atmosphere is appealing to both seniors and their families considering assisted living.
2. In-Home Health Care (Minimum-to-Moderate Care)
If your loved one is looking to age in the comfort of their own surroundings, in-home health care may be right for you and your family.
In-home health care is designed to provide daily assistance to seniors in a setting that’s familiar to them. A professional caregiver or certified nursing assistant will help your loved one with daily activities, such as cooking and cleaning, as well as bathing, dressing and grooming.
While most in-home health care services are non-medical, a registered nurse or physician may administer medical assistance depending on the situation and needs of your loved one.
Please note if you choose in-home health care, it’s possible general home modifications will need to be made, including widening doorways, installing railings and replacing knobs.
3. Adult Daycare (Moderate Care)
As a loved one continues to age, many family members assume the role of a caregiver. However, many family caregivers are considered the “Sandwich Generation” because they’re also tasked with a career, raising kids and more on top of caring for an aging parent.
This is where adult daycare comes in to help alleviate family caregivers throughout the day. According to the National Caregivers Library, adult daycare helps ensure that aging seniors receive the proper care in a safe environment during normal business hours.
Many seniors that attend adult daycare are those with cognitive disabilities, require supervision or prefer companionship. Services may include counseling, educational programs and social activities (crafts, cooking, games, etc.).
4. Nursing Home (High-Level Care)
If your loved one is in need of round-the-clock care and supervision outside of a hospital setting, a nursing home may be right for you and your family.
Nursing homes have specially trained professionals on hand 24 hours a day, helping with a variety of services. Nurses and aides are on staff to help with custodial care like bathing, dressing and grooming, as well as physical therapists to help with rehabilitation services.
While some seniors stay at a nursing home short-term following a surgery, illness or injury, others live there permanently.
A nursing home is similar to an assisted living facility in the sense that it provides residents with social and recreational activities. However, this living option is designed for seniors who need a high level of medical assistance.
5. Hospice Care (High-Level Care)
If your loved one is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less, hospice care may be right for you and your family.
Hospice involves a team-oriented approach to pain control and symptom management. Friends and family work closely with medical professionals (nurses, physicians, caregivers) to create a unique end-of-life care plan that’s tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.
Hospice care may be administered in a home setting to provide physical, emotional and psychological comfort to the patient in their last days or months. At this time, it’s likely the patient has decided to forgo life-support treatments.
>>>Related Resource: 6 Northeast Ohio Hospices That Offer End-of-Life Care and Comfort
6. Palliative Care (High-Level Care)
If your loved one is facing a life-limiting illness, palliative care may be right for you and your family.
Similar to hospice, palliative care focuses on pain control and symptom management. However, palliative care can be employed whether the illness is terminal or not. This means patients can receive palliative care while continuing active treatment.
This care involves a network of caregivers focused on the patient’s overall comfort. Caregivers work closely with friends and family of the patient to help everyone understand the illness, so that they’re able to manage and modify medications and treatments.
Palliative care is available to patients at assisting living facilities, nursing homes and hospitals, as well as those receiving in-home health care.
Plan Ahead to Save Time, Money and Worry
There are major factors to keep in mind as you evaluate what option is best for your loved one, including the level of care, budget, proximity to home, health status and more. Planning ahead can make the transition of moving into a senior living facility that best suits your loved one’s needs much easier for all those involved.
And to give you and your family peace of mind as your loved one continues to age, download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements. In our complimentary guide, you’ll learn how preplanning can save time, money and worry by reducing the financial and emotional burden of having to make funeral arrangements.
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