When you have an aging parent or other loved one, one question you will eventually face is how to determine the best option for home care. Can your loved one make home modifications to age in place, or possibly move to a more senior-friendly home? Or is assisted living the best option? The best answer may not be obvious, but these considerations will help you find the right solution.
Do they need help with daily activities?
For most seniors, the right time to make a change is when they start to need assistance with daily activities. They may have a harder time maintaining hygiene, preparing balanced meals, or managing their medications. When someone needs assistance with these everyday personal needs, the best option may be an assisted living facility because that type of help is exactly what these communities provide.
Every assisted living center is different, with some that have apartment-style units, while others are designed more like studios or one-bedroom apartments. The main thing that each has in common is that, even though they all help with activities of daily living, these units are set up to allow seniors to maintain a good deal of independence.
Is memory a concern?
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may be able to live safely and independently at home in the early stages, but they will eventually need a greater level of care. Dementia Care Central explains that some assisted living centers have memory care units that provide extra care for those with dementia. In some cases, however, your loved one may need to enter a facility that primarily serves as a memory care center.
What are current vs. future needs?
You may have a loved one who doesn’t need extra care yet, but you’re thinking about options for the future. In this case, you may want to look at modifying your loved one’s home so they can continue to live there safely. Aging in place is an increasingly popular choice, and with a little planning, it can be an ideal option for seniors who don’t have serious health concerns. Instead of making modifications, some seniors choose to search for a more accessible home where they can age comfortably. When searching for a new home, make sure to estimate what you can afford to spend based on your annual income, monthly expenses, and loan term, among other factors.
What are your options for home care?
Even when someone lives in a home that’s senior-friendly, they may still reach a point where they need a little extra care, either part-time or round-the-clock. If your loved one is considering aging in place, you’ll want to know what options are available for meeting their care needs. You may want to provide some of that care yourself. Before becoming a primary caregiver, Daily Caring recommends considering your own needs and other responsibilities. If you need to hire a caregiver, please get in touch with North Shore Area Partners. Much like choosing an assisted living center, the right choice for your loved one will depend largely on their individual needs.
What makes financial sense?
Money certainly isn’t the only consideration, but it can play a major role in making the best choice. For example, if you’re considering home modifications (such as replacing damaged window glass), will your loved one need to use a significant chunk of their savings or find options for financing? Whether your loved one chooses assisted living or decides to age in place with the help of a home health aide, you’ll want to research what type of care insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover.
Choosing the best option for senior care isn’t easy. Seniors are often reluctant to give up their way of life, and caregivers may worry about whether it’s the right time or if they’re doing the right thing. The truth is that every family is unique, so there really isn’t just one “right” answer. The best thing you can do is listen to your loved one’s wishes and consider these factors to help you weigh the options objectively.
About Harry Cline
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.