Long-Term Care Options
Adult children of older Americans oftentimes are faced with the need to develop a strategy to care for the needs of their parents as they age. Making the correct decisions in this regard is a challenging process. One of the reasons why trying to figure out the best pathway forward for aging parents requiring increasing assistance stems from understandable confusion about various long-term care options.
Before diving into a consideration of long-term care options available to you, a key fact must be made very clear to you:
The majority of long-term care in the United States today is provided by family members without compensation. In many cases, family members providing long-term care to a loved one (typically their aging parents) also maintain fulltime employment. In reality, these people are maintaining two fulltime jobs, one of which that involves providing appropriate care for a parent can be challenging on a “good day” and overwhelming on another.
Other types of long-term care options do exist in California and across the United States. If you are the adult child of an aging parent, you are wise to familiarize yourself with long-term care options before the day comes on which one or another of these services may be needed. Proactivity is fundamental to ensure the best living environment for your parent – and for you.
Long-term care options available today are:
- Home care
- Adult day care
- Senior housing
- Assisted living community
- Skilled nursing facility
- Continuing care retirement community
Home care involves bringing professionals into your home (or the residence of your parent) to provide the services or assistance that you need. There are different types of home care professionals that can come to your residence to assist you:
- Homecare aide: a homecare aide comes to your residence to provide you assistance with different tasks of daily living as might be needed. These include such things as dressing, cooking, housekeeping and so forth.
- Home healthcare aide: On the other hand, a home healthcare aide comes to your own home to provide your medical related support and assistance.
Most older Americans are receiving care at their own homes. The majority of their caregivers are unpaid family members, usually adult children of an older person.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care is a long-term option that provides a space at which older people can spend one to five days a week (in most cases). At an adult day care center, an older adult can enjoy meals and participate in activities with other people.
Keep in mind that adult day care can also be used as a form of respite care in situations in which a family member is the primary caretaker of an older person. The caregiving family member can have a day off knowing that his or her loved one is in a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment.
Senior housing typically comes in the form of an apartment community dedicated to people in their Golden Years. Some senior housing options do include people 55 years of age and older. There are specialized assisted living services in this type of community as a general rule. However, there tend to be entertainment options and other activities that are geared towards individuals who are older.
Assisted living is a congregate setting in which trained professionals help residents in undertaking certain activities of daily living. These include such things as meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, bathing, and so forth. An individualized care and assistance plan is created for each resident of an assisted living community.
Skilled Nursing Facility
A skilled nursing facility is for women and men who require medical support, care, and assistance. This type of long-term care community is designed for people who not only need assistance with activities of daily living but need help with medical or healthcare related issues as well. For example, a person in a skilled nursing home might suffer from some type or chronic health condition that necessitates the regular assistance of a healthcare professional of some type.
Continuing Care Retirement Community
A continuing care retirement community offers different levels of care in one location. A typical continuing care retirement community is likely to have:
- Senior housing units
- Assisted living units
- Skilled nursing facility
- Memory center
A continuing care community strives to make the transition from one level of care as smooth and as seamless as possible for residents and their families.
When seeking a longer term care alternative, time should be spent giving serious thought to the level of care and types of services available at these different communities. By undertaking thorough due diligence, you will be able to find a long-term care solution ideally suited to your needs, goals, and objectives (or to the needs of you parent if you are an adult child assisting a parent with this important process).