Does Your Loved One Need Help?
After New Year’s, it’s time for a collective sigh of relief: the holidays are over! But if you’re still worrying about an older loved one, it may be time to start thinking about getting them extra support.
There are many different types of elder care to assist people as they age, providing a wide range of services from simple to complex. In general, these services help seniors to continue every day, normal activities and can take place at home or in a facility. Choosing the right kind of support is important to ensure aging is comfortable, healthy, and safe.
Home Care. Most people want to stay in their own homes. In-home help makes that possible by providing non-medical support either with personal care or homemaking duties. Aides can bathe, dress, shop, cook, clean, or assist with money management. Typically, these services are paid directly out-of-pocket although there are community organizations that offer no or low-cost programs. Sometimes government programs or insurance policies will offset fees.
Adult Day Care. These centers provide scheduled care and companionship for older adults during the day with the goal of helping family members keep the loved one at home. Adult day care offers social activities like meals, exercise, and education as well as more intensive health services like therapy for individuals with more serious health conditions. Costs range based on type of service, reimbursement, and location; Medicare doesn’t usually cover payment, but financial assistance may be available through a federal or state program.
Assisted Living Facility. These facilities are for people who need daily help or care and provide amenities like meals, laundry service, and on-site security. Residents have their own loving quarters and share common areas. Frequently, different levels of care are available although an assisted living facilities do not offer intensive medical or daily living care. In most states, Medicaid will pay for some types of long-term care for those who have limited income and meet other eligibility requirements. Typically, personal funds cover staying at these residences.
Skilled Nursing Facility. For individuals who require higher-level medical care, skilled nursing facilities are the answer. These facilities have trained and registered nursing staff in addition to the same services offered by assisted living facilities; many include specialized care for patients suffering from dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Usually, residents of a skilled nursing facility will require professional care for the rest of their lives. Again, Medicaid will cover some services; in fact, Medicaid state affiliates are the largest payer for skilled nursing facilities. Personal funds and insurance also are used to pay for costs.
To find local help, the U.S. government’s Eldercare Locator links to state and local agencies on aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults; it can be found here. If possible, it’s always good to include the loved one who needs support in the decision-making.