Staying at home or living with a family member is the most common housing arrangement for aging adults. In order to coordinate and arrange for any type of assistance and/or services for in home, you will need to learn and understand the different options available:
Its important to understand who pays for Eldercare services and programs before you begin your search. There are some services, supplies and equipment that are paid for by Medicare, however many are not. Learn more.
An aging adult has the legal right to make decision about their own status. This can be frustrating for family members that see the need for some type of Eldercare intervention. However, no one can force or coerce an adult against their will to accept or not accept help or assistance. It is recommended that all mentally competent adults prepare documents that state their wishes in the event of mental or physical incapacity. This can include Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Care Directives, Do Not Resuscitate, and POLST forms. Elder Law attorney’s can also handle these matters. Adult Protective Services, a local government agency is also a resource to determine if a aging adult is in need of care and supervision.
The type of Eldercare will depend on a variety of factors. As we age, our needs change. Whether it is the ability to manage one’s home or a health condition that interfers with daily living. A needs assessment includes 1) The capability both physically and mentally to handle activities of daily living 2) Evaluation of the current living environment and 3) Status of personal finances.
Quite often adult children or other family members are unprepared for a crisis or series of events that impact the life of an aging adult. An imminent crisis or series of events can include falls, adverse reaction to medication, over medication, acute confusion and/or disorientation, or an acute medical event such as a stroke or heart attack. These events are followed by an emergency room visit, hospitalization or a physician’s appointment which typically result in the first of many recommendations for some type of Eldercare.
A nursing home is a place for people who don’t need to be in a hospital but can’t be cared for at home. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.
Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital. The staff provides medical care, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There might be a nurses’s station on each floor. Other nursing homes try to be more like home. They try to have a neighborhood feel. Often, they don’t have a fixed day-to-day schedule, and kitchens might be open to residents. Staff members are encouraged to develop relationships with residents.
Some nursing homes have special care units for people with serious memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. Some will let couples live together. Nursing homes are not only for the elderly, but for anyone who requires 24-hour care.
Alzheimer’s special care units, or SCUs, are the most intensive care options for people suffering from severe memory loss. Some SCUs comprise entire floors of hospitals or nursing homes, or they may stand alone as their own private facilities. These healthcare facilities are built with secured entrances and walkways where patients can walk without getting lost. Outdoor walking and sitting areas are spacious and enclosed. Indoor hallways are often built in circular patters so patients can walk without hitting dead ends, which can cause frustration and sadness in people with dementia. Patients with memory loss receive treatment according to the severity of their conditions. Many patients require assistance with daily activities such as cleaning, cooking and bathing. Others may require counseling or therapy. These facilities provide staff at all hours of the day and night who can respond to the unique needs of their residents.
Small residential board and care homes offer asssisted living services in a smaller home like setting. They are well suited for residents who do not want to live in a larger community setting but still require a level of assistance similar to that offered by an assisted living facility or a nursing home. The staff in a residential care home may assist with medications, help residents bathe, get dressed and perform many other daily tasks or activities of daily living. Because of the homes' intimate settings, owners can often specialize in particular resident needs such as diabetes care, memory care, residents with special diets, residents who speak a particular language (Japanese or Spanish for example), residents of a particular religion or cultural background, as well as other needs.
Large assisted living communities provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living; coordination of services by outside health care providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Assistance may include the administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services provided by a trained staff person.