Options For Long Term Care What S Available And How To Choose

If you’re caring for elderly parents or other relatives, you may be beginning to wonder about long-term care options. A variety of options are available, ranging from at-home care with occasional professional visits to full-service nursing homes. The option you choose depends on both the current and anticipated needs of your loved one, as well as your budget. Options include:

  • At-home care with home health care: If your parent or loved one isn’t severely ill, but her day-to-day health is declining, she may be able to remain in her home. However, it can be extremely stressful for a single caregiver to take care of an aging parent, in addition to his own responsibilities, such as raising children or working a full-time job. Home health care agencies can assist caregivers with some of the responsibilities of caring for an elderly adult. These agencies can provide skilled nursing care, respite care or assistance with the activities of daily living in the comfort of your loved one’s home. If you’d like your loved one to remain at home, but you can’t care for her 24/7, home health care may be a good option for you.
  • Assisted living facilities: Assisted living facilities are another good option for those with elderly parents in relatively good health. In this case, patients live in their own apartments or condos in a complex with other seniors that need occasional care. Residents are responsible for their own self-care and meals, but most maintenance and chores are handled for them, and a meal plan is frequently available for purchase. Staff members frequently check in on residents to monitor their health and well-being, and are always available for emergency assistance.
  • Skilled care: If your loved one has a disease—such as diabetes or heart disease—but is otherwise healthy, a skilled care facility might be a good option. In these facilities, doctors and nurses monitor residents’ diet, exercise and medications. This level of care allows for independence, while maintaining a careful eye on the health of elderly residents’ health.
  • Nursing homes: Nursing homes are a good option for elderly patients whose health has dramatically declined—for example, those who have suffered a stroke, or who are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These facilities provide skilled, round-the-clock care for residents who need careful medical management of their symptoms.

Resources

University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging. (2010). Older adults: Long-term care and residential housing. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from http://www.aging.pitt.edu/seniors/long-term/default.asp

University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Seniors: Long-term care. Retrieved on October 22, 2010, from http://www.stronghealth.rochester.edu/services/seniors/Caring/levelsofcare.cfm