Elderly Care 101: What is the Best Type of Care for Your Loved One?
Making the decision to put a loved one into another’s care can be full of emotion. From choosing when to consider increasing care, to selecting a caregiver or facility, family members are faced with a myriad of decisions that can be frankly overwhelming to navigate.
The good news is, when you break it down, there are really just a handful of core choices to consider. Understanding these options, and when each one makes the most sense, can help to cut down on stress and anxiety for decision makers. It can also ensure an elderly loved one is placed into the best type of program for their needs. With the senior rate set to double in coming decades and care options continuing to increase, now is a great time to begin reviewing what might work best for your loved one’s unique situation.
Skilled Care Versus Custodial Care
When it comes to researching care types, the easiest place to start is by understanding the difference between Skilled Care and Custodial Care. The main point to take away here is who can provide the care services.
Skilled Care must be done by a licensed medical professional, while Custodial Care, or Non-Medical Care, covers help with daily living activities.
In fact, Custodial Care does not need to be done by a licensed caregiver. Both Skilled and Custodial Care can be done either in the home or at a care facility, so once you decide the best option of the two, it becomes a matter of selecting the most appropriate place for the care to occur.
If you’re wondering how to make this decision, the following descriptions will give you a breakdown of your main options.
In Home Care Options
Family Provided Care
Some family members feel strongly about keeping their loved ones at home and providing care themselves. This option can work well when family members have adequate time to dedicate to day-to-day care and the elderly family members doesn’t have challenging health issues.
Family provided elderly care can offer seniors the true comforts of home, but it’s important for family members to understand the amount of work that can go into caring for another person’s daily routines, especially if you haven’t had to care for someone else in a number of years.
If you are dedicated to this type of personal care, Respite Care may be a good additional option to consider. Respite Care provides short-term relief from a few hours to a few weeks so that core caregivers can recharge. This type of care can be done in home or at a facility, including Adult Day Care and Skilled Nursing Care centers.
Home Care & Home Health Care
While Home Care and Home Health Care are similar, there is one core difference – whether or not medical care is involved.
Family members considering Home Care can expect their senior’s caregiver to provide assistance with general care needs, including bathing, meals and errands. This is also known as ADLs or Activities of Daily Living. Practical reality is that the care for ADLS needs someone with your loved ones for longer than the medical care. The ADL service can range anywhere from few hours in a day to 24 hours in a day.
Home Health Care includes home care support as well, but since the professional providing the care is required to have medical training, they also are able to help with basic medical needs. These include but are not limited to checking vitals and assisting with various medical equipment. Home Care can also cover a variety of specialized needs, including Rehabilitative Care, Dementia Care and more.
Virtual Companion Care
With the ever increasing amount of technology available today, there are now ways for seniors to have care at home in a virtual setting.
This type of care generally works best for elderly family members who do not have a lot of difficult medical conditions that need to be managed, but who are suffering from a lack of interaction during the day. These programs are typically managed through a tablet or other device, and allow the person in care to have their well being and safety monitored through virtual conversations. Virtual Companion Care programs can also help cut back on senior loneliness through real connections created with virtual companions.
Facility Care Options
Adult Day Care
Adult Day Care facilities offer programs for seniors during daytime hours.
These programs are structured and typically include social activities, as well as medical services as needed. Day Care Programs can be helpful to care givers who wish for their family members to live at home, but who have work or other obligations during the day that require them to be away from the home.
These types of programs are also beneficial for elderly people who do not require 24/7 care, but who can not be left alone at home all day. The benefits to these programs often are the community aspects, which allow seniors to make and build friendships, and participate in activities that can help them thrive mentally and physically. Adult Day Care programs can be costly, however, so they may not be the best fit for every family.
Independent & Assisted Living
Independent and Assisted Living are two options that make the most sense for seniors who want a level of independence, but who may still need some additional care support along the way.
Independent Living facilities offer no professional on-site care, and residents typically rent or purchase an apartment-type home in a community of similarly aged residents. This is like renting your own apartment. The main difference is that in such places, younger families are not allowed, they would normally put age 50 or above as a requirement. The benefit to this type of facility is that residents are able to form friendships with other residents through social activities.
Assisted Living Care facilities are similar to Independent Living facilities in their structure, but they offer the additional benefit of personal and medical care options. Assisted living in a true sense is a non-medical facility, with the sole exception of medication management. For all other purposes, such facilities are not licensed to provide any medical care. These types of care facilities offer a level of independent living with the support of professionals who can step in to help with daily tasks that may be challenging for certain seniors. Key factors to consider are that when the health declines beyond a certain point, the ALs are required to graduate that person to a convalescent home or a SNF. The only other option is for them to supplement care privately.
Nursing Homes or SNFs (Skilled Nursing Facilities)
According to the 2010 US Census, just over than three percent of seniors were living in nursing homes. While many seniors opt for in-home care instead, the option for a nursing home still remains one to consider for family members who need constant care.
Nursing home facilities employ licensed healthcare professionals, which can include registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurses’ aides. At these types of care facilities, residents are provided with a variety of services, including meals, cleaning and medical care. They are often also often provided with social activities that take place in the facility.
Additional Options for More In-Depth Care
Palliative & Hospice Care may also be an option to consider depending on a loved one’s health diagnosis.
Palliative Care is focused on helping seniors ease their pain and suffering instead of actually curing a condition.
Hospice Care may include palliative care but is primarily focused on care during the final months or weeks of life.
For family members given the hard task of choosing from these options, it is important to know that both of these types of care can be done in the home or at a care facility. The decision on where to care for a senior family member with a terminal illness can be a difficult and personal one. Because of this, it may be a good decision to tour facilities even if you are planning to complete care at home. It will help to better understand the full breadth of options should your plans change in the future.
How New Wave Home Care Can Help
With so many care options out there, making the right decision can often feel like a huge undertaking. But, with the right information, the decision can become more of a manageable process that ensures your family member will have the best care available to them for their current stage of life. If you need help navigating your in-home options, New Wave Home Care can help. New Wave Home Care has the ability to provide care in several different places like the personal home of the client, in Assisted Living places, in Memory Care Units and SNFs.
Learn more about the care types and support we can provide on our Services page.