Elder care need has grown exponentially over the last few years as the boomers move to the next age bracket. Adam Smith would be proud that the free market economy has created so many options for the care of the elderly that there is something that suits every need. With so many options is it hard to know where to begin, here is a brief summary of some of the most common options.
In home health aide: This might be a trained person, or, a nurse and they come to the elders home for several hours a day and do a range of activities from bathing and dressing to shopping and cleaning.
- pro; the elder is still in their own home.
- con; expensive and open to potential issues as there is a stranger with no direct oversight in the home.
- best for; elders who are generally healthy, mentally capable but need some physical help.
Senior living: These are apartment groups with a minimum age requirement that eliminate the outside maintenance worries and offer a more social setting for seniors. Some communities offer more services than others.
- pro; still an independent residence, and, easier to handle.
- con; may not give any special services, may still require an additional aid.
- best for; someone who is healthy but does not want the hassle of home maintenance, and, enjoys the social aspect of a group.
Assisted living: Private studio style apartments in a facility that has a large central dining and social area and 24 hour monitoring for emergency. These facilities almost all offer some personal assistance for the resident and most can accommodate a wide range of needs. There are some facilities that specialize in memory impaired individuals or low functioning seniors who are otherwise healthy but need more personal care.
- pro; meals and aid included in the package. More social because of the central areas. Care can grow with needs.
- con; expensive and the lost of independent living can hit some seniors hard.
- best for; people with daily care requirements who are unable to live independently, or, need 24 hour monitoring.
Skilled Care facility: Often abbreviated as SNF and the modern name for a Nursing home. Here the staff is more prepared for advanced medical needs such as IV antibiotics where most other facilities can not. Nurses staff these facilities and the state regulates for standard of care. Some enter a SNF to recover from a major illness and the staff goal is to restore health so they can move back to a more independent facility. Other SNF patients are long-term residents and the staff goal is to maintain health and comfort but there is no expectation of regaining a higher level of functioning.
- pro; regulated nurses and medical care. 100% care.
- con; most expensive and least independent.
- best for; seniors who can not function without medical care.
There are many types of each facility described above but there is something to suit the needs of everyone. Finance, medical needs, and personality all play a part in selecting what is best. There are specialists called Elder Managers who can evaluate and recommend a course of action. Hopefully this overview gives you an idea of where to start, next, do your homework and find the best solution.