Deciding on the right care for an aging loved one can be challenging, and no two situations are alike. Every family should seek out advice and recommendations that are tailored to the needs of the senior while bearing in mind the anticipated roles of any family caregivers. Any decision can be a good one, as long as sufficient thought and planning has gone into ensuring that the proposed setup is sustainable for everyone involved.
Most people want to stay in the comfort of their homes, an understandable sentiment. Seniors can enjoy many healthy years at home even once daily tasks have started to get a bit more difficult. By working with a home care agency or nurse registry, a family can leverage the training and experience of a home health aide as well as take advantage of backup coverage to ensure continuity of care. At-home care services can range from 24/7 or live-in care to just a few hours per week focused on essentials such as bathing, with a suitable schedule provided by family and friends to cover errands and socializing. This approach to in-home care is excellent if the elderly family member resides alone, battles loneliness or depression or needs assistance with medication and daily tasks. It can also be the more cost-effective solution over the long-term.
However, when care requirements become more demanding – such as managing incontinence – the calculation may shift. If live-in care isn’t an option but the individual requires round-the-clock supervision, it may be time to explore suitable living facilities such as assisted living. Elder care living options can range from group homes, which provide a home-like environment for about 6-8 residents, to nursing homes designed for advanced-stage physical issues or Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Assessing these assisted living options can be overwhelming, but professional help is available. Geriatric Care Managers or placement professionals can help determine the best short- and long-term setup for your aging loved one, whether it’s home nursing or companion services or transitioning to a community or facility. When evaluating the choices, consider the costs, availability of help and the ability of the selected program to adapt as your loved one’s needs change in the future.
If a move is necessary, consider the factors of proximity to family and the current living area’s merits. Here in Florida, we often ask if there is a compelling reason to stay in the state – the weather isn’t a compelling factor on its own. When you’ve decided to move, or it’s clear a move will be necessary within the year, start touring facilities based on the level of care required.
Trust your instincts during your visits. Pay attention to the facility’s atmosphere, sounds and smells, as well as how the residents interact. Check the staff ratios, activities and the medical supervision available. Visit at various times and speak to residents and, if possible, their family members.
Once you’ve shortlisted a handful of assisted living facilities, consider the financial aspects and the logistics of making the place homely. Plan regular visits to the facility initially to avoid your loved one developing a sense abandonment that can place additional strain on the transition. Depending on waiting periods and demand, it’s sometimes possible to do a trial move-in for about a month. Keep the original home setup intact in case things don’t work out.
If your aging loved one lives in Florida, remember that Boca Home Care Services is a trusted resource for your family and is ready to assist on this journey. Whether it’s providing home healthcare or companion services, respite and relief coverage to a family caregiver, geriatric care management to guide you through long-term care options or simply a list of recommended community resources, we are here to help you. Start planning early – ideally a year in advance – and include primary family members in the decision-making process. Trust your gut, do your research and move forward confidently knowing that we’re here to support you in each step.