You’ve been watching your elderly mom or dad for a while now, and you can see it’s getting harder for them. Perhaps they’re struggling more to do simple things around the house, or they’re no longer able to drive or take care of themselves the way they used to. You want to get them some help, but how do you know which kind is right for them? There are a lot of different types – daycare, overnight care, live-in care, and more. This article will help you decide what kind of assistance is best for your elder – and let you take it from there.
Senior care as a spectrum
Think of senior care as a spectrum – one that varies based on an elder’s needs and abilities. At one end, you’ve got the most independent sorts, who live in their own homes and need little to no assistance. At the other end, you have those who are completely dependent upon others for their daily care, and often reside in facilities. Let’s take a look at the various options for these individuals one by one.
Part-time, live-in care
Whether it’s a few hours a day or 9-5, part-time, live-in care can be a godsend to the working adult child of an ailing senior. If you live with your elderly mom or dad, but can’t be there during the day to supervise them, a certified home health aide may be the answer. Even if you don’t live with them, but make yourself available during evenings and on weekends, a daytime aide can help fill in the gaps. If your elder doesn’t have medical needs that require an RN (Registered Nurse) or LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), and prefers the company of one person as opposed to large groups, part-time live-in care should be considered.
Daycare or day clubs
For the senior who has medical needs that must be taken care of during the day, or dementia-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, adult daycare, or day clubs are both viable options. Depending on the facility, nurses there may be able to provide treatments such as wound care, insulin injections, and more. They can also dispense prescriptions elders might have trouble handling alone at home. Nutritionists can accommodate special diets for the elder that they might not be able to prepare themselves. Finally, staff can provide fun activities that fit the elder’s cognitive level, and prevent dangerous behaviors that often accompany dementia, such as wandering.
This is another idea to think about if you work full time, and either live with your elder or reside at a separate location. If they get up frequently during the night, or you’re afraid something may happen to them during that time, overnight care lets you sleep soundly. A certified aide will be there to deal with any emergencies, so you have peace of mind, knowing you can sleep a full eight hours. No more groggy mornings where you’re unable to function at work because you had to handle a bathroom situation, fall, or call to the hospital.
Full-time live-in care
Full-time live-in care (including overnight care) is an option for those whose elders are completely dependent on others to meet their medical or personal care needs. This could be because of a physical illness that leaves them unable to perform their ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living), or dementia-related ones that affect speech, memory, and executive functioning. You could elect to place your loved one in a nursing home, of course, but studies show that most seniors prefer to stay in their homes as they age.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to live-in care
Only you and your senior can correctly answer the question, “Is it time for live-in care?” The choice is based on your senior’s capabilities, needs, preferences, finances, and a host of other factors. Take some time to sit down, think, and talk it over. When you’re done, you’ll have a well-thought out decision that takes all circumstances into consideration.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.