A senior’s care needs can vary greatly, and many options exist. For example, some seniors prefer aging in place with visits from family caregivers or hired senior care providers.
Other seniors may opt for a retirement community that provides various levels of elder care. Continuing care retirement communities, also known as life care communities, offer independent living and assisted and skilled nursing in one location.
Seniors who require assistance with everyday tasks but do not require full-time nursing care or assisted living have the option of home care. Meal preparation, housekeeping, and transportation to doctor’s visits are examples of senior care options.
Medicare Advantage may cover home care cost plans, private health insurance, long-term care insurance, or family resources like retirement income and savings. A person’s Power of Attorney can also purchase these insurance products on their behalf.
In many cases, a senior will start with home care and move into an assisted living or skilled nursing facility when their needs are necessary. Continuing care retirement communities, sometimes called life-care communities, offer all three elder care options in one place. This allows seniors to “age in place” while accessing the support they need as their needs change.
Some senior care situations require a caregiver to live in the home, often called “live-in” or “24-hour care.” The caregiver sleeps on an assigned schedule, typically eight hours at night and four hours during the daytime, but they remain awake to provide supervision and support.
This type of care may be a good fit for seniors who wander, have special bathing or grooming needs or need frequent repositioning to prevent bedsores. This type of care can also include services like medication management and transportation to doctor’s appointments, worship services, social events and the senior center.
Some states have programs to help pay for live-in care. Contact your state’s Medicaid office to find out about the options available. Usually, this is a much less expensive option than a nursing home.
Caregiving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. If not carefully managed, caregiver burnout can be dangerous for the primary caregiver and their loved one.
Respite care offers family caregivers temporary relief from day-to-day caregiving tasks ranging from a few hours to several weeks. Services are provided through in-home care agencies, adult day services, facilities that allow short-term stays, or volunteers who offer companionship and protective supervision.
Caregivers should discuss their needs and goals with a professional home care agency so that they can find the right type of respite care for them. Quality home care agencies will screen and train their caregivers to ensure that they can meet your loved ones’ unique needs. Costs vary, but long-term care insurance may help offset costs.
A skilled nursing facility (SNF) offers medical care and rehabilitation to patients recovering from illness or injury. These facilities are staffed with trained health professionals like registered nurses, LPNs, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. These professionals offer wound care, administer injections, monitor vital signs and provide treatments.
Unlike assisted living, these residential care homes are licensed healthcare residences that provide the highest level of care outside of a hospital. Seniors who need around-the-clock nursing care or a high level of medical attention frequently due to a chronic health condition may qualify for a skilled nursing facility. These facilities also offer a higher ratio of licensed medical professionals to residents. They can be short-term or long-term care options. Many of these services are available through a managed long-term care program.
Custodial care may be the right option if a loved one needs assistance with day-to-day activities such as bathing, dressing and eating. This type of care can be offered in their home, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
Custodial caregivers can also offer basic medical services, such as administering medication, catheter care or wound care. They can also help patients with exercise and mobility.
Custodial care differs from skilled care, which must be administered by or under the supervision of a licensed and trained medical professional and often requires a physician’s orders. Medicare typically only covers skilled care for 100 days. However, long-term care insurance and public benefits like Medicaid may cover custodial care costs.