Life is sweet at home

Marla Beck Discusses ‘Senior Care Choices’ at Cornerstone Event – Part II

Marla Beck discusses "Senior Care Choices" at the event.

Marla Beck discusses “Senior Care Choices” at the event.

I was the second speaker at the ‘Caring for Your Elders” discussion held recently at the Bellevue Club and hosted by Cornerstone Advisors. I was joined by Karin Miller, a licensed geriatric social worker and Chuck Hammond, client manager of Cornerstone.

I shared on the many senior care choices available these days. First of all, things have changed a great deal in the past 15 years or so. One of the most obvious choices is you can have the elder stay at home and care for the elder or have them move in with you. Often family members end up hiring outside caregivers either privately or through an agency such as Andelcare to help out.

We often provide care in these situations so the family can “buy time” to figure out other options for Mom or Dad. In-home care also offers another set of eyes on how Mom is doing. Is she able to take her meds on time, take care of activities of daily living (ADLs)?

Our Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) can handle from several hours to 24-hour care. We often suggest caregivers work initially for a short period, get acquainted and help Mom get used to how much a caregiver can help. We suggest starting with “baby steps.”

Some other senior care choices include capitalizing on outside day services. Although these are great for socialization, they can be hard to find in the community and someone must deliver and pick up the elder. Also, they are usually not open on weekends.

Outside the home care comes in several forms. Independent living communities are for those who are truly independent – they are basically a condo with some activities. Before moving in it is very important to try to determine if your loved one will fit with the personality of the community.

With assisted living, elders receive meals and personal care assistance. Fees for additional assistance are a la carte and increase as the needs increase. Another option is the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). These communities ask for a significant “buy-in” investment so members can “age in place.” That is, as they age or their needs change, they live in the same community. However, if an individual needs nursing care, they will be moved to another site in the community.

Adult Family Homes (AFH) are another good option for those who need lots of care. AFH can house up to six individuals and often provide a high level of care in a residential setting. Finally, skilled nursing homes offer 24-hour care. These days they are similar to a hospital in that they are not a permanent solution. After rehab patients return to another living situation.

I hope this description of different elder care options helps people look at what is available these days.

What elder care options have worked for your loved one?