Anyone with seniors in their life is both blessed as well as tasked with certain responsibilities. Older people are our links to the past and spending time with them can be both life-changing and life-affirming.
We must also, however, take our responsibilities as people caring for older loved ones very seriously. Oftentimes we must make decisions about their care and living situations that try to balance their autonomy with health and safety concerns–difficult decisions to be sure. Below are some of the most popular options for senior care, for older adults of all physical and cognitive abilities.
Making the Best Choice for Your Loved One
It can be stressful deciding which senior care option makes the most sense for your loved one and your family. There is a wide range of factors to consider; from the level of care required to the amenities that make the most sense for the person or people in question.
While there is certainly an abundance of literature out there for anyone planning and researching potential options for their senior loved one, being able to access a comprehensive database of care options information makes life so much easier.
Outside of remaining in one’s home, apartment, or condominium, the natural next step for many seniors who are in good enough physical and cognitive health to remain mobile and self-sufficient are independent living communities. These are full-service arrangements in which seniors live as they would anywhere else, with the purpose of such communities being added convenience.
These communities might make it easier for seniors to access groceries and meals; take classes; provide housework services; and transportation to and from appointments and errands. Independent living communities are often referred to as “retirement communities” or “retirement villages.” They emphasize community living and healthy aging, and they range in price and the services offered.
Anyone who keeps abreast of health, and particularly gerontology-related health news, has likely seen the term “home care” mentioned with increasing frequency over the last several years. This is because health care delivery models are quickly changing in countries with aging populations, and home care is a large part of the senior care of the future.
Home care is a fairly broad umbrella term that covers a multitude of care options. These include personal care, skilled nursing, and different kinds of physical therapy and outpatient care. Home care is versatile and can be tailored to meet different budgets. Home care is a great alternative for those seniors who would rather remain in their homes (places of comfort and familiarity) as long as possible, with care coming to them rather than having to move out in search of it.
Adult Day Care
Adult Day Care may sound infantilizing, but in reality, it is anything but. These services are great for caregivers who need support during the day so that they can rest, work or attend to other needs. Adult Day Care centers usually operate during regular business hours and help with medication schedules, meals, support groups and counselling, and physical exercise and therapy classes.
Some Adult Day Care Centers operate as independent businesses, while others operate out of and have affiliations with various religious and other organizations. Adult Day Care is a great option for seniors who do not require 24/7 care, but who are nonetheless interested in opportunities for socializing and physical activities; or for those who require some level of help and supervision during the day while primary caregivers and other family members are unavailable.
Assisted living homes are those which recognize that at a certain point, many seniors require additional support and care to help them maintain a high quality of life, health and safety. This includes older adults who find it progressively more difficult to manage their daily affairs (including things like doctors appointments and medication refills), or who have lost mobility to the point that they are no longer able to handle daily tasks and chores around the house.
Assisted living represents a higher level of supervision and potential regulation of an older person’s life, so make sure you understand what a particular facility requires and restricts before signing any documents. Consult trusted resources that lay out some of the various important questions and considerations you should keep in mind when making a decision.
Companionship care is a type of in-home care who do not require in-home medical care, but who would nonetheless benefit from some form of care/companionship. The people who provide these services often help with chores around the home, keep seniors company during the day (when other primary caregivers may be unavailable), and assist with other non-medical needs.
Companionship care seeks to address the fact that many seniors feel isolated and alone, despite being physically healthy, active and mobile. Companionship care may be offered by agencies specializing in this form of senior care, or by licensed individuals offering their services.
Caring for our senior loved ones is something we should do with a sense of compassion, understanding as well as duty. As people enter the final stages of their lives, they naturally start to require additional help and support measures to ensure they maintain health, safety and peace. Keep the above senior care options in mind when considering the best course of action for you and your loved ones and help older adults lead meaningful, happy lives.