As your parents, grandparents, friends, or neighbors age, health concerns may begin to loom large. Even with regular medical care, many aging loved ones may develop conditions that make it difficult to live independently anymore. And, although we may want to be able to provide the extensive care our loved ones need, becoming a caregiver for an elder with health concerns is a massive lifestyle change – one that many people may be unable to undergo. Rather than stretching yourself too thin, it may be in your and your family’s best interests to seek out professional elder care for your loved one. With the influx of the aging Baby Boomer generation entering the senior care space (a projected 7 million by 2030), there are certainly plenty of options.
What Kind of Elder Care Is Out There?
At the highest level, you and your loved one will have to determine whether the care needed is medical in nature or more associated with quality-of-life improvements. These are known as skilled care and custodial care, respectively. Skilled care may include tasks like administering medication, providing physical therapy, and other medical needs. Custodial care, on the other hand, focuses on tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, and more. Each of these types of care can be performed either in your loved one’s home or at a care facility, depending on your loved one’s needs.
The Most Common Elder Care Options Available Are:
- Independent Living – This type of care allows your loved one to either remain in their current home or move to a new home in an independent living community with the option to hire a visiting nurse or caregiver to help with particular tasks. These communities often provide social activities to foster that desirable “neighborhood” atmosphere. This is a popular option for those who are mostly self-sufficient or have just a few needs.
- Assisted Living – This facility requires seniors to move to a new apartment in an assisted living community. While residing in assisted living communities, residents have access to 24-hour custodial care from trained caregivers.
- Nursing Homes – This care houses residents in private or shared apartments where they have access to 24-hour custodial and skilled care from nurses and therapists.
- Continuing Care Communities – These facilities are unusual, but convenient for residents who wish to avoid moving as their needs increase with age. Continuing Care Communities offer a wide variety of housing for elders of all types ranging from independent living to skilled nursing home care. As a medical or custodial concern grows, residents can move within the community according to their needs.
If your loved one has shown signs of dementia, they may require extra care in the form of memory care. Communities that specialize in memory care are designed to attend to the needs of those with declining memory.
Narrowing Down the Options
Once your loved one has chosen the type of care they need, it’s time to get picky. Begin by considering what amenities or criteria are must-haves. Does your loved one want social interaction and community activities? Do they want to be close to friends and family for visits? Are they adamant that their cat or dog stay with them? Write down these non-negotiables first and keep them close by to remind you of what is truly important.
Next, ask your loved one to brainstorm what they absolutely do not want in a care facility. Perhaps they are averse to sharing an apartment or cannot imagine living somewhere without a kitchen.
Now that the two of you have determined the need-to-haves and the no-ways, you have a clearer picture of the ideal care facility for your loved one. With these in mind, you won’t be dazzled by the other amenities and features on a facility’s website or brochure and forget to check the most important items off the list.
Touring Your Elder Care Facility
As with any home, you never want to rent or buy sight unseen. In the case of elder care, touring in person can give you a good idea of facility operations, how the nurses or caregivers interact with their residents, how happy the residents seem, and the cleanliness of the facility. If possible, eat a meal from the facility’s kitchens, as your loved one will be eating this food often. Your may also speak directly to the residents to get a firsthand account of the care available. After all, the nurses and caregivers will probably be on their best behavior when they see a potential resident touring. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Handicap access
- Calendars of activities
- Lively conversation between residents and caregivers
- Strong odors (bad odors could be evidence of a problem; good ones could mean they’re trying to hide a problem)
- General positive atmosphere
Safeguarding Your Loved Ones in the Inland Empire and Beyond
The Nursing Home & Elder Abuse team of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, has made it their mission to protect one of our society’s most vulnerable populations from those who would neglect or mistreat them. We believe that all groups deserve equal legal protection, especially if age or a medical condition makes it difficult to speak up for themselves. With a history of multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements, we are ready to protect your loved ones. If you are a victim of elder abuse or neglect or suspect your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect in an elder care facility, contact us today or call (909) 345-8110 to schedule your free consultation!