As people age they often require increased assistance in everyday activities. Decisions on what is the best type of care for a senior can be difficult and often complicated. Here is help on how to decide between assisted living or senior care in their home.
The choices between assisted living professionally at a nursing home or relying on care in the home can be an agonizing choice for the family of a senior. There are pros and cons to both options and they should be carefully considered before an arrangement is in place.
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"My sisters/brothers don't lift a finger; I do everything for dad!" and "My mother's become my child!" Common cries among adult children caring for elderly parents at home. I ask in return, "Why are you the caregiver?" It's an admirable job; after all they raised you and loved you as you were growing up; now it's your turn. Or is It? Why only you and not your siblings? Is there another way to care for them and still show your love? There is a high incidence of caregivers' health failing before their loved one goes.
It is a stressful job. It's often a 10 hr/day, 7 day/wk job, if not 24/7, without breaks, days off, vacations, or even pay. It is one that involves chef and shopper, chauffeur, self-care manager, social events and appointment scheduler, bath aide, nursing attendant, laundress, companion, financial manager, and.... Then mom complains because you don't do right. And that's just your job with her. What about your own life?
6. Reduce the risk for falls: modify the house for safety by using a room-by-room safety checklist (see a comprehensive one in the book Dad's Home Alone); provide grab bars, shower seat, and a high toilet or raised toilet seat, for bathroom safety. Don't forget a medical alert pendant or wristband. In case of a fall help is just a press-of-the button away. Falls can't be prevented. Gravity is the same whether in a nursing home, at home, or standing next to a loved one.
Remember, elderly people, just like you and me, want to remain as independent as possible. Respect who they are and make sure your parent weighs in on the decisions. But also, know that they may not be as realistic about their safety and care needs. You are there as their safety net, not their "parent".
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The Costs of Senior Care Options
When planning for our retirement, most of us allocate money into a 401K or another savings program to take advantage of tax write-offs and to make sure we will be able to enjoy a nice lifestyle when we are no longer working from 9 to 5. We imagine using the money to supplement our monthly social security checks to enjoy vacations and other leisure activities while taking advantage of all those senior discounts.
The financial company advertisements assist us with the visions of enjoying gardening, sailing and relaxing during our retirement years. They don't show the other side of the reality which includes health problems which accompany aging. Along with a longer life comes an increased chance for developing an age-related disease, such as Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease. Alzheimer's Disease is now the sixth leading cause of death, according to the Alzheimer's Association. As we all witnessed from watching former President Ronald Reagan battle the disease, a senior with Alzheimer's Disease can live for many years, while requiring a caregiver to assist with their daily living. As Medicare does not pay for long-term senior care (only stays of 100 days or less in a nursing home for rehabilitation after a hospital stay, with doctor pre-approval, with only the first 20 days paid at 100% by Medicare), the costs can quickly add-up.
Remember, Medicare does not pay for long-term care, which means to effectively plan for your senior care needs, you must plan for where you want to receive the care and save to pay for the care services either in a nursing home or in your home. While less than 7% of Americans over the age of 70 currently have long-term care insurance, it is predicted that more than 50% of Americans will have long-term care insurance in twenty years, as people witness their parents burn through their life savings to pay for their senior care needs. Research the options and manage your investments to allow you to choose your preferred senior care and look for unbiased, third-party information as a credible senior care resource