Looking after your aging parents is a full-time responsibility. Over the years, seniors have experienced a decline in health, energy levels, cognition, and mobility.
As the inevitable happens, someone has to be there to step into the caregiver role during their twilight years. Unfortunately, not everyone can be around to take ownership for senior care because factors like distance and time can interfere with the best intentions.
Nursing home is an option, with 1.1 million aging adults in the US residing in them as of 2022. But there are enough horror stories of abuse, negligence, and mistreatment to dissuade you from sending your loved one to a nursing home facility.
The last thing you want is to stress about their safety while they are away from home. Luckily, you can explore several alternatives to nursing home care to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are a few options you can consider for your aging parents.
Home care is an apt choice for aging adults as it enables them to be in a space they love and get personalized care. You can find a home care agency or directly work with a registered nursing professional to implement a caregiving plan for your parents. The second option is better because you have more control and discretion.
While home care costs vary by state, the national average cost for a 44-hour week is nearly $3,813. Nursing professionals are in high demand, so these costs may increase in the future. Not surprisingly, a growing number of young professionals are preparing for nursing school to make the most of the opportunity.
According to Elmhurst University, nursing programs prepare professionals with more than caregiving skills. They provide hands-on experience, enabling them to develop soft skills like compassion and empathy. Knowing that a home care expert with these skills is looking after your parents makes you feel far better than leaving them alone in a nursing home.
Assisted living communities are ideal for relatively healthy and active seniors who might not require immediate care. Your loved ones will not feel lonely in an assisted living community because they can make friends within their age group. However, the arrangement is not suitable for seniors with complex medical issues.
According to statistics, the median cost of assisted living in the US is $4,744 per month. The plan includes accommodation, shared meals, activities, and entertainment. Specialist care is available for eating, dressing, bathing, and using the toilet for those needing it. Such communities also help with healthcare monitoring and medication management.
Adult Foster Care:
Adult foster care programs provide family homes or boarding homes for seniors. The system has several adults living together in a private residence and experiencing a family-oriented environment. They share meals and get personal care as a part of the arrangement. The circle is smaller than in an assisted living facility, but some seniors find the environment more comfortable.
As a part of the foster care facility, your parents get assistance with medications, household chores, and bathing. However, the medical care element is missing, making it unsuitable for adults with moderate or extensive medical needs. On the upside, adult foster care costs less than a nursing home, assisted living, or home care.
Adult Day Care:
Another popular option for seniors is adult day care, with these centers increasing 35% since 2002. Nearly 74% of older adults attending these services live at home. Over 260,000 participants and family caregivers in the US avail of these services. The good thing is that your loved ones can be a part of the family. Yet you need not stress about their care and safety while at work.
Besides ensuring medical assistance for attendees, the adult day care center provides entertainment, including outings, movies, crafts, and other activities. Your parents also get a chance to mingle with other seniors, helping them deal with isolation and social anxiety. You can find a place offering meals and transportation to ease your workload.
Respite care is an ideal alternative for caregivers looking for a short break from their care responsibilities. You want to give the best to your aging parent, but the stress and physical burden can lead to caregiver burnout at some time. You can take time off to reduce stress levels, pick errands, or plan vacations without feeling guilty.
A respite care service can provide home care or offer on-site accommodation to your parents while you are away. The option is affordable, as you may need to pay a daily amount in the $110-300 range. Not all respite care providers offer medical assistance, so ensure collaborating with one capable of addressing your parent’s needs.
Nursing homes are not the only solution for senior care. If you are worried about nursing home narratives, you can explore one or more of these alternatives according to your needs, expectations, and budget. You will surely feel less stressed, and your parents will be a lot happier with the right kind of care arrangement.