When you or someone you careabout can no longer live safely alone, big decisions are in store. Thetransition from complete independence to having to rely on others for help withthings you used to do on your own such as bathing, dressing, grooming,toileting, eating, food preparation, or driving, can be a difficult one.
Once everyone is on the same pageabout the need for care, then the discussion turns to how and where that carewill be provided. In addition to finances, there are other criteria toconsider. Here are a few conversation starters:
What matters most?
Most people, given the choice,want to stay in their own home. If this is of the utmost importance to you,then in-home care might be the right option. A caregiver can come to your homefor as many hours a day as you need. In-home caregivers can offercompanionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping,driving, help with showering and other non-medical care services. A caregiverin your home will be able to keep their eye on you for a change of condition orhelp reduce the risk of falls.
If socialization, activities,outings, and being with peers is important to you, then a good choice may beliving in a community with others at a similar stage of life such as acommunity offering assisted living or even a smaller care home. Assisted Livingcommunities typically provide three meals a day, housekeeping and laundryservice. If you are unable to do these things or are just plain tired of havingto do them, this is a good solution. Care is available when you need it and asthings change, more care can be added, usually at additional cost.
Wherewill I be safe?
Depending on your home and yourhealth, modifications may be needed to keep your home safe for you. They may beas simple as grab bars in the bathroom or as expensive as adding a walk-inshower or tub, building a ramp, or widening doorways for wheelchairaccessibility. If walking is difficult, stairs are not a good idea.
In an assisting living communityor care home, these modifications have likely been addressed as a requirementby licensing (which varies from state-to-state) and can make getting aroundeasier and safer.
Whatcan I afford?
Always a big question. Dependingon how much care is required, you will need to calculate the cost of home careand compare that with the cost of living in an assisted living community.Surprisingly enough, the communities are often the less expensive option. Thatsaid, if all you need is assistance with, for example, showering three times aweek and some grocery shopping, in home care costs may be manageable. There area lot of factors to consider and a thorough exploration is very important. Youwill also want to understand what, if any, additional sources of funds areavailable to you.
Enlist the help of an ElderCareManager or a Senior Placement Advisor to make sure you have the whole picture.
Whatis the best location choice?
If you have been living at homeup until this juncture, it is likely that your providers – physicians,specialists, physical therapists, labs, etc. are near your home. Yourtransportation needs to and from appointments have also likely been arranged.Be sure to take into consideration how all of this will work if you decide tomove into a community or care home.
Will moving bring you closer orfurther away from your loved ones? Family visits are important as is accessibilityto those you are close to, no matter where you live.
Any way you look at it, thisdecision is a big one and navigating the transition could require some helpfrom family, friends, or professionals. The goal is for you to be happy, safe,comfortable, and in proximity to the things that matter to you.
If you have anyquestions or would like to be in touch with a Senior Care Authority Advisor inyour area call (888) 854-3910 for a no-cost phone consultation. We have manyresources to share with you. You can also find a local advisor on our website atwww.seniorcareauthority.com.
MarcyBaskin is an Elder Care Manager, and Managing Director of Senior CareAuthority. She is also the author ofAssisted Living: Questions I Wish I Had Asked.