For many people trying to find care and housing for themselves or a loved one as they grow older can be a very confusing process. Obviously there are many options; ranging from Joan London suggesting you call "A Place for Mom" to your neighbor's friend of a friend who has their opinion.
So the question becomes one of how do you know what to pick. The first thing that should happen is figuring out what you think you need/want. Remembering that what we need might be different from what we want.
There are three primary ways to approach things and we will discuss each one in a separate article
1.Stay in your own home:
Many people will say that they want to stay in their own home. This can work out fine and we will explore ways to be most successful if that is your desire. As people age they may find that they need a little bit of help doing some of the things that they enjoy. Shopping can become a challenge, driving may be off limits and certain health conditions might also limit your ability to stay independent.
If you are lucky enough to have friends and family members to assist you, you are very blessed; but remember these people have their own lives, and in many cases jobs to also attend to. Statistics say that more people miss work these days to care for a parent than a child. Businesses are only now starting to build in some provisions for these caregiving responsibilities, but there is still a long way to go.
So what to do; IF staying at home is your first choice?
Many organizations are available to offer help. Their services range from assistance with household tasks, transportation, and light personal care, to full help with all activities of daily living (ADLS) such as bathing, grooming, dressing, medications and meals.
These services are nearly always paid for by the person receiving the assistance.
Long Term Care insurance does offer a benefit to pay for this type of help, and in MN we are fortunate to have some good volunteer groups offering services, as well as programs available for people with limited financial resources. We will discuss in a future article about ways to qualify for this help.
Many people think that Medicare will pay, but their services are limited primarily to rehab care. These organizations use clinicians such as RNs, PT and OTs to get people back on their feet, and are not for what is called custodial care. You do not have to have been in the hospital in order to qualify for Medicare in home care, so I encourage you to ask you doctor if you meet the criteria next time you meet.
While staying at home is the perceived choice for many people; after awhile you might find yourself feeling a bit isolated, especially if you are a single person. Recent articles have identified isolation as a very big factor in seniors' decline in health, including hearing and cognitive abilities. So, I encourage you to look at the next article that talks about choices for when it is time to leave the family home.