November 15, 2011
Many options exist for seniors who need help as they age. While care facilities can play a valuable role, there are alternatives. A growing and popular plan is to help a senior remain at home with non-medical caregiving assistance.
Q. Our 88-year-old mother has lived at home with help from the family. Because it’s becoming more difficult for her to be at home, it’s now time for her to move to a facility. How do we decide which option is best?
It’s great that your mother could stay at home for so long, since that’s where most elderly individuals want to be. In a survey conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network, nearly 90 percent of seniors surveyed say they are very or somewhat likely to remain in their homes rather than move to a care facility.
Most communities now have a variety of services, including home health agencies and non-medical care companies, which can make that possible. Have you looked into community resources that could help your mom continue to stay at home?
“Most older people seem to think that where they live is an all-or-nothing affair: stay at home or be sent off to a nursing home,” said Linda Rhodes, author of Caregiving as Your Parents Age.
Call your local senior center or Area Agency on Aging to find out the types of services that are available in your community. Or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office. Home Instead CAREGiversSM can perform 60 functions in a senior’s home, including meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, transportation, errands and shopping. Another great benefit of non-medical caregiving is the respite that it provides to family caregivers who are weary and need a break from the rigors of caring for their loved ones.
For some seniors, however, the day may come when it’s time to leave home. If so, look for options that continue to help seniors remain as independent as possible. In her book, Rhodes outlines some of those including continuing care retirement communities that feature independent living apartments and homes, assisted living apartments and nursing home care.
Whatever your mom and your family decide, you should encourage your mother to maintain the relationships that she’s formed at home. For instance, if your mother has had a non-medical caregiver that person may be able to accompany her into her new home to supplement care. That can make the transition to a new setting much easier.
Dr. Linda Rhodes is a former Secretary of Aging for the State of Pennsylvania, as well as a former family caregiver. For more information about her and her book, visit www.lindarhodes.com.
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