Whether you’re an adult child, niece, nephew or other close family member or friend, being responsible for the care of an aging senior you love can be challenging. Things like heightened fall risks and chronic health conditions are often sources of immense worry for families, and it can be difficult to know how to tackle problems most effectively.
These issues often present themselves gradually, and it might not be immediately obvious that your parent is struggling. If you have begun to worry about whether your loved one is getting the right elder care to meet their needs, there are a few key areas to consider.
Concerned About Finances
Managing the financial elements of senior care is a common worry for families. Luckily, there are a range of useful organizations and sites you can turn to for assistance, including US Aging and Benefits.gov. Doing your research is well worthwhile, as there are thousands of programs and benefits your relative could be entitled to.
For example, if they have Medicare coverage, they may be eligible for support with things like medications, home care or medical supplies and equipment. Most residential assisted living communities have their own experts dedicated to guiding families through the financial process of arranging elder care, so don’t be afraid to ask for support during the transition.
Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living, often abbreviated to ADLs, are the key day-to-day activities a senior must effectively manage to retain their physical and mental wellbeing. If you need to find out whether your loved one is managing, you could start by checking on how they are coping with ADLs. Think about the following questions to get an idea of whether your loved one might need a new approach to elder care.
- Can they successfully move around the home and walk independently?
- Can they physically feed themselves?
- Can they choose an appropriate outfit for the day and dress themselves?
- Are they maintaining good personal hygiene?
- Are they continent and can they use the toilet unassisted?
Once you’ve answered these basic questions, you might then wish to explore some more complex areas, for example:
- Can they communicate effectively with others?
- Are they keeping their living space reasonably clean and tidy?
- Can they purchase groceries and prepare/cook meals?
- Can they manage their own finances – paying bills correctly and avoiding scams?
- Are they able to drive or take public transportation to get out and about as they’d like to?
- Do they have a fulfilling social life?
Taking the time to carefully consider each of these questions can indicate the areas in which your loved one is having difficulty. In turn, this can provide insight into the best senior care to support their needs.
What to Do Next?
If you think your loved one is struggling with any of the examples above (or something else), it might be time to consider the type of elder care that would serve them best. Thankfully, there are several options available for varying needs. Let’s explore just a few, ordered by the level of care they can offer (from least to most).
- Home modification. If your loved one is starting to have difficulties with their mobility but is not ready to move home, there are adjustments you can make to their space to improve safety. For example, clearing tripping hazards and installing simple fixtures like grab bars, rubber grips for faucets and additional lighting could make the world of difference. If you’re not sure which home modifications will benefit your parent or relative most, enlisting the help of an occupational therapist might be a worthwhile exercise (this may also be covered by Medicare).
- Moving in with family. Another option could be to move your loved one in with yourself or another family member, or for a relative to move in with them. If they live nearby, do not have medical needs and someone has the time and ability to help with simple ADLs, this could be a great option – and it’s one many families choose. If you do opt for this approach, it’s vital to keep tabs on how your loved one’s needs are progressing over time. This should avoid gradual decline in their health affecting their quality of life and steadily turning into unmanageable stress and sacrifice for the caregiver.
- Home health. If your loved one has more complex medical needs but wishes to remain at home, it might be worth considering a home health service. With home health, your loved one will receive regular visits from caregivers who can offer the specialized support they need. It is worth noting, however, that home health can be expensive, and typically lacks the rich social element that other choices like residential assisted living can provide.
- Residential assisted living. If your loved one wishes to continue living independently, but needs some assistance with ADLs, or if they desire an easier and more fulfilling social life, residential assisted living could be ideal. In a residential assisted living community, seniors can have their own room specially adapted for senior safety. Residential assisted living communities typically have group mealtimes, eliminating the need to buy, prepare, cook or tidy up after meals. Often, a variety of amenities are available on site, alongside regular social and recreational activities. Residential assisted living communities also typically have staff on site around the clock to deal with emergencies.
- 24-hour nursing care. If your loved one has acute or chronic medical needs which require round-the-clock nursing care, it’s worth considering a nursing home. These communities have a registered nurse on-site 24/7. As a result, 24-hour nursing communities are better equipped to house seniors with more complex medical needs.
If you think residential assisted living in Pueblo West or Colorado Springs might be the right option for your loved one, or if you have any questions about senior care, get in touch today and we will be happy to offer the guidance and support you need.