What Are The Best Alternatives To Nursing Homes

When it comes to caring for our beloved elderly, we always consider the best care options. Fortunately, these days you are no longer confined to nursing homes; there is now a range of options available for senior care. We talked to a panel of experts on the best alternatives to nursing homes, and here are their top recommendations.

Imani Francies is a wellness expert with LifeInsurancePost.com. According to Imani...

Nursing Home Alternative #1 – Assisted living customized care given by skilled caregivers is perhaps the most significant advantage for assisted living occupants. These caregivers assist with everyday chores, including clothing, bathing, and other personal care responsibilities. In the event of an emergency, caregivers are also available. 

Nursing staff members also assist with medication management and are available to speak with doctors as required. For seniors who want a mix of privacy and community, assisted living homes are a great alternative. These lively and dynamic communities provide a wide range of luxury facilities and services, as well as the peace of mind that comes with having friendly caregivers on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide individualized help.

Community members of assisted living homes usually live in individual apartments that are light and roomy. They have multiple meals each day, which are served in a shared dining area with their neighbors. Residents can choose from a variety of entrees for each meal, which are prepared by cooks.

Nursing Home Alternative  #2 – Home Care. The more support and care an elderly person requires, the more expensive home care services can become. It does, however, give the seniors the assistance they need to stay at home as long as reasonably possible. Seniors may age in place and receive the support they require from the comfort of their own homes with home care.

Agencies that provide home care services specialize in either nonmedical activities like personal care, food preparation, light cleaning responsibilities, or medical tasks like therapy or wound care. Caregivers visit the adult's home on a regular basis to do these chores according to the adult's preferences and budget.

Peter Ross, who serves on the highly-distinguished Health Leadership Council and has truly devoted his career to helping people age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes and improving senior care service at all levels. He is also the CEO of Senior Helpers and serves as the President of the Home Care Association of America’s board of directors.

The pros of having an in-home caregiver

The comfort of home. As opposed to moving to an assisted living facility or even moving in with loved ones, working with a specialized caregiver can allow people to receive the care they need while in the comfort of their own home—preserving their dignity and maintaining a good quality of life.

Independence. Professional caregivers enable your senior loved one to enjoy living independently longer, allowing seniors to receive day-to-day help with the personal care they need and assistance with the activities of daily living like bathing, grooming, and medication reminders. Ultimately, utilizing an in-home caregiver keeps your loved one safe, healthy, engaged, and active.

Personalized care. Home care services provide meaningful, one-on-one care that helps to build strong relationships between caregivers and their clients. At Senior Helpers, we match our caregivers’ experience, skills set, and personalities to your loved one’s needs. The result is a consistent, working relationship so beneficial that our clients often consider their caregiver to be part of the family.

Peace of mind. Working with an in-home caregiver for your senior can help you to feel confident that your loved one is cared for when you can’t be there. Trained and qualified caregivers can assess safety risks and make simple corrections in the home to ensure your loved one is able to get around easily without the potential for injury.

Reduced feeling of isolation. Research shows that aging adults stay healthier with social interaction. Feelings of isolation are a major problem among aging Americans, and a caregiver’s companionship can impact not only physical wellbeing but emotional health as well.

Prevents falls and other common injuries. Falls are the number one cause of emergency room visits for people aged 64 and over. They can easily happen when a senior is attempting a simple household task such as reaching for a high shelf or carrying something down the stairs. Hiring a caregiver to assist a loved one with these everyday tasks can help to prevent accidents that can potentially lead to serious injury.

How can you do it successfully?

Find a caregiver through an agency—do not hire a caregiver through Craigslist, the newspaper, or even a friend’s recommendation. Only use a bonded, insured caregiver agency, such as Senior Helpers, to prevent situations like this. Using an agency is useful for a few different reasons:

  1. When using an agency, they will handle the screening, hiring/firing, pay, and taxes for the caregiver, whereas when you hire a caregiver privately, you are responsible.
  2. If the worker is sick, the agency can send a substitute.
  3. An agency can help you assess your needs and provide an individual with the necessary skills (e.g., skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, someone well-trained in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s care, etc.)
  4. A caregiver hired through an agency may be partially covered by Medicaid or private insurance.

Jim Dan, MD—a geriatric clinical advisor and member of the Senior Helpers board of directors—who has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping seniors with dementia and other memory-loss-related diseases.

When should you look for a caregiver?

Hiring an in-home caregiver makes sense when a loved one is experiencing the beginning signs and/or already living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There are a number of telltale signs that a loved one may be experiencing the effects of memory-loss diseases. The below warning signs may indicate it’s time to explore an in-home caregiving service:

  1. Trouble with day-to-day memory. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially in the early stages, is difficulty recalling events that happened recently.
  2. Persistent memory loss. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may ask the same questions over and over and increasingly rely on memory aids—for example, reminder notes or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
  3. Confusion; even in well-known places. People living with Alzheimer’s or dementia become disoriented and can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time.
  4. Loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities; A person living with the disease may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation. As a result, your loved one may withdraw from hobbies, social activities, or other engagements.
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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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