No one wants to lose control over their independence, which is why you should involve your elderly parent when making plans for their care. In this way, it becomes a collaborative experience instead of a unilateral one. When an elderly person starts needing help, it’s often their immediate family that steps in. If you feel that your elderly parent could use an assisted-care intervention, here are three areas you should focus on.
1. Senior Care Options
High-quality senior care is an important conversation to have with your elderly parents, and family advisors can help with this process. A family advisor, also sometimes referred to as a senior living advisor or eldercare advisor, is a trained professional who helps families find the best senior housing options for their budget and the care services that they need. Family advisors are often affiliated with senior living partner providers and a community of caregivers.
They’re familiar with local areas and offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you find the best fit for your loved one. So if you’re looking for an assisted living facility in Carthage, NY, for instance, a family advisor can offer a comprehensive directory of caregiving services in the area, the cost information of each of these facilities, and the available options.
Some of the main types of residential elder care options that they may recommend include independent living communities, assisted living communities, nursing homes, adult homes, in-home care, and lifecare communities.
Independent living communities work well for seniors who are still active and can perform all their activities of daily living (ADLs) without the help of a caregiver. These facilities include a range of amenities such as gyms, social activities, dining room options or group meals, housekeeping, transportation, and more. An assisted living facility is a type of care facility that caters to seniors who may need some minimal help with ADLs such as medication management, dressing, and bathing.
2. Home Modifications
Growing older makes us more susceptible to slip-and-fall accidents, turning nearly everything in the home into a hazard. Making their home as hazard-free as possible will go a long way toward keeping your parent in independent living for as long as possible.
Bathrooms are one of the most common safety hazards for seniors, so pay special attention to their bathroom design. You don’t have to do a full-on bathroom renovation to make your parent’s bathroom less hazardous; small upgrades can be just as efficient. For starters, consider the condition of their floors. Hardwood floors are hard and unforgiving, especially in the instance of a fall or slip because their hard surface offers no insulation from injuries.
Instead, opt for linoleum tiles where possible, as these offer a smooth and soft surface, making them great for wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches. They also offer more protection in the event of a fall. Additional fixtures like bidet toilets and toothbrush holders can also help improve their hygiene and independence while minimizing their fall risk.
3. Financial Considerations
The quality of care that your elderly parent will be able to access will depend on the family’s financial situation. Once you have a rough estimate of what it’ll cost to care for them while in an assisted living community versus in-home care, you’ll know if they’ll be able to afford the care services they need or if they’ll need financial assistance. Government-funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare insurance plans are available to help pay for long-term care.
A financial planner or elder law attorney can also help you with things like qualifying for Medicare and more. To find an elder attorney you can trust, seek referrals from your parent’s primary care physician, your accountant, or friends and family. Websites such as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and NOLO can also be helpful tools.