This is Part 2 of a 3 part series (click here to return to Caring for a Loved One: Part 1)
How to determine the type of care needed:
Sometimes a sudden change in a loved one’s physical or mental ability does not allow time for extensive planning. This is why thinking ahead and creating a care plan is crucial. It is important to explore all the options that are available in order to make a choice that will be acceptable to all parties involved.
Determining the correct care setting is an important first step in the planning process. Sometimes the initial care setting is a temporary one. For instance, if a family member is hospitalized for a hip fracture, he or she may need to go to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation prior to returning home. After the temporary recovery period, it will be necessary to have a plan as to where to go next. This is where there are many options. Choosing the best one is dependent on the care needs, personal preferences, and financial means of your loved one.
Care At Home:
Most people prefer to receive care in their own home so that they may remain in a place of familiarity. Sometimes this desire is realistic, and sometimes it is not. In order to decide if this is a possibility for your loved one, the extent of their care needs, the home setting itself, and the availability of family and friends must all be taken into consideration.
Sometimes it is possible to modify the home in order to adapt to care needs. Furthermore, the availability of home care services allows many people who need assistance, to remain at home longer. In situations where home modification and home care services are still not enough to make independent living at home a reality, moving to the home of a relative may be another option.
Assisted Living Communities:
Assisted living is a residential housing option that combines independent living with support services like dining, social activities, personal care, medication management, and more. This can be an excellent option for individuals who are unable to remain in their own home, but want to retain their independence.
Assisted Living may be a good option for your loved one if they:
· Do not need the skilled medical attention that a nursing home would provide, but would benefit from being around others in a community setting and having assistance available 24 hours per day.
· Have had a significant change in health that has led to a major impact on lifestyle.
· Have a cognitive disorder that requires 24-hour supervision to protect their safety.
Nursing Home Care:
A nursing home is a residence that offers all of the services of an assisted living community while also providing 24-hour nursing, rehabilitative care, and protective supervision. Nursing home care brings full time medical support to those individuals who have the greatest care needs.
Although nursing homes in the past have garnered a negative reputation for being cold, institutional facilities, this is truly not the case today. There are a wide range of communities to suit all types of preferences and personalities. Modern nursing homes have the goal of creating the most comfortable and safe environment possible for those that need more extensive care.
It is always a goal for your loved one to remain independent and at home for as long as possible; however, it is also important to be realistic about abilities and care needs. There are many excellent options for long-term care that offer a thriving and happy lifestyle while providing a support system that will keep your loved one safe.
As an accredited attorney with the Veterans Administration, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and the Washington State Bar Association, Elder Law Section, Darol Tuttle of Washington State, has helped numerous families plan for the future and protect their assets.