A Guide to Senior Home Care: How to Make the Best Choice for Your Future

guide to senior home care - aging in place vs long term care
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Weighing your options for home care can get overwhelming pretty quickly. While most seniors prefer to age in place, they’re faced with the daunting task of modifying their home for greater accessibility or arranging round-the-clock care. On the other hand, seniors who decide to move into assisted living facilities have a lot to consider when choosing a place. Many seniors struggle with these important decisions, so here are some helpful things to consider as you weigh your options.

Is it time for you or a loved one to research long term care facilities or senior home care options?  CareWindow can empower you to make the right living decisions through objective data and reviews from residents, staff, and families! 

Assisted Living Facilities

Many seniors consider moving into an assisted living facility when they need a little more support in their daily life. Of course, this decision is a tough one, so consider some of the advantages and disadvantages. For example, assisted living residents enjoy round-the-clock care while still maintaining their independence and having the opportunity to have an improved social life. Plus, staff are there to help you with daily living activities, like dressing and cooking. On the other hand, a facility could be cost-prohibitive or completely unsettling for some people. And for seniors who need more intensive medical care, nursing homes may be a better option. 

If you decide that assisted living is right for you, your next step is choosing a facility. It’s a good idea to tour a few different places so you can find the best match. A facility may sound good on paper, but you really need to visit in person to get a feel for the environment and atmosphere. As you search for a place to live, remember that assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who want to retain some self-sufficiency in a private, apartment-like environment. If this is important to you, pay attention to the privacy of the residents as you tour different facilities. Also, take note of the home’s location and the surrounding neighborhood. Ensure there are nice places you can go outside to walk or nearby shops to visit. Even better, come prepared for your tour with this checklist from HuffPost News.

Skilled Nursing Homes

Skilled nursing facilities may be a better choice for seniors who require a higher level of medical care. At these facilities, residents receive consistent assistance 24 hours a day. Often, this includes meals, physical and occupational therapy, medical equipment, medications, and social services. Unlike assisted living, Medicare will cover the costs of short-term skilled nursing care if your doctor has deemed it necessary. Keep in mind that Medicare only covers the costs of semi-private rooms that are shared with other residents. If you would like to have your own room in a nursing facility, you will have to pay for this yourself.


Aging in Place

Although assisted living facilities and nursing homes provide invaluable care and support, most seniors would rather remain in their own home,(this is called aging in place). After all, staying at home allows seniors to maintain their regular routines and comforts. It’s also much more cost-effective. Thanks to advancements in accessibility equipment, medical-monitoring technology, and smart home improvements, aging in place is becoming a realistic option for many families. 

If you would like to age in place, consider making some accessibility upgrades to your home. For example, consider installing grab bars (the cost of installation averages $243) and slip-resistant flooring or widening your doorways to make your home easier to maneuver in a wheelchair or walker. Making these modifications will keep you safe and comfortable.

Alternatively, you may want to move into a new home. Many seniors prefer condos or age-restricted communities so they don’t have to deal with maintenance or yard work. Plus, these living situations are often located in downtown centers, which makes it easier for seniors to access entertainment and social engagement opportunities. You’ll want to research home prices to determine how much it’ll cost to live in your target neighborhood, and you’ll need to connect with a dedicated realtor. Wherever you end up living, make sure you plan for in-home care. Medicare covers a variety of home health services for seniors who are homebound.

Deciding on a home-care option is tricky but important business. Although it can be stressful, weighing your choices and visiting facilities will help you find the perfect care option for your needs. Above all else, remember to consider your quality of life and happiness as you make this significant decision.