Caring for the elderly, whether an aging parent, a grandparent, or even a spouse can present you with extensive challenges and frustration; however, providing the loving care needed to ensure the safety and continued health of your relative is often the best choice for many families.
If continued care in your relative’s home, or in your own home is not a viable option for an extended period of time there are several other options that can help you to ensure that your relative is well taken care of.
Caring for Elderly Relatives with the Help of Independent Living Facilities
If your loved one is still able to take care of himself at a reasonable level, is not disabled to the point of being incapable of walking, and has not succumbed to a brain disorder like Alzheimer’s, then perhaps an assisted living or independent living facility is the best choice for you and your relative.
An assisted living facility is an excellent choice for your aging parent or relative as it will provide him with a private apartment or condo so that he can still retain a sense of independence while under the care and supervision of medical professionals. Medical staff will be on hand to help him with everyday tasks like taking a shower, and also ensuring that he takes his medication on schedule. As an alternative to a nursing home that is typically designed to care for very ill and immobile patients, an assisted living home will help your relative to feel like he is still able to make his own decisions while receiving the medical care and guidance that he needs. Most assisted living facilities will offer activities and other forms of entertainment to ensure that boredom is never something that your loved one encounters!
While assisted living facilities can certainly lean towards being incredibly pricey, there are several more budget-friendly options that will not compromise on the care that your relative receives. Check with your relative’s insurance provider, or Medicare, to find out if they can recommend any facilities with a good rating and reputation. Your relative may have a roommate, or a less extravagant apartment but the most important thing is that his health and overall happiness are not compromised.
Caring for Elderly Relatives with the Help of a Nursing Home
While no one likes to think of placing their relative into a nursing facility that can provide the 24-hour medical treatment that your loved one requires, it does oftentimes become something that we need to consider. If living in their own home, even with visiting nurses, or living with you has no longer become safe or a viable option then a nursing facility may just be your best choice.
Tour several nursing homes that your loved one qualifies for; gain an understanding of the level of care that can be expected. Ask questions about the level of care, the experience of the staff, and any other question that may occur to you.
Before making your decision to place your relative into the nursing home it is important that you feel completely comfortable with the facility and the level of care that he will receive while there.
At-Home Options for Caring for Elderly Relatives
Perhaps placing your aging relative into a care facility is simply not an option for you; perhaps it is an option that falls outside of your family’s budget. Caring for your relative in your own home can certainly be stressful and a time-consuming endeavor; however, there are many tools and services available to you so that everything runs smoothly.
- Home Health Nurse
If you need to be outside of the home during the day, perhaps for work, then it may be a good idea to have a home-health nurse come over once a day just to check on your relative. The nurse can not only make sure that your relative is in overall good health but can also make sure that he eats lunch and takes his medications.
- Adult Daycare
There are many adult daycare facilities located in every major city; contact your relatives insurance company to find out what kind of facilities and daycare plans they will help to cover. Doing this can not only help to point you in the right direction towards a reputable daycare facility but it can also help to ensure that the financial burden on your family is somewhat reduced.
- Friends, Family & Church Members
Talk to every person in your family and social circle to find out if any of them would be willing to step in either to check on your relative and bring him lunch, or to help him get to his doctor’s appointments. Perhaps someone is even willing to take your relative out to see a movie or to the county fair! It is important that you make the effort and take the time to reach out to every person who may be able to help provide you with a little bit of a break. Caring for an aging relative can be very challenging and frustrating – accept the help!
Health Insurance & Medicare
There are many programs available to help people care for their aging relatives; insurance companies and Medicare have an extensive database that you should be certain that you take advantage of to help locate services and facilities that can help you to make the transition into becoming responsible for the care of your aging relative.
- Medical Equipment
If you require equipment in your home to help you care for your aging relative, Medicare should be willing to cover those expenses. From the cost of a shower seat to the cost of a wheelchair, walker, or even hospital bed – find out what medical equipment your relative will require, for safety purposes, and discuss it with a Medicare or insurance company representative.
- Meal Programs
There are several government and Medicare funded meal programs for elderly people who perhaps just need a bit of assistance with their meals. Find out which programs, like Meals On Wheels, are available in your area.
It is rarely an easy process to become the person who is solely responsible for all care and decisions related to an aging relative; with a bit of planning and an understanding of what services are available to help you, you are certain to find the process somewhat easier and also a bit rewarding as you receive comfort from the knowledge that your aging relative is well-cared for.