There comes a time when family caregivers find it is necessary to help their aging parent choose the right long-term senior care solution for them. Because each senior is unique, it is best to discuss their individual needs and expectations to ensure they find a good fit. In-home care, assisted living facilities, and senior day centers are all good long-term care options for seniors and their family caregivers to know about and consider.
In-home Care –
Many seniors prefer staying in the comfort of their own homes as they age. This is because their home is full of good memories and personal comfort. In-home care agencies specialize in providing individualized personal care in the senior’s home. This can be from a few hours during the day to 24/7 care. If it is needed, there are professional caregivers who are trained and certified to assist seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. This can benefit family caregivers by giving them the break they need while also giving them the peace of mind that their loved one is getting the care they need.
PROS of in-home care:
- Familiar environment and routine
- One-on-one care personal care and attention
- Care provided any time (day, night, weekends, and holidays)
- Housekeeping and meal preparation
- Better communication between family and caregiver
- No big moves, anxiety, or facility costs
CONS of in-home care:
- Less social interaction with peers
- Less opportunity for exercise and activities
- Cost grows as more care is needed
Senior Day Centers–
Also known as adult day care centers, these centers offer a good mix of social interaction as well as structured routines and activities; this can be an especially good fit for seniors dealing with memory loss. These programs provide a respite opportunity for family caregivers and a fun, engaging, safe place for seniors to spend some time during the day. This may also be a good segway for seniors who will eventually need more help in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
PROS of senior day care centers:
- Very good socialization opportunities
- The senior can remain at home with family but get out of the house during the day
- Structured activities which help prevent boredom and maintain routine
- Trained memory care professionals and programs that focus on those with different types of dementia
- Gives family caregivers the break they need during the day
- Most economical senior care option
CONS of senior day care centers:
- Limited hours: no weekends, holidays, or night-time hours
- Less one-on-one time with staff
- Staff usually cannot administer medications (social
Assisted Living Facilities –
It may come to the point that a senior needs consistent help and worsening medical needs require more than an in-home caregiver or day center can provide. Assisted living facilities are a good option for seniors looking for a living situation that provides a community environment as well as assistance with full-time daily living needs. Some assisted living facilities also offer memory care units which provide a safe environment for those dealing with moderate to severe dementia.
PROS of an assisted living center:
- Community environment with a lot of social opportunities (depending on the facility)
- Staff assistance and medication administration
- Staff is available 24/7 to assist with needs
CONS of an assisted living center:
- Can be costly, especially for memory care
- Unfamiliar environment
- Less individualized care
- Less one-on-one time with staff
Combined services may be a better option
Family caregivers should also consider combining types of long-term care. Perhaps your loved one would benefit from a mixture of in-home care on the weekends and a senior day center during the week. This would give them a chance to socialize and decrease boredom from being at home alone while still maintaining independence in their own home.
Whichever long-term care option you determine is the best fit, remember to be respectful of your loved one’s wishes. This may be a challenging and confusing time for them, but with patience and communication, you can reach a good decision that will benefit you both.