As our elderly loved ones age, it often becomes more apparent with time that we need to put some kind of eldercare in place for them.
Memory issues may cause us to worry about them remembering to take their medications, make it to doctor’s appointments, or simple safety measures around the house such as turning off the stove. Staircases, slippery walkways, icy weather, porch steps, and bathtubs or shower stalls are potential hazards for slipping and falling. Sometimes there are mobility issues or medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Eldercare, either in-home or in a facility, is often the only answer to keep our senior parents or loved ones safe.
Determining how to care for an aging family member is a conversation everyone must have at some point. Marked by a steady decline in cognitive or physical functioning, aging individuals will often require assistance, or eldercare, in their old age. Eldercare is the catch-all phrase used to describe the assortment of services elderly individuals can receive.
When your loved ones reach old age, you may begin to notice differences in their behavior and health. Tell-tale signs may be subtle at first but will eventually become evident. Discussing eldercare should start as soon as you see these changes.
Some tell-tale signs include:
Common health issues in old age include respiratory problems, balance issues, and cardiac risks. Most of these problems require that the individual be monitored closely in case of an emergency where they won’t be able to help themselves.
Needing to be monitored often can eventually put a strain on family members. And in some cases, there might not be enough family members within a convenient distance to cater to elderly loved ones. Handling daily activities can become extremely difficult for assisting family members.
Behavioral changes may also occur if an individual develops dementia. Alzheimer’s, for instance, is a form of memory loss that can lead to confusion and failure to recognize family and friends. Older people with this debilitating disease would require around-the-clock care.
Family members have several choices in providing eldercare to aging loved ones. Depending on your elderly loved one’s current health and mental state, the type of care they receive will vary.
Options for eldercare include:
Often senior individuals prefer to receive eldercare services from the comfort of their own home. This option is becoming increasingly accessible with the rise of virtual care too.
In-home care can be purely family-based, where family members are responsible for helping out elderly loved ones with daily activities. Families that are well-positioned for this type of eldercare can save on costs and increase their loved ones’ well-being. It is almost always preferable to be cared for in a familiar environment.
But having family members take on the task of caring for an elderly loved one could become stressful and time-consuming. Because of this, it is common for families to opt for professional in-home care, which sees a trained health professional make house stops for the aging individual. Virtual care options are also available through an array of digital devices and services.
Enrolling an elderly family member into an assisted living facility is a good option for families that may not have the ability to do in-home care. Assisted living facilities are designed for older people who are mostly autonomous but require help with certain activities.
Assisted living care also provides the elderly with a community. They can befriend other senior residents and partake in social activities. Additionally, assisting living residents will have direct access to healthcare if needed.
Older individuals afflicted with significant physical or health problems that require around-the-clock monitoring should opt for a nursing home facility. Nursing homes are places where trained health professionals can tend to the crucial medical needs of the elderly. They are similar to basic assisted living care facilities with the added emphasis on healthcare.
Sometimes senior adults are only in need of care for a specific portion of the day. Maybe their significant other works a day job, or perhaps the elderly individual can care for themselves for small windows of time. Adult daycare is a good option in these scenarios.
Usually operating during business hours, adult daycares offer assistance with food and rehabilitation. Social activities, transportation, and medical care are also included.
As people continue to age, health issues will start to exceed the scope of medical care. When this happens, an individual may develop terminal illnesses that can’t be cured, such as cancer. At this point, it is best to seek hospice care.
During hospice care, the healthcare providers’ purpose is to ensure the utmost comfort for seniors who have reached the end of life. Trained healthcare professionals will try to relieve symptoms as much as possible while also creating a comfortable patient environment.
Hospice care is done in-home or at a facility. In most situations, family members are included. Once the terminally ill patient has passed, many hospice services offer bereavement care for remaining family members.
Paying for eldercare will depend on the type of service that is required. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars a month, to tens of thousands of dollars per year.
On the less expensive end, adult daycare services are about $60 per day on average. Moreover, certain forms of in-home care, such as virtual or family-provided care, may cost around $1,000 per month. Factoring in trained health aides into in-home care may incur an hourly cost of approximately $20 per hour.
Admitting an elderly loved one into assisted living or nursing home care could cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. This will depend on the quality of the facility, as well as the services needed. Hospice care is around $10,000 per month on average.
Thankfully, most forms of long-term health insurance will cover the costs of eldercare. Private health insurance will often cover a broader range of services. But government-backed health insurance such as Medicare will likely cover essentials, including some portion hospice care.
Consider your elderly loved one’s specific needs when choosing any of the eldercare options mentioned above. There are several services available to senior citizens who require assistance with daily activities or health issues. Discussions regarding eldercare should begin as soon as you notice changes in your elderly loved one’s health or behavior.
Eldercare costs depend on your elderly loved one’s needs, but most expenses are covered under private or government-backed health insurance.