ALTERNATIVES TO LIVING AT HOME
Good Reasons to Consider a Senior Residence
Caring for a loved one at home is a great option-for many people. Nowadays, however, there are many alternatives to make you reconsider the dreaded "senior residence." Despite the horror stories in the news, most retirement facilities are well-managed, good places to live. If they were not and if residents did not like living there, they would not still be in business.
Social opportunities, transportation assistance, activities, medication supervision, a living environment designed with seniors in mind, and the opportunity to have one's own home instead of a room in the family home are a few of the pros of senior housing.
Sometimes we are so concerned about how a family member would feel about leaving home; we let our own fears and guilt convince us that home is the best place. Most senior residences provide round-the-clock front desk service and many include access to professional care such as home health care aides, registered nurses, and on-call doctors. In an emergency, residents phone the front desk for an immediate staff response-the staff typically alerts help (in the form of medical assistance, or whatever is needed), and lets family members know about the concern. Your loved one need not hesitate to phone the desk whatever the hour. Many times a loved one will hesitate to tell a family member about a problem-particularly if it is 3 a.m. and the loved one feels guilty for being cared for. Sometimes it can be easier for a loved one to express a problem to a non-family member, such as personnel at a senior home.
Types of Senior Residences
Professionals refer to the level of care offered at a facility depending upon the services provided. The level of care you select depends [active tense] upon your family member's needs. Make an appointment with everyone involved, including your loved one, doctors, and all family members to make a list of the services you need. One way to combat resistance to moving is to involve your loved one in every step toward finding a new home. In addition, it is better to shop for an alternative to home care while your loved one is cognitive and healthy, before an emergency leaves you without any choices.
Group Homes for Seniors
Group homes are another alternative to living at home or in a senior facility. Group homes are usually regular homes adapted to meet the special needs of the elderly. They are located in residential neighborhoods with live-in caregivers who provide meals and personal service. Group homes generally cost less and provide a family-like setting for your loved one. Family members arrange for doctor visits and other services that may or may not be delivered at the group home. Not all states have licensing boards for group homes.
Respite Care and Temporary Housing
Some facilities offer temporary housing when you need to go out of town, on a vacation without your loved one, or just take a break from each other. Assisted living facilities are more likely to provide temporary housing because they often have furnished rooms.
The Real World
Each individual facility, no matter what the category of housing, provides different services and care. Your loved one's needs may require a mix between several different types of housing. Be sure to examine the trade-offs of all facilities you consider-and understand that, as in most things in life, you will have compromises to make. Only you and your loved one can decide which compromises are acceptable and which amenities you absolutely require.
Oftentimes, a family will find an acceptable facility for all amenities-except one or two. In that case, you may decide to purchase additional services to supplement those offered by the facility. For example, some families supplement visiting nursing services to ensure 24/7 care. Some families supplement the food at a facility with gourmet delivery services, or some families pay extra for cable TV.
Looking toward the future, you may choose a facility that offers more services then your loved one currently needs. Doing this enables your loved one to stay at the facility of choice as their needs progress.
The choices for senior living are vast-and growing every day! Put the guilt aside and assess your family's situation with all the options in mind. Sometimes it is in the best interest of everyone-you and your loved one-to consider a home away from home.