Did you know the average life expectancy for American seniors is nearly 79 years? We’re living longer than ever before, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to the effects of aging. In fact, the longer we live, the more important it is to think about how we’ll take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
Do you need help taking care of elderly parents or other family members? Are you overwhelmed looking for help for an aging mother through the different caregiver options for seniors?
Take a deep breath—we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll review 4 options of how to get help taking care of elderly parents, along with some other resources to make your decisions easier.
4 Caregiver Options for Seniors
For most families, nursing homes are a last resort. Rest assured that there are many alternatives that allow your loved ones to remain at home while still getting the care they need.
Here are some popular options to consider.
1. Informal (Unpaid) Caregiver
Do your parents need actual medical attention, or do they just need some help with daily tasks? If your aging parents need help but don’t need professional round-the-clock care, you might start with informal caregivers.
Is there an existing network of family members and friends who can step up to the plate and provide support? Perhaps they can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, or rides to appointments. Practical help around the house, like basic maintenance tasks or organizing pills, could also be a huge help to aging parents.
Adult children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other extended family members often fill this role, along with close family friends. If your parents are members of a church, temple, or community center, you could see if they have any volunteer programs in place. There are also federal programs that provide grants and other support to voluntary caregivers.
2. Professional (Paid) Caregiver
Home health aides, certified nursing assistants, and other similar professions fall under the umbrella of paid caregivers. They often work in conjunction with an agency or government-sponsored program.
Paid caregivers can provide home health care for elderly parents with an array of daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and meal preparation. Others specialize in medical care for elderly ones with certain conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Typically, caregivers come to the home on a set schedule, ranging from a few hours a week to several hours each day. Not only do they provide practical assistance to the person in need, but they offer respite for the primary caregiver (such as the spouse).
3. Adult Day Care
Speaking of respite, adult day care centers have become increasingly popular caregiver options for seniors. These are ideal for people who require some daily assistance or are otherwise isolated in their homes.
Much like day care centers for children, a senior spends a certain number of hours each day in a safe, monitored environment. Adult day care centers offer medical support as well as activities such as games, arts and crafts, and exercise classes.
This is a great option because it gets seniors out of the house and allows them to socialize. Meanwhile, the primary caregiver(s) have time to rest and attend to their own needs.
4. Live-In Caregiver
A final option we’ll consider is hiring a full-time, live-in caregiver to assist your parents. They can manage the day-to-day affairs of the household, as well as providing personal care and assistance.
This could be the right choice for your parents if they need more care or supervision than the other options provide. It’s also an excellent solution for allowing them to continue living at home while receiving the care they need.
Comparing Care Options for Elderly Parents
For many seniors, a combination of informal and formal caregiving is the best solution from among the many options to care for elderly parents.
For example, a widow with severe arthritis but a sharp mind could benefit from home care a few days a week to help with daily tasks. Meanwhile, friends or family members could pick her up for church, doctor’s visits, or grocery shopping.
Alternatively, for an elderly couple where the husband has advanced dementia and the wife is unable to manage his physical needs, the family might decide it’s best to hire a live-in caregiver to attend to the husband while adult children offer other practical support to their mother.
Here are some factors to consider when making the decision for your family:
- How much support is available from nearby family and friends?
- How safe and accessible is the home?
- Do your parent(s) have chronic medical conditions or mobility limitations?
- How much can you realistically afford to spend on care?
If possible, sit down and discuss these questions as a family so you can arrive at a decision that is best for everyone involved.
Other Resources for Caring for Aging Parents
As mentioned above, you might have resources available to you at your church, community center, or VA office. There are also state and federal non-profit organizations that provide more information for families.
Another option is to consult with an elder law attorney in your area. These lawyers can help you find senior care options in your locale while protecting your family’s assets. They can also help you navigate the complex world of Medicaid and VA rules.
Do You Need Help Taking Care of Elderly Parents?
None of us likes to think about our beloved parents getting older. And it can be overwhelming to consider how to support elderly parents while caring for our other responsibilities too.
While there’s no single answer that works for everybody, the good news is that help is available. Review the information listed above as you decide how best to care for your aging loved ones.
When it comes to caregiver options for seniors, many in your shoes choose to bring professional caregivers into the home. Whether it’s companionship care a few hours a week or full-time Alzheimer’s and dementia care, there’s someone who’s perfectly suited to your family’s needs.
Contact us today to discuss your family’s circumstances and learn about the best care options for your aging parents. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.