For many people, the thought of needing long-term care brings
to mind images of the nursing home. In reality, there
is a whole world of possibilities. Choosing the
right option can be challenging. You can work with a geriatric
care manager to put together a cost-effective plan of care.
The national Eldercare
Locator helps families who want to find services and
facilities in a specific town or state. Your Department
of Senior Services or Area Agency on Aging can help identify
community programs and other local assistance for long-term
STAYING AT HOME
There are many services that help people with chronic conditions
to continue to live at home for as long as possible.
- Homemaker, chore services - Cleaning
services can deal with basic household tasks. A companion
or homemaker can help with transportation, household chores,
and daily activities.
- Home modifications – These can
range from inexpensive grab bars, door handles, and shower
benches to more expensive modifications such as an elevator
or redesigned shower. Link to www.aarp.org/universalhome
- Assistive devices - There are many
handy gadgets to help people with poor vision and hearing,
limited mobility, and cognitive limitations. Emergency
call systems help elders who live alone, while monitoring
systems aid forgetful elders. See www.abledata.com
- Home health care - A home health aide
can provide personal care, household services, and help
- Adult day care - Adult day care centers
can offer stimulating activities, nutritional counseling,
rehabilitative therapies, and supervision. They give caregivers
time for work or other activities.
- Respite services – Temporary
care for an impaired elder to give caregivers a break
or time to run errands. Nursing homes and other facilities
may care for an elder for short periods.
- Visiting nurses – Licensed practical
nurses can evaluate home safety, monitor medical conditions,
oversee medications, and provide other skilled health
care at home.
A wide choice of accommodations support older Americans
without making them give up their independence. These facilities
may offer fine dining, recreational activities, transportation,
gardens, and social events along with long-term care services.
Some are found in quiet, beautiful settings. Many are conveniently
located near shopping and cultural attractions.
- Retirement communities - Retirement
communities offer a wide range of housing options, services,
and recreational activities to elders who are able to
live independently. These communities do not provide long-term
care, but residents may be able to pay for a home health
aide or nurse to come to their apartment.
- Assisted living - Assisted living facilities
provide a home-like setting for frail elders who cannot
safely live at home alone, but who do not need 24-hour
- Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC)
or life care communities, offer a full range of long-term
care services so that elders can keep living in the same
place despite declining ability. A CCRC typically allow
residents to select from private apartments, assisted
living, and nursing care, usually in one location.
- Senior apartments or congregate senior living
provide housing and some services. Monthly rent
reflects the size of the apartment, social activities,
meals and other services, and the quality of the facility.
- Nursing homes are important for severely impaired people
who need rehabilitation after a hospital stay, 24-hour
skilled nursing care, or round-the-clock supervision due
to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Today’s nursing homes offer many programs that
address the well-being of the whole person. These can
include gardens, pets, cultural activities, and nutritional
programs. Some facilities are designed to meet the special
needs of residents with Alzheimer’s disease.