As an elder law attorney, I address the issues that face the fastest growing segment of our population – senior citizens. One issue that comes up time and time again, not only in elder law issues, but with estate planning clients, is that of long term care vs. home care options.
In a recent AARP survey, over 80% of seniors stated that they prefer to stay in their homes as they age, rather than move to a long-term care facility. Families can help them do so by exploring alternatives that may allow them to do so. For example: An elderly person with limited mobility could remain at home with a support system in place that will attend to their care, particularly if it is not needed on a 24-hour basis. Sometimes home modifications can help achieve this, such as handrails, non-slip rugs and more, along with daily visits from a home care worker.
When it comes to home care, a candidate is screened to determine what level of care is necessary. It is possible that they just need help getting ready in the morning, i.e., taking a shower, and perhaps assistance with light house work. They may be able to dress independently, cook for themselves, and otherwise take care of themselves with some supervision.
It is important to have your family member properly assessed and determine exactly how much care is needed. This may change from time to time as their physical and mental situation shifts. Care workers can also assess the need for additional services, such as family support or day care options.
Many states and counties have programs available to help an elder person maintain their independence in the community, and in order to maintain the least restrictive situation for your loved one, it is important to consider the option of home care as opposed to a long-term care facility should that be their wish.