Deciding to start elder care for your loved one can be scary and nerve-wracking, particularly in a post-COVID-19 world. Senior care facilities in New York State were hit hard during the pandemic, and nursing homes received an unfavorable reputation for handling unprecedented events.
Thankfully, we’ve learned a lot over the last few years about COVID-19, and nursing homes have worked hard to reform their policies. Many nursing home facilities excel at providing quality care and implementing effective safety practices to keep residents safe at all costs. Still, we understand the idea of a nursing home can be stressful– it’s a life-changing event for you and your loved one.
While nursing homes serve a purpose and can be the right choice for individuals at certain stages of life, there are many options for senior care in New York that could also be a good fit. Elder care services have expanded considerably over the years, offering many ways to support individuals with various levels of care.
Understanding the different services and how to create a care plan when you choose one is the first step to considering the best care option for your loved one.
Options for Elder Care in New York State
While it may have been true in the past, nursing homes are no longer the only option for long-
term senior care. Elder care services have expanded considerably over the years, and knowing your options is helpful before making crucial long-term care decisions.
Home Care Companies
When looking into elder care, leaving home behind is often the most significant stress factor for seniors. If this is a concern for your loved one, and they can still live safely and independently in many ways, a home care company may be a great first option. These services are designed to support individuals in their homes, helping them with activities of daily living (ADLs), staying safe and active in their neighborhood, and helping to provide or schedule as needed services.
Independent Living Communities
Individuals who are entirely independent and need less space and more socialization may be perfect for independent living communities. These complexes or neighborhoods are generally made up of apartments, condos, or small free-standing homes with easy upkeep. Rent includes a variety of amenities– trash, emergency aid, meal programs, wellness centers, snow removal, etc.– and is the one step before assisted living.
Seniors who can no longer live independently safely and require a bit more care are great candidates for assisted living facilities. Your loved one may be ready for one of these communities if they don’t require a high level of care but need more assistance with cooking, driving, personal hygiene care practices, or going on social outings.
Residential Care Homes
Residential Care Homes, or Board Homes, are structured along the lines of a group home for adults who require live-in assistance and the company of others. The services will vary depending on each resident’s needs. A weekly staff is available to help with everyday ADLs and transport residents to recreational activities. Depending on their medical, psychological, and emotional needs, each resident may also be assigned additional providers and support.
Dementia Care/Memory Support
Individuals who suffer from dementia or memory loss need specialized care that is often different from others in the aging population. Dementia Care and Memory Services are typically provided in a protected community with private to semi-private apartments. The concern in these establishments is to protect residents from wandering into unsafe situations in the community and to provide 24-hour care from professionals well versed in the patterns of elders with these types of degenerative conditions.
Sometimes your loved one needs short-term care or day programs to keep them active and functioning. There are two types: Adult Day Programs and Short-Term Stay Programs. Day programs generally focus on socializing and keeping individuals active and healthy throughout the day. Short-Term Stay Programs are a little more involved, providing short-term assisted living until your loved one is ready to move into a new home or back to their original residence.
Nursing homes are long-term care facilities that provide the highest level of care. They offer all
levels of support, from scheduled activities to meals to personal hygiene to medical and all other care. Individuals who are disabled or require 24 hours assistance would benefit from a nursing home environment. There are 5-star nursing homes out there that want nothing more than to take care of your loved ones and provide them with the best quality of life. Research each facility, read reviews and talk to family members of current residents for insight into each facility near you.
Hospice is generally the most comfortable and supportive service available when your loved one has reached the moment of needing only end-of-life care. This care option may be at home or in a facility and focuses on helping your loved one find relief in their final days while also supporting the family emotionally. These services are typically utilized by individuals with fatal diseases and incurable illnesses, whose last steps are to seek comfort and peace.
How to Help Your Loved One Plan for Elder Care
Creating a care plan ensures your loved one's needs are met in whatever elder care setting you choose and that all concerns are addressed with timely and high-quality actions. Plans can cover daily tasks, services, social visits, medical treatments, and whatever else they need. A care plan not only keeps everyone in the family on the same track, but it provides peace of mind to your loved ones that their well-being is in mind, and they are being cared for. Here are the basics.
- Build A Care Team: Define clearly who will be involved in your loved one's care and which areas. Every part of the care plan will need at least one or more team members who agree to be responsible for predictable and unforeseen circumstances. Involve family, friends, spouses, or other supporters willing to help.
- Work as a Team: Gather your care team to brainstorm all aspects of care needed for your loved one. This is the time to set goals, address concerns they may have, identify needs, and match all the supports to an area of the plan they can commit to.
- Talk About Costs: Part of the care plan is to consider the costs of care as well as the logistics. Talking about finances can be uncomfortable for some but remember that the goal is ultimately to support your loved one in the best way possible. Care costs may include long-term care insurance, assets, costs of services, medical treatments, medications, housing, and more.
- Utilize Professionals: Caregivers and support do not have to be limited to individuals outside the care facility. Utilize positive support within the facility or care program that can help fill the gaps in the care plan or provide more insight into the needs of your loved ones. Experienced long-term and elder care professionals can be beneficial in making your loved one's in-care experience less stressful, especially regarding facility disease control and prevention methods. Professional supports may include physicians, social workers, nurses, financial planners, or mental health professionals.
Tully Law Group, PC Elder Law Care Attorneys
Contact us today to start your Life Care Plan!