Appropriate Care Options for Seniors
Appropriate Care Options for Seniors

A comfortable and safe environment makes for an ideal home. There are many options when it comes to living arrangements as a senior, or for a senior loved one. Progressive illnesses such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s can contribute to the need for assistance on a daily basis. There are two main options when it comes to housing: assisted living and nursing homes. It is important that seniors are surrounded by a caring community and/or staff. How do you determine which option is the best one?

What is The Difference Between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living?

Hermitage Northern Virginia, a provider of Alexandria, Virginia assisted living facilities, explains the difference between the two main living arrangements for seniors, and why it is important to select the environment with the right fit. A nursing home is an option for those needing maximum, round-the-clock care. In nursing homes, the residents are usually dependent on others for help with all daily tasks. Nursing homes can also provide services to those with severe memory loss who require constant supervision. Normally, the fees include full-time care ranging from help with meals to help getting around the facility. These establishments normally have daily schedules and routines that the residents adhere to.

As another option, people who require assisted living can still perform basic daily tasks, yet may require help with things such as grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. These communities can often be paid for on a monthly basis, or per diem for the specific services needed. For example, some are equipped with grocery stores, salons, and even health centers that are only accessible by their members. Assisted living gives the resident the option for a little bit of help to a substantial amount of help. This is probably the best fit for someone who does not require assistance 24/7.

Which One Would Be Most Cost Effective?

As you are deciding on a housing option, budget is one of the many factors that must be taken into consideration. The Arbor Company has reported on the price differences between the two. As can probably be expected, a nursing home is going to cost more due to the amount of services and care that they provide. The average cost to live in a nursing home is $6,965 per month, and the average cost of assisted living is $3,293 per month (according to 2010 U.S. Health Department statistics).

Financial assistance may be an option that is available to you. Most nursing homes are set up to participate in Medicare or Medicaid, which would reduce the monthly costs of housing. Some assisted living facilities are also covered, but the amount of coverage given can vary greatly per state. The benefit to financial assistance when it comes to nursing homes is that all nursing homes are federally regulated, proving more consistent coverage no matter where you are located.

What Makes a Facility Feel Like Home?

AgingCare speaks on the topic of making a new living facility feel comfortable for the resident. Keep in mind that, to others, the move into a facility may feel positive. But to the resident, having to move into an unfamiliar place can be scary or stressful. Bringing familiar items for comfort can help ease the transition. Things such as precious family heirlooms, seasonal decorations, and favorite blankets and clothing are recommended. These items can be swapped out regularly to help the resident feel even more comfortable in the living arrangement, keeping things operating the way that they would in their own home.

Install shelving or cabinets in the bedroom, if allowed, to provide a way to store personal belongings that can be easily accessed and always seen. Having a small collection of personal items allows for the resident to feel that it is their own space and not only one that is shared by many. Sometimes, moving into a facility brings a willing feeling of change. Some residents may want a completely fresh start with new belongings to look forward to. The important part is to discuss this prior to the move so that the adjustment will be as easily as possible.

Try to refer to their new space as home from the very start. This will promote positivity around the topic of moving and changing up the routine. Not all seniors adapt well to change, and often, these facilities will offer tours and a “trial” period. During this time, the staff will get the chance to get to know you or your loved one, creating a more personable and inviting living experience. Comfort is always going to be a bigger and bigger priority as life goes on, so ensure that you are making the best decision for your loved one. Do your research on local establishments, and look into insurance options that could potentially provide you with assistance.