Assisted Living or Adult Day Care?
Your Guide to Finding Care Options for Seniors
By: Lydia Chan
Do you think your aging parent or other senior loved one may need to move to assisted living soon? If so, you likely know that you have some tough decisions ahead of you, and it can help to have a little extra support as you navigate this complicated transition. That’s why having this guide to senior care options and signs of assisted living needs can be so helpful to family caregivers looking for extra help and options for their senior loved ones.
Should You Consider Other Senior Living Options First?
If a senior parent needs help with daily activities or care, they may not need to transition to assisted living just yet. You may need to think about alternate options, including:
Adult Day Care
For family caregivers who need some time during the day or want to ensure their loved ones are taken care of, researching adult day care could be a better choice than considering assisted living. These adult day service centers can provide seniors with physical therapy, social connections and other options that can preserve their mental and physical well-being.
If you are mainly worried about helping your loved one feel less isolated, then you should talk to them about independent living options. These communities are meant to provide older adults with the social connections they need to thrive but do not provide assistance with activities of daily living or care. Some may, however, offer additional services for their senior residents.
In-Home Senior Services
Another way you can ensure your senior parent is taken care of, without having them move to an assisted living facility, is to hire in-home help. This can mean anything from home health aides to part-time maid services but having a little extra assistance with daily tasks can make seniors feel safer and less lonely and can provide caregivers with some added peace of mind.
Should Your Aging Loved One Transition to Assisted Living?
When the senior care and housing options above are not enough to keep your parent safe and healthy, it may be time to consider a move to an assisted living facility. If you still have your doubts, there are some common factors that indicate a need for long-term care:
Struggles with Basic Activities
If it has become too difficult for your senior family member to dress them self or prepare healthy meals, and you cannot provide this care for them, then a move to assisted living may be best. Also known as activities of daily living (ADL's),these basic tasks are what insurance companies, health providers and senior care facilities use to measure the need for long-term care.
Memory Care or Other Special Needs
Aside from ADL’s, seniors who could benefit from living in an assisted living facility also include those who have been diagnosed with severe chronic health conditions. For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, transitioning them to a memory care facility may be the best choice for their safety and even yours. These specialized senior care options are better equipped to deal with the challenges of cognitive decline issues, like wandering and other safety risks.
Concerns About Caregiver Well-Being
If your loved one has been diagnosed with late-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s not just their safety you should worry about. Seniors who are struggling with cognitive health issues can also pose an unintentional risk to their caregivers, and in these cases, it’s always best to move those seniors into a memory care facility, assisted living community or nursing home. Family caregivers who are at risk for emotional burnout should also consider assisted living for seniors.
Making the decision to move a senior family member into any sort of care facility is never easy. What’s important, however, is to keep the health and safety of everyone involved a primary focus, even if that means transitioning your loved one to an assisted care facility. If you do decide that making such a move is a good choice, these resources can also be helpful:
Senior Services & Options: What’s Out There?
Tips for Paying for Senior Care
Tips for Transitioning into Senior Care
Resources & Support for Caregivers
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