A topic of utmost importance as we age, or become disabled at any age, is how to get the best and most appropriate care for our loved ones. It’s a huge topic, and one I won’t fully address in this newsletter. However, I will address all the options listed below over the next few issues:
- Aging in Place
- In-Home care
- Assisted Living Communities
- Independent Living Communities
- Continuing-Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
- Care Homes
- Skilled Nursing Facilities.
- Memory Care Facilities (Alzheimer’s Care Facilities)
I’ll begin with “Aging in Place” and “In-Home Care,” and answer these questions:
Where do we find the caretakers? What do they cost? Does Medicare cover care? What organizations can I go to for help? I don’t have Long Term care. What should I do? . . . and more.
Aging in Place and In-Home Care
Aging in Place/In-Home Care means staying in the comfort of your own home for as long as possible as you get older, rather than moving into a retirement or long-term care facility. Aging in place is a great option most people prefer if they only need minor assistance with their daily activities, enjoy a close network of family and friends nearby, and can utilize the right home care services to cover their needs.
By exploring the range of services available, seniors are able to decide if aging in place is the best way for them to maintain their independence and make the most of their golden years. Staying home is what I would want for my own care should the situation arise. It’s where I feel most comfortable and independent. One of the biggest arguments older adults have when they are considering care is that they’ll lose control over their lives if they don’t stay home. This is a valid argument and a real concern, and is often hard to accept.
How home care services help you age in place
While it may be hard to accept, most of us will require some type of care assistance after the age of 65. You may be used to handling everything yourself, dividing up duties with your spouse, or relying on family members for minor help around the home. But as you get older and your circumstances change, getting around and taking care of yourself can become more and more difficult. If the idea of moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility, or nursing home doesn’t appeal, home care services may be able to help keep you living in your own home for longer.
Home care services include:
Household maintenance. Keeping a household running smoothly takes a lot of work. If you’re finding it hard to keep up, you can look into laundry, shopping, gardening, housekeeping, and handyman services. If you’re having trouble staying on top of bills and appointments, financial and healthcare management may also be helpful.
Transportation. Transportation is a key issue for older adults. Maybe you’re finding it hard to drive, or don’t like to drive at night. Having access to trains, buses, rideshare apps, reduced fare taxis, and senior transportation services can help prolong your independence and maintain your social network.
Home modifications. If your mobility is becoming limited, home modifications can go a long way towards keeping your existing residence comfortable and accessible. Modifications can include things such as grab bars in the shower, ramps to avoid or minimize the use of stairs, or even installing a new bathroom on the ground floor.
Personal care. Help with the activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, or meal preparation, is called personal or custodial care. Home health aides can provide personal care services that range from a few hours a day to around-the-clock live-in care. They may also provide limited assistance with things such as taking blood pressure or offering medication reminders. Costs vary, but average between $28 and $35 per hour.
Health care. Some healthcare services can be provided at home by trained professionals, such as occupational therapists, social workers, or home health nurses. Check with your insurance or health service to see what kind of coverage is available, although you may have to cover some cost out of pocket. Hospice Care can also be provided at home. (See my recent newsletter about Hospice Care).
Medicare Part A covers hospice care and some home health care. Part B also covers some medically necessary home health benefits such as physical therapy, part time or intermittent skilled nursing care, occupational therapy and speech therapy. What it doesn’t cover is ongoing home care as defined earlier. I am happy to get answers for any of your Medicare questions. Also, a terrific reference guide to help you learn more is called “Medicare and You.” The 2021 issue is available online for download. It comes out every year with updated information. It’s my personal Medicare bible.
The Council on Aging, Southern California is another organization whose information I couldn’t live without. If you want to know where you can get non-medical homecare, legal and financial advice, adult daycare, transportation services, counseling and support services, contact the Council on Aging, Southern California. They have the answers. You can reach them at 714-479-0107 or visit their website at www.coasc.org. You can find their “ANSWERS” guide available annually online, and in print in libraries, senior centers, and other locations throughout Orange County. Invaluable!!!
Other organizations dedicated to helping us age well are the National Aging in Place Council, NAIPC@ageinplace.org, the National Council on Aging, (https://www.ncoa.org/professionals/health/aging-mastery), and AARP.org.
I’ll discuss Assisted Living Communities, and Independent Living Communities next time. I’m always here to answer your questions, and am happy to do so.
Yours in health,
Quote of the month:
“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.” – Peyton Conway March