Do you want to do right by your parents?
They raised us, gave us everything, and the time will come when we can return the favor. Quality elder care is the least we can provide, but how we do that is the question. Watching your parents get older can be hard.
Not all of us have the time to care for our aging parents, even though we want to. Luckily, there are several long-term care options that let our parents stay at home with quality care. Many great external facilities and assisted living options are also on the table.
The first step is knowing your options and what your parents prefer. Next is estate planning and making sure your parent’s care is never interrupted. The last step is doing your research before making a choice.
The last thing you want is elder care that doesn’t provide quality service. For a guide to feeling secure in your elder care for the long term, read on.
Consider the Long-Term Care Options
One of the first things you’ll need to do is consider all available options. Caring for an elder is not an easy task and will often involve a significant commitment. Indeed, long-term elder care can be expensive if you don’t plan for it.
Your options boil down to two main categories. The first is long-term elder care which allows your parents to stay in their home or yours. The second is settling into a retirement home or similar assisted living facility.
In both categories, the level of independence and assistance can be customizable. This means that your parents can still do what they’re used to. A helping hand is there if and only when they need it.
We’ll discuss some of your options below.
As the name suggests, home-based care stays in the comfort of your parents’ home. This is a great option for parents who live alone and need a little help in their day-to-day lives. Many use this if their parents live with them, but their schedules are too busy to provide adequate care.
This type of care includes things like help with bathing, getting dressed, and personal hygiene. The caregiver will also be in charge of general supervision and keeping track of medication.
The level of assistance will depend on how independent your parents are. Some care providers can cook or do basic cleaning, while others might run errands or help around the home. Not everyone needs help getting into bed or changing their clothes.
That said, the flexibility is there if you or your parents need it. This type of care is also easy to check up on since you can observe the provided care regularly within the comfort of your or your parent’s home.
For that reason, home-based care can be a great option for helping your parents age with grace. They’ll get the care they need in the comfort of home while retaining more of their dignity.
For lack of a better term, external-based care is all of the options that involve leaving home behind. This includes retirement homes and a variety of defined assisted living communities. These range in purpose and flexibility, offering good alternatives to at-home care.
One of the largest is CCRCs. This acronym stands for Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Rather than a standard retirement home, CCRCs are large communities with multiple options.
Within CCRCs, you’ll often find individual units or apartments. These allow your parents to live on their own like at home. The major benefit of this is being close to additional care providers and facilities if they need it.
They’ll also have neighbors in their age range to socialize with on their own terms and not in a crowded nursing home.
CCRCs also have an assisted living facility, as well as a nursing home. The first is usually for those that need extra help and supervision, while the latter is for those in need of much more frequent care. A CCRC normally has all three options, letting your parents move between them if they need to do so.
Group Living Arrangements
Another major category is group living arrangements. This one is harder to define but involves a simple principle. This is a group of elderly residents living in a communal residential setting with flexible levels of care.
You can think of it as having roommates in a house rather than being in an elder care facility. Care providers like nurses still drop by to help. However, the goal is to provide a balance between independence, community, and care.
In a best-case scenario, everyone gets along. You get the socialization and feeling of independence that single units in a CCRC provide, with flexible extra care. In some cases, the seniors living together can help each other with minor things, almost like a family.
Those who require extra professional help will, of course, get it. Group living is an option for elders who know they might need a bit of looking after but don’t like the alternatives. Living alone can feel lonely or scary, even with neighbors.
Living in a crowded assisted living facility can also feel overwhelming and exhausting. Many elders refuse to go to a large retirement home, and it’s often for good reason. Living with so many people isn’t for everyone.
Group living is like a mini, more manageable version. Instead of dozens of residents, your parents might only live with 2 or 3. It can be a great way to make new friends. However, like with every option, it isn’t for everyone.
Get All of Your Legal Ducks in a Row
Getting quality elder care is about more than knowing your options and picking one. You want to make sure your parents are set for the long term. This means getting all of the legality and formalities out of the way.
You need to talk to your parents and do proper estate planning. Their pension, retirement savings, properties, and assets need ordering. Part of this will mean drafting a will if they haven’t already, but there’s more to it than that.
You want to make sure that your parents will always have the elder care they deserve. If something should happen, you don’t want them to suffer. It’s a reality many of us don’t want to think about, but it’s true nevertheless.
Think about putting some assets in a trust, especially those of your parents. Talk it over with them, and get an Elder Care attorney to help. They can answer all of your questions about elder care and estate planning.
Elderly care services aren’t free or all that cheap, regardless of the options. A living trust with you as the trustee could give both of you peace of mind. So long as you’re alive, you can make sure the money gets spent properly on high-quality care.
Do Your Research
You 100% need to do your due diligence on how to get elder care. There have been several cases of elder financial abuse, so much so that $36.5 billion a year gets lost to it. Not only does this hurt everyone’s finances, but it can also be dangerous.
That money should go to providing a certain standard of care. The corners that get cut or steps skipped to skim money off the top are deplorable. Many elders are very vulnerable and need frequent care.
A lapse in quality or frequency could be deadly. You have a duty to look into every option, facility, and service provider. Take a look at the reputation of the care providers you plan to pick.
Make sure you tour any of their facilities and that you observe the care as it’s provided. This is easier to do if using a home-based option but still important. Always talk to your parents first and listen to their feedback.
Keep Your Parents in Mind
You also need to plan for the transition. We talked about what this might mean in a legal sense above, but you want to think about the personal and financial side too. Establishing long-term elder care, regardless of how good, is sure to be a change for your parents.
Long-term elder care is about quality and also comfort. If your parents don’t like the nurse or the facility, then no amount of care will give them what they want and deserve. You need to make sure they’re on board every step of the way to make things painless and ensure good care.
You should also prepare them on how to avoid elder financial abuse. There are steps you can take to make sure money isn’t misappropriated, and we have an article about that here.
The Keys to Finding the Best Long-Term Elder Care
When thinking about the best long-term elder care for your parents, there’s a lot to consider. There are many options, home-based and not, that provide tons of flexible independence. What your parents want is important, as is the reputation and quality of the care providers.
You also have to make sure that everything is in order from a legal and financial standpoint as well. It helps to have attorneys knowledgeable in estate planning and elder law and care. At Smith Barid, we have the expertise to make sure your parents are set for their golden years, so contact us today.