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Mariah's avatar

What elder care options exist and how do you feel about them?

Asked by Mariah (25876points) October 28th, 2011

When an elderly person gets to the point where she can’t take care of herself anymore, what are her and her family’s options?

There are, of course, nursing homes. If she has any children who are willing to take her in, there’s that. Do other options exist? Do other cultures handle it differently; how?

How do you feel about the various options?

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8 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

Other options in America include friends, neighbors, assisted living, live-in caregivers, home care, hospice, not-for-profit organizations like American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Meals-on-Wheels, Senior Volunteers, various state Department of Aging, Housing and Urban Development and Family Caregiver Alliance.

Jeruba's avatar

One option that seems to work for many is to choose an assisted living environment that’s paired with a nursing facility. That allows people a lot of independence while they’re still able to do things for themselves, yet still with a watchful presence and help with things they can’t manage. When they need ongoing care, they can transition to the nursing side in a familiar environment among people they already know. I’ve known of a number of people who adjusted very comfortably to this type of setting. I think it helps when they can participate in choosing it and establish social contacts, etc., there while they are still relatively able.

My father-in-law chose to stay at home and have geriatric aides come in, part time at first and later round the clock. He never had to leave home at all and died in his own bed. His sons controlled his finances by then and opted to spend a good chunk of the old man’s investments on him while he lived.

bkcunningham's avatar

I love the concept of assisted living. It can be very costly though. I would hope everyone could live out their life in the way @Jeruba‘s father-in-law did if that was their decision. Even with nursing homes, if you have no other options except a nursing home because of finances and are on Medicaid, you lose your home and everything you’ve ever worked for in order to be placed in a facility. I think that is a very sad fact of life.

lillycoyote's avatar

There’s a concept called aging in place where the point is to allow the elderly person to stay in their home as long as possible and live as independently as possible by evaluating what their individual needs may be and providing support services and assistive technologies that will allow them to continue to live at home. It’s not for everyone but beats going into a nursing home just because you can’t figure out how to pay your bills or manage your finances anymore, e.g.

bkcunningham's avatar

Fortunately, there are programs similar to the one you linked already in place in America, @lillycoyote. The Administration on Aging, a federal program that has been around for more than 35 years, is funded through the Older Americans Act. I’ve personally witnessed some amazing senior citizens who volunteer to help other senior citizens through the Meals on Wheels and Senior Volunteer Program administered through the program.

They offer so many fantastic opportunities to volunteer and help older people stay in their homes, recieve meals, medical care, have a helping hand or a hand to hold. They even offer repite care with adult daycare programs. I am proud that my tax dollars go to administer this program. The volunteers have banquets every year all across the US celebrating their work.

lillycoyote's avatar

@bkcunningham Yeah, there are some amazing seniors. I had a neighbor who delivered Meals on Wheels until he was in his early 80s. Staying at home, making that possible by providing support services, is just such a better option, all the way around. It’s better for the person, I think better for the family, they don’t have to feel they’ve warehoused their aging parent and it costs less than nursing care or assisted living that may not be necessary if there is support and help to stay in the home.

bkcunningham's avatar

Don’t you just love that, @lillycoyote? My Dad is 92 and volunteered for the local food pantry for years and years. He got pneumonia in the spring and hasn’t been the same since. My brothers and sisters live close to him and see to his needs. He’s still mobile, but only around the house. He’s scared of falling and has quit going outside of his house and yard.

He thinks it is the most amazing thing in the world that his friends from the food pantry bring him lunch twice a week just because they love him. They are all volunteers and many are nearly as old as my dad. It makes me want to cry just typing this, but it is all true and really indescribable to me.

People who I’ve met here in Florida who are just as generous and giving. There are some really great people in this world.

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