Is your loved one beginning to show signs that they need some help with daily activities? Medication management? Or maybe just a little extra supervision for their safety and your peace of mind?
I know this decision is extraordinarily difficult and even more personal.
Our knowledge and experience can help answer many of the questions about what type of care is best for you and your family. These decisions are always a balance of many factors. Hopefully, my experience can assist you in making the best choice for everyone, and most importantly, your loved one.
First of all, it is essential to actually involve them when you start to explore care options. Not only is this an effective way to assess their exact needs and determine the correct type of care, but it also ensures that they feel included and respected.
It lets them know you always had their best interests in mind every step of the way. With a decision this challenging, it is important no one feels taken advantage of or excluded. While your loved one may not always welcome more help or a change in lifestyle, this is one of the many strategies for getting the best possible outcome in this difficult process.
Along with this crucial first step, I’d like to share some additional information to help with this significant decision.
What to do?
One of the hardest decisions is whether they will stay at home or if you will explore a long-term care community.
We all want our loved ones to remain in an environment that is the most comfortable and familiar. However, the primary concern must be their safety and that they receive the appropriate care for their individual necessities. This requires an honest assessment of the situation as well as your bandwidth and budget.
When deciding what type of care is best for you and your loved one, first you must assess their personal and medical needs by asking whether they require help with things such as:
- Going out for exercise
- Medication management
Make a list of everything you feel they need. This can be done by:
- Speaking with them
- Observing them
- Talking with friends, family, and acquaintances
- Speaking with their doctor and other medical professionals
Make sure you are complete and detailed. Use this list as you examine the different services covered by each level of care.
Is in-home care right for you?
In-home care is for those who can remain at home, or at someone else’s home, with professional assistance. In my previous article, I briefly touched on the true cost of in-home care. I mentioned two standard categories of in-home care:
Non-Medical Home Care:
- Meal preparation
- Personal hygiene, dressing, cleaning, and laundry
- Creating a generally safe home environment
- Essential errands
- Daily activities and exercise
Medical Home Care:
- Medication management (insulin, daily medication, medication administration, etc.)
- Rehabilitation and therapies such as Physical, Occupational, and Speech
- Routine analysis, diagnostics, and testing
- Management of complex medical care and equipment (dialysis, ostomies, catheter, etc.)
If you are looking to keep your loved one in a familiar environment and their needs are not excessive, in-home care could be a good option.
When is it time to make a decision?
In-home care is only ideal as long as it is sustainable and works for all those involved. While this is often the first and more preferable option, it is not always the best. The cost and energy required can be quite taxing.
Often this results in putting unhealthy pressure on everyone involved. It is also very common for seniors to require more care than is manageable in a home setting.
At some point, long-term care may become the only viable option. There are many reasons why you would consider looking into long-term care communities. Some can include:
- If medication management is becoming an issue
- If they are experiencing excessive falls or other physical behavior that could be dangerous to themselves or others
- If their ability to perform daily activities is diminishing
- If they have a medical condition or multiple conditions that require consistent and regular monitoring
When your loved one requires a watchful eye or they no longer have the ability to properly care for themselves, even some of the time, a community may be the best way to give them the safety and level of care they deserve.
So what are your long-term care choices?
There are three main options for senior care outside of your home: Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing.
Independent Living communities are often a fantastic option when beginning to look at long-term care. They can be a wonderful option for seniors simply looking for a more supportive environment, a new community of friends, regular focused activity, and the safety of knowing someone is close by to address their needs. If your loved one simply requires a little extra help sometimes and wants a bit more stability, Independent Living can be an excellent option and the first step in long-term care.
Assisted Living communities are just that – senior living communities with medical and care assistance. They are designed to offer a higher level of independence than a hospital or Skilled Nursing community but still maintain a more robust level of care and security with full-time support.
Assisted Living also offers additional staff members that are more involved in encouraging community members with activities and exercise. It is a more holistic approach with a greater focus on care than Independent Living, while offering some more professional services like medication management and therapeutic services.
This provides an extra level of safety and stability in your loved one’s everyday life. Knowing they are being looked after allows you the comfort and assurance to focus more on what’s important – your relationship with them and continuing to build memories with your entire family.
We love providing that comfort here at Waunakee Manor. Our commitment to preserving a balance of personal freedom and independence while assuring your loved one’s health and well-being is something we take very seriously. If you are looking for this balance and that comfort, Assisted Living may be the best choice for you.
Skilled Nursing communities often cater to those who demand greater focus and a higher level of care. They usually provide more specialized services and on-site professionals than an Independent or Assisted Living community. The length of stay in a Skilled Nursing community is also relative to each person’s individual care needs. These stays can range from short-term to long-term, depending on a multitude of factors and the type of services required.
Skilled Nursing provides the same amenities as Assisted Living with additional services including therapy, rehabilitation, consultation, and a highly qualified full-time nursing staff. This is ideal if your loved one demands more dedicated attention, has acute medical needs, or requires more advanced care that an Assisted Living community may not be capable of addressing appropriately.
At Waunakee Manor, we offer living options for both short-term rehabilitation or long-term habitation. We focus heavily on maintaining independence while providing consistent care that fulfills the diverse medical and personal needs of our community members. Highly specialized services, such as our Ventilator Unit, ensure your loved one is getting the correct type of care for their unique situation.
Options for You?
It is also possible to have a mixture of Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living for your loved one. Sometimes advanced medical care or unforeseen incidents will warrant a stay away from an Assisted Living community in Skilled Nursing.
Waunakee Manor is a community that offers both and can be a great option to maintain consistency of care without significant disruption.
Currently, Waunakee Manor offers a variety of services. Some of the Skilled Nursing services that truly set us apart include:
- Transport from hospital for admission
- Wound care
- Pain management
- Wound vacuum management
- IV therapies
- Tube feedings
Whatever your choice is, make sure you do your research. Look for the option that fulfills as many of your loved one’s needs as possible. Again, please involve them as much as you can. It is crucial that they don’t feel surprised, misled, or belittled in this delicate process. Most importantly, including everyone will help your loved one get the right care for their specific needs.
This is a challenging step in life, and we are always here to make that step a little easier. Reach out to us if you want some additional advice on which option is the best for you.