Know Thy Options

When we are younger, we are in complete admiration of our parents and their sacrifices for us. While we benefit from their hard labor and will to give us opportunities they may not have had; sometimes this comes at the expense of their future care. When this happens, this places us in a situation where we inherit the role of a caregiver. Caring for loved ones can feel quite overwhelming, especially if tackling the task alone and you are unsure of the resources at your disposal. This phase of life is life-alternating, and it can take you on a whirlwind of emotions. The first step in providing adequate care is determining the level of care needed for your loved one. What are their current capabilities? Are they independent? Do they require minimal assistance? Are they total care? Can they ambulate on their own, or do they need help? Most of us are reluctant to place our loved ones in a facility, and a lot of the time, our loved ones have expressed to us the importance of being in their home. As our loved ones age, they may lack the knowledge and or understanding of their capabilities of sustaining their independence.

As you accept the responsibilities, know that it is okay to delegate tasks. Caregivers are at high risk of burnout and severe health conditions themselves. So, if you find yourself in a position where caregiving has found its way to you, please know it is essential to pace yourself and accept help from a trustworthy source. It is crucial to consider all options; having a reliable source to look after your loved one allows you to stay healthy and live optimally. Without your health, you are no good to anyone. So, in short, we have to take care of ourselves before we can extend the olive branch of caring for others.

In the United States, the aging population has grown immensely. Life expectancy has doubled during the 20th century; because of this, there is a significant increase in Americans age 65 and older. According to research, approximately 35 million Americans are age 65 and older, and this number is expected to increase. Thanks to advancements in technology and medical advances, this has contributed to a longer life expectancy. However, as life expectancy grows, the risk of diseases and other commodities increases. According to the national institute of aging, more than half of all Americans 65 or older show signs of osteoarthritis in at least one joint. One in every two women and one in every four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. In addition to that, Alzheimer's Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, and Respiratory conditions remain critical issues for the aging population. There are many health conditions many seniors are affected with, which dramatically affects the overall quality of life.

So, what happens when one is inundated with taking over the care of their loved one but has no idea where to start? The internet can be overwhelming with so many options. How do you know if your loved one would benefit from Nursing home services, or are they independent enough to go into an assisted living facility? What if they would like care in their homes, is non-medical in-home care services or adult daycare centers appropriate for their needs? How do you effectively respond to the needs of your loved one appropriately? With all the different choices, it is easy to become frustrated and be in a state of confusion. The good news is, it does not have to be this way. Today, we will do a simple overview of the different available services. We will discuss the pros/cons of each and the price. Please keep in mind that cost may vary depending on the state in which you reside. The prices mentioned here are an approximation based on information gathered. I recommend that you delve deeper and find out the exact cost in the area in which you reside. I hope to equip you with the essential knowledge to make an informed decision based on your current needs confidently.

With that being said, let's dive into it.


Assisted Living Facilities:

ALF? What is an ALF? ALF stands for Assisted Living Facility. This option is excellent for those who require minimal assistance but wants that community feeling. This type of facility aims to help adults live independently in a safe environment. Services/activities offered in this setting include:

  • 24-hour supervision

  • Three meals a day in a group setting

  • Personal care services (help with bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.)

  • Medication management/assistance with self-administration of medication

  • Recreational/spiritual activities

  • Exercise and wellness programs

  • Laundry/linen service

  • Housekeeping & maintenance

  • Arrangements for transportation

Paying for an ALF can be daunting, especially if it was not adequately planned. It is important to note that all facilities differ in many ways. Meaning that cost varies depending on the type of ambiance you seek, accommodations, personal needs, etc. The average price of an ALF in Florida is 3,100 monthly, which averages 37,200 a year. Medicare DOES not cover the cost of ALF; however, certain healthcare services may be available under particular, limited circumstances. SSI may cover some costs, and specific communities may participate in grant programs, the Medicaid program, or offer internal assistance programs. Additional Resources include VA benefits or Long-term care insurances. In most cases, the cost associated with ALFs is covered by the resident's finances or their families.


Skilled Nursing


Skilled Nursing care would be most appropriate following hospitalization or decline in health that requires 24/7 nursing assistance. This service covers physical, speech, occupational, and in most cases, respiratory therapy services. Skilled nursing facilities offer a more intensive approach to help someone regain their mobility or recover after a significant health event while providing a community setting to be with others who share a similar phase of life. Skilled nursing services are paid for through most insurance providers and Medicare and Medicaid sources or private pay. For Medicare and Medicaid to cover the cost of services, one must require:

  • 24/7 nursing care

  • Needs assistance with walking and standing

  • Needs physical rehabilitation services

  • Most complex medical needs

  • Most facilities and Medicaid accept insurance Medicare

The median cost in Florida is 7,300 for a semi-private room, and for a private room, it is $8060. Semi-Private Room runs about $87,600 and a private room $96,720.


Adult Daycare

ADCs are interesting in that they are three options you can select, depending on your needs:

  1. Social Interactions

  2. Medical Care

  3. Alzheimer's Care

Typically, ADC is used to relieve caregivers of their duties during the day while ensuring that the client is in a safe environment. Most centers generally operate during regular business hours & some may offer additional evening services at an additional cost. ADC's are an excellent resource for caregivers, and many never consider this option. It could be because of a lack of knowledge or fear. Admittedly, It can be intimidating to leave your loved one in a facility that you aren't familiar with or fear of your loved one developing resentment. To ease this anxiety or fear, I recommend visiting and touring the facility before deciding. It is best to get a feel for the environment, and it would be most beneficial if you bring your loved one along for the tour. This way, you can ensure that this is a good fit for them and that the staff's personality matches your loved ones' needs. The average cost is about $64 per day; each facility varies depending on the region.

Last but not least, My favorite, of course!

In Homecare Services

Homemaker & Companion services are suitable for individuals who need minimal assistance, allowing them to reside in their homes while receiving the care and services they need. So, with this service, the individual has to be somewhat independent because the providers can not assist with hands-on or personal care; however, they can verbally prompt your loved one to bathe, get dressed & offer medications reminders. Homemakers and Companions can perform tasks such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and escorting your loved one to medical appointments and other outings. In addition, they are permitted to assist with combing or brushing the hair, applying make-up, and polishing nails. Depending on the region, these services can range from $11-30/hr.


I hope this brief overview has given you some insight into the differences in available services. If you have more questions or seek a better understanding, please reach out at info@ellemariecares.com. I will be more than happy to help guide you in making the best decision to suit your needs. Also, if you are in Central Florida and your loved one needs homemaker & companion services, please feel free to contact us. We offer free consultation, and if we cannot assist you, we will work with you to pair you with an agency that can better serve you.


Resources:


What are my home care options? | Honor (joinhonor.com)


Assisted Living Homes vs. Home Care: How to Decide? | Updated for 2022 (aging.com)


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