Keep It Together: How To Care For Elderly Parents

How to care for an elder parents at home can be a cause for concern. Most older adults, needless to say, would choose their own homes. But for any number of reasons, from physical or mental health issues to dwindling finances, staying at home doesn’t always seem possible.

If someone close to you appears to be headed for a nursing home, some alternatives can stall this. First begin by making adjustments to living arrangements, strategic family planning, and designating family caregivers, long term care in the home may be possible.

Adult children that care for their aging parents at home, or in their parent’s home, have options. Many primary caregivers find that through planning and medical directives, in-home care is highly doable.

There are numerous ways to accomplish elder care at home:

Share care

An older adult’s need for in-home care begins to mushroom, even the combination of paid and family caregiving may quickly become too expensive. Some find care to be too time consuming and exhausting. Many people discover they’re able to share care-giving (and its costs) by pooling their resources.

Use adult day care

One way to make in-home care work is to supplement it with adult day care. Your loved one can spend a few hours to a full day at an adult day care center. This gives the primary in-home caregiver time tend to other matters or get a break from care-giving.

The benefits of adult day care aren’t just for the caregivers. Adult day care centers typically offer meals, activities, exercise, and transportation. These centers provide the person in your care a change from the isolation of home, socialization with others, and activities they might not otherwise participate in. Many adult day care centers accept people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Adult day care centers charge less per hour than in-home caregivers, sometimes $25 to $75 for a full day, depending on location and services provided. Also, many centers offer sliding-scale fees.

Neither Medicare nor other health insurance pays for adult day care, but many state Medicaid programs do. Also, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates its own adult day care centers for veterans who qualify.

There are more than 3,500 adult day care centers currently operating in the United States; probably at least some are centers close to you.

Hire free or low-cost companion care

Skilled in-home care can cost $20 to $30 an hour or even more. If the number of hours needed for care begins to mount, consider what type of help is necessary. If your loved one can get by with partial assisted living care, companion care may be the right option for you.

Companion care could be part or full time and assist with regular routines. Care can offer companionship, help with household chores or have someone present for safety and security.

Veteran Care

If your family member is a veteran, or a spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran, they may be able to qualify for VA benefits. These benefits will enable them to remain at home instead of entering an assisted living community.

The VA provides several long-term in-home and community care programs, known as “extended care.” These programs offer non-medical assistance to help certain veterans maintain their independence. Extended care is available to a veteran with a service-connected disability or to any veteran who has very low income and needs long-term care.

Extended care can include:

  • In-home health aides and homemaker services
  • Adult daycare, which provides health maintenance and rehabilitative services to veterans in a group setting during daytime hours, either at a VA or community facility
  • Community senior living centers, offer care for veterans with chronic stable conditions (including dementia) and veterans needing rehabilitation or short-term special services
  • Being able to remain at home sometimes depends on the physical configuration of a person’s living space. The VA offers several types of cash grants to help veterans modify their homes to make their homes safer and more accessible.
  • Eligibility for cash benefits for veterans and their spouses vary depending on the nature of military service, the existence of a service-connected disability, and income.

To get free information or assistance regarding any VA benefits, contact one of the VA’s Vet Centers, which are located in every state. You can also get assistance by contacting the VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration Office nearest you. The VA’s toll-free telephone helpline at 800-827-1000 is also available for any questions.

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