4 Steps to Making the Best Senior Care Decisions for Seniors and Their Caregivers

Senior Care

Helping a senior loved one choose the best home and care can be challenging. You need to take home features into consideration, but you also need to think about care requirements. To make the process easier and give yourself some peace of mind, here are some steps you can take to relieve some of the pressure of selecting the right senior care environment for your loved one’s needs: 

1.  Check Out Senior Accessible Home Listings in Your Area

Should your loved one continue to live in their current home? Should you bring them into your home or buy a new home where you will have room for them? These are a couple of questions you may be asking yourself. Before you decide to buy a new home, you need to know whether there are homes available in your area that will meet your needs and fit your budget. You can use an online search tool to pull up real estate information for your area so you will know what to expect in terms of availability and pricing. This information can help inform your decision to buy a new home or stay in your current one. While these online search engines help you get a feel of what’s available in your price range, they really don’t allow you to do a detailed search to specifically find accessible homes with single floors, limited steps, wide doorways, and other senior-friendly features. But the right REALTOR® can help you identify homes with these features. As you interview potential agents, be sure to research each candidate’s background and experience, determine whether they hold the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation, and ask whether they have experience finding accessible homes.

2. Weigh Your Financial Costs for Each Senior Care Option

Family caregivers tend to assume that senior homecare is their least expensive option. If your loved one needs minimal care, this may be true, but you still have to factor in other expenses like modifying your home. Aging-in-place modifications that make homes safer for seniors’ average right at $9,000 but can cost more or less depending on the scope of work involved. That may still be cheaper than paying for other care options, but only if your loved one will not require in-home health assistance, too. That additional help could cost you or your loved one $4,000 or more each month, which can be a major financial burden for many families. So, be sure to weight these in-home care expenses with the cost of assisted living and other care.

3. Think About Your Capacity to Provide Complete Senior Care

Another important element to consider when deciding on a senior care option is how capable you are of actually providing the care your family member needs. Caring for seniors can have different requirements and responsibilities for each family. Seniors may move in with family members to avoid living alone, or they may need help with daily living activities. Family members need to take these needs into consideration and decide whether providing care will feel more like a burden. If the latter is true, you may be putting yourself at risk for caregiver burnout, and you may begin to resent your loved one. Neither is good for your emotional health or that of your family member, so you have to stay as objective as possible when weighing the benefits and potential costs of senior care versus alternatives. With a few sacrifices, assisted home care could be more cost-effective and less stressful than making the major modifications you would need to move your family member into your own home, for example.

4. Decide Whether You Should Opt for an Assisted Living Community

Thinking about assisted living for your senior parent may inspire feelings of guilt. If this is the best care option for all, however, you really shouldn’t feel guilty at all. In fact, many seniors find an improved quality of life when they move into assisted living. The community structure can provide a greater sense of safety, as well as important social connections with other seniors.

Additionally, if your senior loved one is still craving independence but needs help with things like dressing or cooking, then an assisted living community may be the best option for providing care and a comfortable home. So, if you have a busy schedule or cannot provide enough help to your loved one, he/she may enjoy making the move to an assisted living community.

Each type of senior care can provide varying benefits to seniors and their caregivers, and each option can come with varying costs as well. Before you assist your loved one with this major decision, make sure you weigh these benefits and costs. Also, make sure you keep your own health and wellness in mind.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Harry Cline has years of experience being a caregiver to people of all ages. From raising his three children to caring for his elderly uncle, he understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

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