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Elder Care Q&A

Elder Care

Elder care is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements unique to seniors.  It’s a broad term, encompassing services that are specifically aimed at meeting the needs of seniors. The following is a Q &A of common topics regarding elder care

Question:  Do I really need to worry about long-term senior care?  I’m healthy and active.

Answer: It actually makes a lot of sense to consider elder care right now, when you don’t need it. This way you can consider the services offered by each tier of care, and establish what your true wishes are in the case you eventually do need it. Take a look at your financial picture and make determinations about where you want to be at each stage of aging and what kind of environment you are searching for.  Consider the cost involved with long-term care and how you are positioned to handle the increased expenses in living. It also makes sense to check the cost of long-term care insurance as a backstop to your savings.

Question:  What are the different tiers of care and what differentiates them?

Answer:  Home Care is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical treatment needs or by professional caregivers who provide daily assistance to ensure the activities of daily living are met

Assisted Living is a housing facility for people with disabilities. These facilities provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living, coordination of services by outside health care providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being.

Adult day care is a non-residential facility providing care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day.

Long term care includes a variety of services which help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of people with a chronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods. This care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living facilities or in nursing homes.

Nursing homes provides a type of residential care. It is a place for people who require continual nursing care and have significant difficulty coping with the required activities of daily living. Nursing aides and skilled nurses are usually available 24 hours a day.

Hospice care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for people with chronic and serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a serious illness while attending to their emotional and spiritual needs.

Question:  Is elder care extremely expensive?

Answer:  It can be.  There are a number of variables involved in the cost of elder care. The most critical variable is what level of care is needed to properly meet the medical, social and personal needs of the resident. The more involved medical personnel are in daily care, the more expensive the care will be, regardless of if it’s in-home care or residential care.

Question: How do I choose the right senior care home?

Answer: Here is a brief list of things to consider as you search for a senior care home:

  1. Understand and determine your exact daily needs. Make sure that the facility can meet the requirements you seek, including levels of social interaction and independence.
  2. Know your options. Get at least three options to compare, ensure that they are a match for your location, budget and care needs. Another option is to speak with an advisor at a placement agency specializing in senior living. These services are usually free and save you time and headache. Whatever you do, make sure to tour multiple facilities to understand the range of services offered in different formats.
  3. Ask questions! Ensure you ask every potential residential community the same questions and get your answers. For a list of questions to ask on you visit, read this article by US News &World Report.
  4. Be thorough when touring. Notice all the great things and any worrisome details. Do you feel welcome?  Does it smell good?  Are there listings of social activities and celebrations?  Are residents milling about and seem happy?  Does the staff seem happy? Are there multiple floor plans and unit sizes to choose from?
  5. Talk to the residents. Talk to the owner.  Talk to the caregivers. How social is the environment?  Do the residents’ energy levels reflect what you would hope?  Are the owners and caregivers friendly and welcoming?  Do they rush or take time to answer your questions?  How do they interact with the residents?
  6. Gather all the facts. If you want a thorough report, a great place to start checking on the care facility is with State Licensing. Each care home and community is licensed by the State and they keep on file all of the write-ups or citations each facility has received since it opened.

Make sure your loved ones understand what you want in elder care.  Have the discussion with your family, so there are no surprises.  And use Plan My Affairs to ensure your wishes are documented in your Plan My Affairs Organizer.


Download Your Personal Planning Checklist. This checklist will outline some of the many elements you should consider in your Plan My Affairs Plan.