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3 Biggest Challenges to Senior Care

Transitioning your loved one from their own home and independence can be a very challenging time. During this time, many factors can weigh on a family as they work to decide the best path. Here are the three biggest challenges to any family facing this decision.

Level of Care

The first biggest challenge is determining the level of care required for your loved one. The main difference between a nursing home and assisted living facility is the type of setting. Nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a clinical setting, and often can accommodate a higher level of medical care. Assisted living facilities provide care in a more social, independent setting, and may not be as equipped to handle complex medical situations. Both can assist with personal care and medication management, but assisted living facilities tend to have extensive recreational activities and more resident freedoms while nursing homes are equipped with higher levels of skilled nursing for a traditionally less-active resident population. If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, an even greater level of care is needed to keep your loved one safe. Talk to your family and facility managers to see which level is right for your transitioning senior.

Cost

Based on 2021 data, the average cost of a nursing home in Florida is $8,669 per month for a semi-private room, and $9,817 for a private room. Assisted living facilities, however, tend to come in at around a third to half the cost of a nursing home, since the medical needs of assisted living residents are reduced. If your family or loved one does not have the means to cover the costs, there are some other resources you can seek out. Try long-term care insurance, or see if your loved one’s life insurance has a life settlement program. Many veterans also qualify for assistance through veteran aid programs. You can not, however, use Medicare to pay for traditional long-term care or assisted living.

Caregiver Stress

Many people choose to reduce costs of senior care by caring for their family members at home. Herein lies the third greatest challenge to senior care – caregiver stress. In nursing home and assisted living facilities, your loved one’s caregivers get regular breaks to go home to their own family, take a day off, or even have an extended vacation – all while your loved one maintains round-the-clock care. This does not hold true for those exploring the at-home care option. While keeping your family close and caring for your senior at home can be very rewarding and fulfilling, it can take a toll on the caregiver, both mentally and physically. Give yourself a break, split duties among family members, or hire respite care when you start to recognize stress. Some assisted living or nursing home communities may offer short-term options if you need to be apart for an extended period of time, like on a vacation. Keeping feelings and emotions positive provides for a better outcome for everyone.

Take time to truly assess what is important to your family, as well as honestly evaluate your family’s ability to provide full support along the way. You want your loved one to be as safe and happy as possible, while ensuring the family has peace of mind that their decision is sustainable and comfortable.

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