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Unsure About Your Long-Term Care Needs? This Checklist Can Help.

November 4, 2015

Planning for long-term care involves a wide range of variables.  A senior may be completely independent and self-sufficient for years, and then suddenly require assistance at home in one or more areas.  So how can you determine what might be the best options for care?  Many in-home care agencies understand the difficulties surrounding planning for your or your loved one's care needs when the time comes to add in help at home.  But while that decision is usually never an easy one, the following pointers can help you make the most informed decision when it comes to finding or starting long-term care at home:

Minor care at home may be needed if the senior:

  • Requires some assistance and reminders with bathing and dressing, toilet use, grooming, or taking medications

  • Could benefit from socialization and outside activities rather than being confined to the house because of mobility or other issues

More intense care at home may be needed if the senior:

  • Would probably require assistance in an emergency

  • Falls frequently or needs stand-by assistance for walking or transferring

  • Requires reminders and assistance with bathing and dressing, toilet use, grooming, taking medications, eating and/or communicating

  • Needs encouragement and reminders to participate in activities

  • Is sometimes disoriented or is impacted by mild memory impairment

Full-time care at home may be needed if the senior:

  • Would require major assistance in an emergency

  • Always needs assistance with transferring

  • Requires heavy assistance with bathing and dressing, toilet use, grooming, taking medications, eating and/or communicating

  • Can only participate in social activities with an escort

  • Struggles with mild confusion, impaired memory, and poor orientation

If the senior’s needs are more severe than those listed here, then a move to an assisted living facility or nursing home may actually be in his or her best interest, rather than trying to keep the individual at home.  But family members will need to understand that making a decision to move the senior into a facility and sell the senior's home is an unalterable decision, once it's been done. 

 

Regardless, care should always be taken to perform a complete assessment of medical conditions and prognosis, formal and informal support systems available for assistance, financial ability for care, mental status and family customs prior to making any formal decision for long-term care that involves selling a senior's home or moving them out of the home.  Agencies such as AAging Better can assist with this difficult decision by providing a free in-home assessment conducted by a trained RN.  Family members can then make a decision based on the sure knowledge they have looked at all aspects of the loved one's situation and care needs.

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