As your loved ones age, you will need to make decisions about the best type of elderly care for them. Choosing the right option will ensure their safety, comfort, and well-being wellbeing.

Seniors have a variety of options for care. Understanding the differences can help you and your family make the right decision.

Skilled care

A skilled nursing facility is the best place to go if your senior needs medical care. This is one of the senior care options that includes specialized services doctors prescribe, such as wound care, medication administration, and physical, occupational, or speech therapy.

Skilled nursing homes (SNFs) offer short-term and long-term care, depending on your loved one’s needs. They include skilled nursing and the support of licensed professionals like RNs, LPNs and physical, occupational and speech therapists. These services are evaluated every week to ensure measurable and sustainable improvement. They may also be covered by Medicare or other insurance.

Custodial Care

Many New York residents who need care for an elderly family member may assume that Medicare will cover it. However, they should know that the government health insurance program does not cover all forms of care. Custodial care assists with daily living activities like bathing, eating and grooming. Caregivers perform it without medical or nursing training.

If an older adult requires help with these tasks from a home health aide, it is considered custodial care, and Medicare will not pay for it. Caregivers can be available round-the-clock (live-in care) or at specific times during and on certain days.

Respite Care

Caring for an aging loved one can be exhausting, especially if you’re the primary caregiver. Getting respite care can give you the time and energy to focus on your well-being while giving your loved one the attention they deserve.

Respite care options range from enlisting friends and family to help out for a few hours or overnight to hiring paid home-care providers to perform in-home services on a scheduled basis. It can also include short-term stays in residential care homes or nursing facilities, which can be a great way for seniors to get acquainted with these environments before making the permanent move.

In-Home Care

Home care is a great option for seniors who need non-medical help, such as companionship, meal preparation and housekeeping. This type of care can be as infrequent as a few hours per week or as frequent as 24/7.

It may be provided by private caregivers, a home health agency or family members acting as caregivers. Licensed medical professionals like nurses or physical therapists may also be involved in this type of home care.

It is considered custodial care and is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. It might be short-term, such as after a hospital stay, or long-term, such as ongoing home care for a chronic illness.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living provides intermediate levels of care in residential facilities. Its monthly fees typically include maintenance, housekeeping, security, three meals daily, programming and 24/7 staffing. It also typically has one to two hours of daily personal care services.

The services include assistance with dressing and bathing, such as helping the resident fasten buttons. This can consist of managing incontinence and medication management.

Visit the facility at various times and observe how staff interacts during mealtimes and activities.

Ask to speak with current residents for their perspectives. Most communities accept Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance.

Senior Communities

Senior communities offer social opportunities, easy-to-manage living accommodations and amenities geared toward older adults. Some include recreational and social activities, while others have on-site dining options and health care services.

Continuing-care retirement communities (CCRCs) feature a continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living and nursing homes on one campus. This allows individuals to move through the different levels of care as their needs change.

A senior living community is a good option for individuals who can live independently but need regular household chores or personal care assistance. Those who need more significant medical care should consider a nursing home or other facility that provides skilled medical care.


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