Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Care Alternatives

Your or a loved one may be needing more assistance, but is it really time to move out of your home? There are alternatives to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Here are some questions that are asked quite frequently. The answers may help you decide what you should do for your unique situation.

Q. I have heard about alternative care, but I’m confused as to what this means.
A. There is good reason for your confusion. There are many different types of programs available. From adult day care facilities to in-home senior care the options are quite varied.

Q. What is the difference between adult day care and in-home senior care?
A. Adult day care facilities provide programmed activities throughout the day at a location away from your home. You have to arrange transportation to and from the facility. Seniors who are still mobile, needing only some assistance with a cane, walker or wheelchair often find this a great way to remain actively engaged in life. In most cases, seniors also need to be continent.

In-home senior care brings a caregiver into the home. This is a good option for seniors who don’t feel comfortable leaving home, or who live where transportation isn’t easy to arrange. In-home care service offers the advantage of customizing the service to meet your exact needs. In both cases, the people working with you will have at minimum CPR and Basic First Aid training.

Q. Are in-home care providers medically trained?
A. In most cases, they are not. Some in-home care services do offer the option of a caregiver with CNA certification, but most do not. In-home caregivers provide companionship and personal care services. You can feel perfectly comfortable asking an in-home caregiver to provide assistance with light housekeeping, reminding seniors to take their medications, grooming and even bathing, and running errands. They do not handle medications or assist with medical treatments.

Q. Does it cost more to hire an in-home care giver than to move into assisted living?
A. Hiring an in-home caregiver can cost as much as one third of what it costs to live in an assisted living facility. The savings is even more significant if you own your home.

Q. Are there ways to make home a safer place so injuries are less likely to occur?
A. Yes, there are many things that you can do so that your home is as safe as an assisted living facility would be. Here are just a few:

  • Bathing in a tub is one of the wonderful luxuries of life. More life-threatening bathroom accidents occur while seniors are getting into and out of their bathtubs. Replace the bathtub with a walk in tub, and you just eliminated a major safety issue in your home. Because showers are cheaper to build and generally recognized as safer, if you move into assisted living, you aren’t guaranteed this luxury. When you install a walk in bathtub, you can enjoy bathing safely once again, and also take advantage of the health benefits of hydrotherapy which a shower just doesn’t provide.
  • Install grab bars around your tub and toilet. If you have a shower, install handrails there as well.
  • Raise the toilet, or install a raised toilet seat to make getting up from the toilet easier.
  • Replace slippery flooring materials, such as smooth tile, or apply a slip resistant coating to the floor.
  • Install railings on both sides of any stairs in the home. This will allow you to always have a railing under your stronger hand.
  • Make sure that wood stairs have slip-proof strips at the front edge. Using a contrasting color can help by creating a line along the stair edge. The ability to see subtle shading differences diminishes with age.
  • Make sure that carpet on stairs is firmly attached.
  • Watch for any wear that could cause tripping.
  • Make sure that you don’t have extension cords running under carpets or furniture. Hidden wear is a major cause of fires.
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