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Value of Care

Research the amount of care your loved one will receive with regard to the expense involved. You should reach a balance between your loved one’s current cost of living and the cost involved in his or her enhanced level of care received. Put these costs in perspective. Consider the types of services or items that may be included with the cost of an assisted living. Services such as laundry, housekeeping, and provided meals may end up providing a cost savings.

Indicators for Assisted Care

With the availability of community based services, seniors and their families will often strive to stay in their own home as long as possible. Staying in a familiar environment, finances, and retaining independence are some reasons that seniors and their families choose to remain in their home. But what about when staying at home is no longer safe? How do you know when mom or dad need more monitoring? There are indicators that additional assisted care may be required to keep your loved one safe.

Is there a lack of adequate food in cupboards or refrigerator? Have there been any falls? Are medications being taken as scheduled? Is there a lack of social interaction outside the home? Are there incidents of bed or clothing being soiled? Have mom or dad wandered and gotten lost outside the home? Is the family having difficulty meeting the needs of the aging parent? It may be time to consider assisted care options

When Home Care Is Not Enough

Non-medical home care may provide monitoring, medication reminders, light housekeeping, cooking, and hands on personal care. Putting these services in place can be a life saver by allowing relief for family caregivers. However, these services may average from $15-25 an hour and are not typically covered by medical insurance.

What if family members are not available to fill in the gaps of time not covered by the home care provider? What if dad has some dementia, and is at risk of leaving home and getting lost?

Depending upon the level of need and the hours of monitoring/care needed, it may become cost prohibitive to maintain care at home. There comes a point in which an assisted living home or community may be a better value in terms of amount of care and cost.

A Variety of Assisted Living Options

You have decided that care outside the home setting may be in order. What is next? Depending upon where you live, there may be anywhere from a handful to a plethora of options! Assisted living options come in many sizes, styles, and offer a variety of care choices.

Available options may include small homes, large resort-like communities, assisted neighborhoods with groupings of small homes, and apartments attached to skilled nursing centers. The options available, and the policies that regulate them, differ from state to state. Additionally, each residence may offer a different level of care.

For example, some assisted living communities may offer only minimal hands on care while others may allow for a resident who is bed bound and at the end of life. Some assisted living homes offer security to protect those with wandering dementia, while others may not. Know what is important to you and your loved one. Do your homework. Ask a medical provider for suggestions.

The Value of Assisted Living

Assisted Living is never an inexpensive choice, but it may be a valuable choice. Family members oftentimes do not have the physical ability, emotional stamina, or time to spend the day with a loved one. As the needed hours for outside help increase, it may be worth a peek at the overall cost.

When families begin the process of investigating assisted living options, they are sometimes surprised by the fees involved. What do these fees cover?

Let's look at the math. Assisted living homes and communities usually include 2-3 meals a day, medication management, monitoring and security during the day and at night, certified caregiving and administrative staff, and housekeeping, just for starters.

What types of things won’t a parent need to pay for any more if they move out of their own home? Groceries, transportation, utilities, home repair, and in-home care are possible examples. Don’t be a victim of sticker shock. It may be that the value received by an assisted living option outweighs the cost of staying in the home.