Top 3 Options for Caring for Aging Loved Ones

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The world’s population is aging, and the United States is a large part of the trend. In fact, by 2030, roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population will be older adults. With overall age trending upward, it’s important to consider all implications.

Health is the obvious first consideration. In the U.S. alone, where access to health care is at least somewhat wide spread, two out of every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions. Moreover, the treatment of this population accounts for 66% of the nation’s health care budget. Still, despite these facts, 81% of retirees cited good health as the most important factor in shaping a good retirement.

So how do we care for this aging group of Americans? According to Market Watch> (Here?s how much elder care costs in your state), there are a number of options to consider for aging loved ones and varying costs associated with each.

  1. Nursing Homes

  2. Most well known of all care options, perhaps, are nursing homes. These facilities house and provide round the clock care for seniors. The type of care is customized to each resident and may range from administering drugs and feeding assistance to providing entertainment and mobility aids for seniors.

    Because they provide the most comprehensive care of all options, nursing home are also the most expensive. States with the highest nursing home costs include Alaska ($24,820) Connecticut, ($13,383) Massachusetts ($12,015) and Hawaii ($11,776).

  3. In-Home Aides

  4. Second to nursing homes in terms of cost is having an in-home aide. This individual, most often a registered nurse, may visit a couple times a week or be with the elderly individual full-time. These care takers also provide a number of different services and typically attend to all medical-related needs. For example, an in-home aide would likely assist the senior with any incontinence issues using a single use syringe or pleurx drainage kit, and administer insulin for diabetic care.

    These are just examples of the medical issues for which an in-home aide may be of service to an aging individual. Accordingly, the average hourly cost of such a worker can range anywhere from $9 – $30 per hour, according to the Genworth 2011 Cost of Care Survey.

  5. Assisted Living Facilities

  6. Another popular option for elder care are assisted living facilities. Unlike nursing homes, these facilities do not provide round-the-clock care for residents. Rather, they operate under the assumption that residents are able to perform basic daily living tasks independently. This can be a great option for older adults who simply require help dressing or eating, but who do not require more intensive medical care.

    assisted living facilities would also provide many of the pieces of equipment that an aging loved one would require, such as walkers and canes, feeding bags for patients and single use syringes.

Caring for an aging loved one can be difficult physically, emotionally and financially. We want the best care for the elders in our lives, which is why taking time to asses each care option is so important.

Nursing homes, though costly, can provide a very high level of care 24/7, while in-home aids and/or assisted living facilities may provide only part-time care depending on the situation. Still, each of these provides at least some level of care needed for aging adults. Even in assisted living facilities, aging individuals will receive the necessary equipment, such as walkers and single use syringes, to act independently and fulfill their necessary medical needs. Once the individual progresses medically, a nursing home may be a better option.

Bottom line, weigh all options carefully to find the best option for your aging loved one. Good luck!

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