Assistance With Senior Living Options

Family Caregiver

While caring (caregiving) for a loved one, friend or other family member is gratifying and incredibly noble, it can also be very hard to do on a consistent basis.

There are so many things to consider, understand and balance. As a Caregiver, education is key.  Understanding chronic medical conditions your loved one is experiencing (Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, back pain, Parkinson’s) also means knowing each disease’s symptoms and treatment plans. Many of these diseases are common among the elderly, and caring for seniors is different and difficult, since their bodies are frail and must be cared for differently. One of the greatest risks facing seniors is falling. Therefore, prevention is key inside or outside the home.

Caring for someone else also requires that you care for yourself. You see, being a Caregiver means becoming aware of and learning how to manage your own emotions. In addition to controlling your mental state (frustration, anger, guilt, sadness and grief), you must also balance your own family/work/life needs along with theirs.

Many times, we have no choice whether to become a Caregiver.  Circumstances and finances force our hand. However, even in these situations, ensuring that you get some respite from caregiving, at regular intervals, is key to everyone’s well-being. Caregiver burnout is a very real threat to your own well-being and life span.

There are inexpensive ways to avoid Caregiver burnout. Respite care, for example, may involve dropping them off at an adult day care facility a few times a week or month, getting someone else in the family to take over temporarily, hiring an in-home care agency a few hours a day or week, or moving them to an assisted living community for a few days, weeks, or maybe even a month.

You must accept that you also have needs and must not fall sick yourself. Sometimes when we are too involved, we tend to overlook simple solutions, and may even lose perspective.

A break will do you good.  Whether you need time to handle an important work situation or simply need time to yourself or with your family, you come back with renewed energy and strength.

Caregiver Support

Consider joining a local caregiver support group. It’s not only good for you as caregiver, but also a way for you to contribute to others who are on a similar journey as yours. It’s a very supporting and impactful activity to engage in. Here are 2 excellent ones:

  1. Alzheimer’s Association Male Caregiver Support Group, facilitated by Mike Caldwell at WakeMed Cary
  2. People Supporting People, facilitated by Geriatric Care Manager Sharon Kilpatrick at Spring Arbor of Apex

Is it Time to consider other Living Options?

There are times when a break from caregiving just is not enough.  Sometimes, there comes a time when the best option may be to move your loved one to an assisted living community that is appropriate for their unique needs, especially when a high level of care, or lack of socialization are involved.

Before we look at senior living options, let’s quickly discuss how you or your loved one can pay for their stay at a community and for additional care. Some will be able to pay using their own resources, also called private pay. A high percentage of seniors qualify for veterans (VA) benefits, including the spouse of a veteran. Various veteran benefits are available; the best way to evaluate their eligibility is to consult with a VA benefits expert (who may or may not be someone at the VA itself). Medicaid is another possible option to pay for stay and care at a community. However, options are limited in North Carolina. The approval process could possibly take a couple of months during which you may need to pay for care yourself, even if benefits are retroactive. Again, an expert who has dealt with multiple Medicaid cases would be good place to start rather than going it alone. One of our Care Managers will be happy to provide referrals to local professionals whom we trust.

Long term care insurance is a great way to pay for community living, but this needs to be planned for years in advance. In fact, this may be a great time for you, as a Caregiver, to evaluate and plan for your own options around this form of insurance. Lastly, you may want to consider some relatively new and creative options including the use of life insurance benefits, and reverse mortgages. You can certainly research and navigate all of these options yourself. Or you can work with Always Best Care Senior Services. Always Best Care’s Care Managers know about the nuances of each local community and have access to multiple resources and experts.

Senior Living Options

Independent Living

  • For those who wish to remain independent, yet reduce/eliminate home maintenance activities and chores
    • Deeded homes
    • Apartments
    • Independent living communities

Assisted Living

  • For those who are mostly independent, but need help with activities of daily living
  • Shared or private room in a community, residential care home, or nursing home
  • All typically provide help with meals, bathing, dressing, housekeeping
  • Cost depends on type of room and level of care
  • Optional services like hair salon, therapy, massage & one-on-one care
  • Plenty of social activities

Family/Residential Care Homes

  • Similar to assisted living, except you live in a private home with 4-6 residents (typically in a sub division)but converted for shared use
  • Enough social activities

Nursing Care

  • Similar to assisted living, except you live in a nursing home
  • Significant levels of care available around the clock
  • Clinical setting, as opposed to being home-like
  • Limited social activities

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care

  • For those suffering from Alzheimer’s, or other types of dementia or memory loss
  • Similar to assisted living, but shared or private room in “secured” community or residential care home
  • Higher level of care with meals, bathing, dressing, mentally stimulating activities
  • Cost depends on type of room and potentially level of care
  • Additional services may be available like hair salon and various types of therapy

Continuing Care Retirement

  • For those who wish to remain in the same community as needs change with age
  • Housing transitions from independent to assisted to skilled nursing, as required
  • All housing is typically in same community, so seniors remain in familiar surroundings
  • Generally requires long term contract or “buy-in” to community

Respite Care

  • Primarily meant to provide short term respite (or during vacation) for caregivers
  • Shared or private room in assisted living or memory care communities
  • Access to same facilities & services available to long term residents
  • Stay could be for a couple of days, a week, a month or more
  • Cost depends on type of room and level of care

Which option is Best for Me and my Loved One?

Given so many options, and over 100 communities to choose from in the extended Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Johnston county triangle area, how do you locate the best community for your loved one? The “best” community is really the one that meets your loved one’s unique needs. You can always research using the internet, yellow pages and/or word of mouth.  All that requires time, patience and navigating a lot of unfamiliar information that may sometimes be conflicting and definitely overwhelming. Or you could use a paid finder service, where you or your loved one bears the cost of paying the finder fees.

An excellent option is to use Always Best Care’s FREE personalized finder services. ABC Care Coordinators meet with you in person, understand your and their needs in detail, then utilizing information gathered from regular site visits and community engagement, personally tour appropriate options with you, so you can decide which one best meets your loved one and your needs. The key difference with us is the personal touch and detailed background about communities, as opposed to only phone conversations and/or lists.

Call us @ (919) 724-4297 for help/information now!