It is a common belief that as we age we will eventually require nursing home care. This causes a lot of anxiety for both the older adult as well as their family members because nursing home placement is costly and generally not desirable.
Some of the most common situations that lead families to believe residential care is needed are:
- Diagnosis of a chronic medical condition
- Loss of a spouse or other support network
- Difficulty maintaining home
- Loss of ability to drive
- Physical layout of the home is no longer safe
Thankfully, there are a wide variety of services designed to address the challenges that seniors face, and there are resources that can help our loved ones stay in their homes as they age and their needs change.
Adult Day Services
Services vary but in general adult day centers provide meals, medication management, nursing services, transportation, in addition to the opportunity for social interaction and activity. The cost of the programs also vary, fees can be between $40 to $80 per day, but programs through the Area Agencies on Aging or through Medicaid can help with the cost. Individual centers may also have their own grants or scholarships if there is a financial need.
For a list of programs by county, click here: Adult Day Care Programs by County
Home Health Services
These services are available to those who have a need for what is considered a “skilled” level of service, but who are otherwise independent enough to remain at home, or for those who wish to avoid placement in a skilled nursing facility.
Medicare and private insurance companies can cover the cost if eligibility requirements are met. Physicians often order these services to help a patient transition from the hospital or a rehab center back to their home environment.
Skilled home health care services include nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Services are most often short term.
Since Medicare and most insurance plans only cover the skilled services and only offer them on a short terms basis, there are other programs available. These are considered supportive services, or private duty services.
Supportive services vary depending on the situation. This may include assistance with personal care such as dressing and bathing. Services may be providing meal preparation and assistance with shopping. Someone may need an escort to and from doctor’s appointments, and need someone to take down important instructions about medications or make note of changes and concerns when family members are not able to attend. It could be simply providing companionship and basic oversight to someone when their family is not able to be there.
For example, maybe your mother is perfectly safe at home, but you are concerned about her going up and down the stairs to do laundry each week, or to take out the trash. Maybe you worry that your father is over-exerting himself by mowing the lawn and cleaning the gutters.
Homemaker or chore services are often provided just a few hours a day once a week, and they can help with everything from laundry and housekeeping to changing light bulbs and taking out the trash.
For a list of these providers by area, click here: Home Care Missouri Provider
Personal Emergency Response System
In some situations there is no day-to-day need for assistance, but a lot of family members worry when an older loved one is living alone.
Even when we visit our family members daily, and have the time to call them several times to check in and make sure everything is okay, this may not give us the peace of mind we need when we see an older loved one slowing down or becoming more frail. A personal emergency response system can be the ideal solution to this problem
In addition to alerting the appropriate medical personnel, they can also alert family members in the event of an emergency.
The thought of having to help a loved one with all of the shopping, appointments, errands, and other business may be overwhelming. Families may also be concerned that their loved one will be too isolated if they are unable to drive. Many medical centers and physicians offices provide patient transportation.
Senior Centers often provide free group transportation for grocery shopping, banking, and recreational outings. There are also transportation programs through the Area Agencies on Aging or programs like the St. Louis County Older Resident program. And many municipalities provide free transportation to residents within city limits.
When these free services are not available or do not meet a person’s needs, there are low cost programs such as OATS and Call A Ride. Home care companies are able to provide escort services for those who need more than of drop-off services.
If a senior is homebound many Centers offer meal delivery services in addition to the congregate meal setting.
Many offer health services such as blood pressure checks and exercise programs. They are a great source of education and will host seminars on Medicare changes, health care issues, and community programs available.
They are also a great place for older adults to go for socialization and activity which is important, as our support network often dwindles as we age and it becomes harder to meet new people and make new friends.
Money Management Programs
It is not uncommon for an older adult to have difficulty in paying bills or keeping their bank accounts in order. When it is not possible or ideal for family members to help, there are programs designed to take care of this.
When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, or if they are showing significant decline and the physician does not feel they are a candidate for aggressive treatment, then Hospice care may be an option.
Hospice can set up equipment and medication to make a person more safe and comfortable at home. They can provide in-home nursing care, chaplain services, and social services to keep someone in the environment of their choice as their illness progresses. They also provide ongoing bereavement and grief support to the family. It is a wonderful benefit and it is available to those who wish to remain at home.
The compassionate staff at St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions serves and supports older adults and their families by providing respite care, care management, and nursing services. For more information please contact Toni Vaughn at 314-726-5766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.