Alternatives to Nursing Homes – Not long ago, nursing homes were the only option for seniors who needed daily assistance. However, they’re not for everyone. Not everyone appreciates the degree of control the nursing staff has over residents’ medical decisions and daily activities, and there may be a loss of privacy, especially in larger facilities. Here are some alternatives to the traditional nursing home.
In day-to-day speech, people sometimes use the terms “nursing home” and “assisted living” interchangeably, but there’s a difference. Nursing homes are dorm-style buildings where the residents’ cooking, laundry and housekeeping are taken care of and round-the-clock care is available. They’re for seniors who need a lot of help with day-to-day tasks. Housing in assisted living centers is often in suites with kitchenettes and doesn’t necessarily include laundry or cleaning. The typical assisted living resident might need some help with dressing or bathing but can eat without help and doesn’t have any serious conditions. Because their residents are more mobile, assisted living centers tend to have more amenities and activities.
Adult foster care
Adult foster care is an even less medically intensive option than assisted living. Although there is no nationally accepted definition of the term, it typically refers to a small number of adults living together in a family home. There will be staff on hand at all times, but unlike in assisted living facilities, there will not always be a staff member awake. Since definitions can vary, check closely the services provided.
Medicaid provides a number of programs aimed at reducing the number of seniors who are placed in care homes. Two of these are the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). In both these programs, the recipient remains at home or lives with a relative. The family provides some caretaking services, but with support from a variety of state programs. HCBS grants access to more nonmedical help such as adult day care or chore assistance, whereas PACE is more focused on medical needs, although both programs provide nursing, medication help and some medical assistance. Check out the details of these programs carefully.
Eden Alternative/Green House Project
Finally, if you have decided that only a nursing home can provide for your needs, be aware that not all nursing homes were created with the same philosophy in mind. There are several nonprofits dedicated to designing the ideal nursing home, and you can seek out homes that are affiliated with them. Eden Alternative is centered on making residents more responsible for their medical decisions and day-to-day lives. The Green House Project bills its homes as “radically non-institutional.” If you don’t seek out a home affiliated with a certain movement, you should still ask any homes you are considering about their philosophy of care before you make a decision.
If the thought of senior care frightens you because you don’t want to spend your days in a stuffy, institutional nursing home, there are other options out there. Alternatives to traditional nursing home care have multiplied over the past decade. You can find an option that’s right for you.
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