After surviving a stroke and a two-week hospital stay, Mom needs nursing care while she embarks on a lengthy rehabilitation program. Mom is recovering, but she will never feel safe living alone again in the old home place. Her children and most other grown children, when faced with this sort of crisis, have no idea how to find quality care for an elderly loved one.
Given that 80 to 85 percent of elders who need care are in crisis, it is fortunate that options for care for the elderly have grown considerably over the past decade. In addition, our ability to uncover and understand what these options entail continues to evolve. Today, we have access to a huge amount of information as well as an increasing number of resources to help guide us as we navigate a course to finding the best possible care.
Needs and Wants
According to Mary Ellen Pierce, RN and principal of Care Management Associates of Vancouver, Washington, determining care for the elderly comes down to baseline legwork, “Identify what an individual needs and wants in terms of a living environment.”
If families choose care for the elderly just for location, amenities or pretty gardens, they may find the services do not fit. Instead, Pierce suggests, “Take time for an assessment, which can be used as a template for what your loved one needs in terms of services. Then, add the life enhancing amenities he or she finds important.”
Tips for Tapping into Senior Care Resources
Once the care program is defined and a plan of action developed, it is time to tap into resources such as:
- The Internet
- Local senior publications
- City and state programs
- Non-profit organizations
Families can make serious inroads on their quest for quality care for elderly loved ones, too, by contacting local hospitals and clinics, which often provide brochures with referrals for assisted living, nursing care or memory care.
Another place to look for caregiving is through government entities such as the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Aging & Disability Services. Others turn to faith-based organizations or health-related, non-profit associations such as the American Cancer Society or American Heart Association to look for guidance when it comes to care for the elderly.
Of course, most of these and a plethora of unimagined resources can be accessed by way of the Internet. Web-savvy family members can research care for the elderly by referencing all sorts of keywords such as:
- Aging services networks
- Community resident referrals
- Senior homes
- Home and community services
- Adult day services
For professional advice, look in community senior publications or on the Internet to locate senior care consultants. Senior living experts such as Pierce can often shortcut the process of finding care for elderly loved ones. When the selection narrows, evaluate each facility’s fee agreement alternatives as well as ask if it has been accredited by CARF-CCAC.
Do the Legwork
Just as when evaluating any senior housing, it is important to visit the facility that will care for an elderly loved one. Check out the atmosphere, food, staff attitude as well as services and health orientation.
Most importantly, talk with nursing care residents and their families about the quality of care and kindness. Does it offer the kind of services needed and ask, “How will your community enhance my loved one’s lifestyle?”
Written by senior care writer Leslee Jaquette.