At some point in your caregiving journey, you may need a professional partner — such as a nursing home, assisted living, home health, hospice or adult day care. When considering care providers, you need to weigh the options and ask the right questions to ensure that both you and your loved one feel good about whatever arrangements you make.
This is the most flexible of all the options: A professional caregiver will come into your home and provide whatever services you need, whether it's help with everyday household chores or round-the-clock care for your loved one. A home health-care agency will supply caregivers with the appropriate skills and training to perform needed tasks.
Assisted Living Facilities
These facilities are staffed to provide help to people who need assistance during the day, but are still able to live somewhat independently. The level of assistance provided is generally intermittent and task-specific. For example, your loved one may need help with bathing, meal preparation or taking medications. In most cases, an assisted living facility will not accept a person who is unable to move about on his or her own.
There are generally two types of care available in a nursing home — short-term, rehabilitative care and long-term care for chronic conditions. In addition to rehabilitative capabilities, nursing homes are staffed to provide for daily medical needs and can accommodate patients who spend most or all of their time in a bed or a wheelchair. Nursing homes can accommodate patients with a wide variety of conditions, including mild to severe dementia.
Hospice is end-of-life care provided by nurses, social workers, home-health aides, spiritual leaders and others. The goal is to keep a terminally ill person as content, comfortable and pain free as possible. Depending on the program, hospice care can be provided at home or in a facility. Services typically extend to support for the entire family, not just the patient.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care programs provide care and socialization for people who need assistance and/or monitoring during the day. The goal is to offer respite to family caregivers, allowing them to go to work, run errands or simply get a break from caregiving chores. Depending on the program, adult day care centers provide social activities, meals and certain health-related services.
Also of interest: 9 Secrets of Caregiving.