As people age, they are looking to stay longer and longer in their homes so finding care and technology that facilitates that is essential.
Riverside Care Advisors have been working with families for years, as “fierce advocates for our seniors and compassionate caregiver coaching and education in order to help with expectation settings with these families,” said owner Jennifer Pilz.
Over the past few years, she has noticed a shift with many families' care needs. Many families opt for live-in facilities, especially those with dementia who need the constant support of these facilities. However, more and more people are rethinking assisted living and seeking in-home options.
Care Advisors and Managers help coordinate these different organizations that assist people as they age. One advisor or manager that knows your wishes and can coordinate organizations is beneficial in the event of an accident or problem since they know your desires and aging plan.
Placement and referral services are good ways to have plans in place for the future or to learn about diverse options for loved ones. Gabe Par from The Care Home Finder says,
“I like to say I’m a connector. I started doing this when my grandma got ill and we were looking for resources and assisted living. At that time I thought, ‘there has got to be a better way’; we couldn’t find any one person to connect us. We talked to a number of different specialists and we felt we weren’t getting real answers. So we [The Care Home Finder] strive to be real, true, and authentic. People will have a lot of questions and we are going to be able to answer them.”
Some specialists help with placements in homes but others can manage at-home care as well.
1. TeleHealth — Uses digital communication via computers or mobile devices to provide health care services remotely. Doctors can discuss ongoing care, meet with patients virtually, and provide assistance to answer questions. Usually, telehealth providers come directly from a patient’s doctor or healthcare provider to assure they meet regulations.
2. Online Therapy — Online therapy from Better Help or a local therapist have started to become popular. Many private psychiatrists and therapists are covered by health care providers and can be a welcome voice to bounce ideas off of and assure mental well-being.
3. Transportation Services — Help people get to and from appoints and other social engagements. Many local aging departments offer transportation services in your area. You can find a local service at Eldercare ACL. Plus rideshare options include Uber, Lyft, and Go Go Grandparent, which caters to the 50+ demographic with rideshares. Some healthcare providers even offer transportation services that are covered or partially covered by insurance through providers like Veyo.
4. Medical Care Assistance — Medical care assistance includes nurses, doctors, or physical therapists that make home visits. These can help to assure recovery or ongoing care in the comfort of the patient’s home.
f. Daily Living Assistance — Daily living assistance are caregivers who come and help with daily living tasks. This assistance may include personal care to help with bathing or eating, but can also include support with household tasks such as cleaning or cooking.
6. Companionship — Paid or voluntary companions do not help with personal or medical care. Instead they provide intellectual stimulation through conversations, walks, and in some cases may help with technology. A good source of virtual companionship are GetSetUp Social Hours, where older adults join peers to discuss topics of interest like movies, books, or just hang out for a happy hour.
7. Age-Friendly Hardware — Hardware tailored to an aging demographic can be helpful. For example, Grandpads are simple and secure tablets with easy to use buttons and Facetime features to connect with family. Another device is Hey Herbie a simple box to plug into one’s TV to chat with friends and family on a larger screen.
8. TechEd — Online programs to help educate older adults with modern technology, new skills, and create community. GetSetUp offers live interactive online classes by seniors for seniors to help them learn how to navigate technology, apps, and other useful skills of their interests.
9. Home Improvements — There are tips and tricks to home improvements that help make your home easier to navigate as you age that you can look into at your local Home Depot or Lowes or through companies like EveKare, who specialize in grab bars for wet areas and night lighting to help prevent falls.
10. Care Managers or Advisors — Care managers and advisors can help individuals navigate all these resources, and find the matches that best meet their needs. Generally, though, these organizations are not covered by insurance. The services are helpful — providing needs from bringing groceries to cashing checks — but costs may come out of pocket. Ultimately, however, they can be a great resource close to home to communicate with a family who may be farther away.
The most important aspect of aging in place is that it takes planning. Whether you are planning for yourself or a loved one there are a variety of options out there. Pilz has been working passionately in this industry for years and created a do-it-yourself care course for caregivers.
Creating a holistic care plan for your aging loved one “is an outline for people that can’t afford to have the ongoing information and this helps make it more affordable, so people have more cost-effective assistance,” said Pilz. The course covers things like how to manage your parents when they resist care, how to communicate with your siblings, and the most common questions & concerns when family members call. She says, “It’s more than just structure, it’s tips to help people through the process of caring for a loved one as they age.”
Finding the right organization to work with you for placement and home care is a good thing to look into before you need it.
As Cilla Buck from the Care Patrol in northeast Ohio said,
“Maybe staying in your home is ok for right now but I always say you need to have plan B in place, so that when plan A doesn’t work anymore you are already prepared for plan B, or if you have a stroke or heart attack and you are incapacitated then you already have had that pre-planning work done. Better to have it and not need it, then not have it.”
Aging well takes some planning, so researching and finding the people you are confident to work with is essential. It’s never too early to know the options available for you and your loved ones. In the long run, it can provide you with peace of mind and support if a difficult situation arises.
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