Understanding The Aging Assistance Options Available

Aging in Place Apr 26, 2021
Photo by AP x 90 on Unsplash

Navigating the aging assistance options can seem a bit daunting at first like a game of chess, and even though people are living longer and healthier lives, there may still come a point where they need extra care. Future planning can help aging adults and their loved ones choose the best type of care to support them through this shift. Future planning helps to assure assistance is available and makes sure financial costs don’t come as a shock.

When it comes to options for older adult care there are a lot of options with their own fancy buzz words floating around and this can be hard to navigate.

Defining the Types of Care

Care Facilities

These are facilities that are set up specifically for older adults. Different facilities provide different levels of care.

Independent Living (IL or ILF)

  • These communities are built for seniors to have an active and independent living option in a community of their peers.
  • Many offer clubhouses, activities, and other community-style events for residents to participate in.
  • Typically these are apartment-style, condominiums of free-standing homes for an age-restricted community of residents.
  • Sometimes these independent living sites have optional private services that can be contracted as needed to help with home or health care.

Assisted Living (AL or ALF)

  • Assisted Living combines apartment-style housing, planned social interaction, and private support services based on each resident’s needs.
  • Healthcare services are often provided by third-party services of the resident’s choice who come and go periodically.
  • Assisted living is specifically designed for individuals who require assistance with daily living tasks like meals, medication management, assistance with bathing, dressing, and/or transportation.
  • Some residents may have degenerative memory issues like Alzheimer’s, or they may need help with mobility, or experience other challenges.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

  • These institutions meet accreditation criteria (established by the sections of the Social Security Act) that determine the basis for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for skilled nursing care.
  • These facilities may facilitate reimbursement for rehabilitation or other medical and nursing procedures.
  • These facilities offer 24 hour medical care for those who may need it either for recovery or on a more long term basis.

Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

  • These are like the university campuses of aging care. They gather a lot of different levels of care on one property. Here you have skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, and independent living combinations all on one site.
  • The nurses and therapists for the skilled nursing facilities are often also available to provide care as necessary to residents living in assisted living or independent living, though they are primarily there to provide care for residents of the skilled nursing facility that need more constant attention.
  • External health and home care services often still provide care to residents of the assisted living and independent living areas.

Aging in Place

Not everyone needs or wants to move to a care facility. Many people would rather age in place, where they stay at home and feel comfortable. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t if it is feasible?

According to the CDC, “Aging in place is the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

As the boomers age into older adults, most of them are seeking ways to age in place and stay at home. In order to help assist in aging in place, a number of home and health care services are available.

Home Care

Health Care services tend to focus on medical services provided to older adults by doctors or nurses. Meanwhile, Home Care generally indicates an umbrella service that offers a variety of customizable medical services and caregiving services that facilitate daily living tasks. These have been broken down into different categories that are often add ons or bundled together in packaged services.

At-Home Physician Care

  • For older adults who require a higher level of medical care, in-home doctor’s visits are available. This may include regular house calls by a licensed physician to diagnose or assist after an injury or for illnesses. This generally includes specialized care.

Nursing Care

  • Registered nurses and nursing assistants are the most common form of home health care. Nurses follow physicians’ indications to ensure patient care is maintained from the comfort of the patient’s own home. Nurses are qualified to handle various types of health support such as wound dressing, ostomy care, IV therapy, medication administration, pain management, and more.

Occupational and Physical Therapy

  • Due to aging, injury, or illness, some patients require additional help in order to relearn certain motor skills, improve impaired speech, and other specialized therapies. Physical therapists then visit patients at home to perform physical, occupational, or speech therapy.

Social Services

  • Some older adults have their welfare handled by social services caseworkers. Caseworkers sometimes help with counseling or help older adults receive certain benefits and resources.

Companionship Services

  • Some adults don’t need specialized medical care but still need in-home services. Companionship services offer a friendly face to those who may be home alone for long periods of time. In addition to providing company, companions may also help with basic cooking or perform light housekeeping duties.

At-Home Dietary Support

  • Dietary restrictions may need to be observed to ensure proper nutrition and avoid health complications. Many dieticians make home visits to review diets and provide nutritional guidance.

Transportation Care

  • As people age, a significant issue can be transportation. Getting to and from doctors’ appointments may be difficult. At-home transportation services pick clients up from home, drive them safely to their appointments, and bring them back.

Home Health Aides/Caregivers

  • When daily tasks become too much to manage alone, home health aids come daily to assist with getting out of bed, bathing, eating, and walking. Usually, this care is also monitored by a nurse as these aids aren’t usually certified to provide medical care.

Beyond Basic Care

The basics of daily living are not the only essentials to living healthily as you age. Staying connected to a community, keeping up-to-date with technology, and economic opportunities are all factors that many older adults consider essential to aging well.

That is why GetSetUp partners with many of these home care service providers and care facilities to ensure that these needs are addressed. GetSetUp helps older adults by providing classes on a variety of topics from health and wellbeing to technology that are taught by their peers. Older adults from any walk of life can attend live interactive sessions with peers to learn how to use basic technology from iPads to Zoom classes. Plus there are many classes that go beyond the basics for continued technological learning and growth on a variety of topics from meditation to staying positive and exercise to doodling.

GetSetUp is helping to build a live virtual and interactive community for older adults. Community and purpose mean that people do not feel socially isolated and this can help prevent the negative side effects of loneliness such as dementia. This engaging community of learners is not only a great way to meet new friends but it helps older adults to learn and stay engaged in a community of their peers, which often lifts their spirits and improves their overall well-being!

One learner Carol said,   “I can't tell you how much I love getsetup.io . . . I sometimes take 4 classes a day. . . I am enjoying the social aspect of some of the classes, which is also very important for mood and staving off dementia. I find keeping my mind and body active has enhanced my quality of life and ability to focus on mental tasks.”

It’s never too soon to start to think about caring for yourself or a loved one.

Why not start by joining a community that fosters learning and personal growth?

Try A GetSetUp Class Today!


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