The population of elderly citizens is due to double by 2040 according to experts at the Urban Institute. With more and more of us becoming responsible for senior relatives we must know the options available to them regarding care. In the USA there are several different ways your relative can be supported in care.
CDS stands for Consumer Directed Services and is a Medicaid-funded program that is available to some elderly citizens. The scheme gives the elderly consumer (the recipient of care) the ability to select a care-giver and the support that they need. The thinking behind the program is that the elderly person is the one who can best identify the care that they need.
One of the many benefits of the program is it allows the consumer to appoint a relative or friend as their primary caregiver. The caregiver will then be treated like any other caregiver and paid as such. This means the elderly citizen can be supported by a loved one they trust and are familiar with. The pay also means the caregiver can give quality time to their friend or relative and do not need to work it around other career commitments.
If your relative cannot access the CDS program or does not have a friend or relative that can give them the care they need, then an agency worker may be an option. Agency staff will usually see several elderly citizens in one day and should be trained to administer support.
Agencies do tend to have a higher turnover rate than familial caregivers and therefore your elderly relative might see several different carers within a week. Agency care is an option that still allows the elderly citizen to live independently.
Live-in care can sometimes be provided as an option delivered by agencies. Live-in care would be suitable for an elderly relative who needs help with almost all of their daily lives. This would include support to change clothes, bathe and prepare meals and go to the bathroom. Live-in support offers 24/7 assistance but it can be intrusive and expensive.
It is worth speaking to your relative’s health insurance providers Usually there will be two or three caregivers who rotate in the role to facilitate their days off.
Sheltered living (also called assisted living) is a sort of middle ground between being in a nursing home and living completely independently. Sheltered houses allow a degree of autonomy by providing a house within a community of similar elderly citizens.
Care is on hand for all the residents as it is needed, however, there is still the opportunity for an elderly person to make independent choices such as cooking their meals and visiting friends or relatives when they want.
The final option for many families is a nursing home. Nursing homes provide around-the-clock care and will assist your elderly relative with most activities. A nursing home will provide social activities and meals and your relative will be supported at most points of the day. Nursing homes are a good option if your relative’s condition is deteriorating quickly and the support they need is complex.