One of the greatest fears people have when caring for an elderly loved one is that the cost will eat up life savings.

Here’s a “How To” guide to the best care at the lowest cost.

 

ElderlyCoupleOnCouch-postimgLet’s start by identifying the highest cost option: a nursing home. Nursing homes certainly have a place in the continuum of care for elderly, but at $10,000 per month it’s not your first option, and it’s certainly not a desired quality of life choice. We view nursing homes as a last resort.

The best way to avoid the high cost of a nursing home is to avoid incidents that take your choice away. This is by far the most cost-effective approach to ensuring the best quality of life for the least possible cost.

 

The formula is really pretty simple:
1. Identify Risks
2. Create a Plan
3. Take Action

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Identify High-Risk Activities

Every elderly person faces more risk as they age. Once you identify the high-risk activities you can deal with them effectively, and with minimal cost. Often it’s only a couple of things each day or week that require a couple of hours of care. But if you wait too long, it’s often too late.

What are high risk activities? High risk activities are things that can lead to an injury (e.g. a fall) or illness that will require hospitalization, which frequently leads to a rehabilitation facility or nursing home. The high risk activities vary for each person, but here are some things to look for:

 

Mobility – Mobility issues can be caused by an injury, arthritis or an illness and they typically lead to a more significant injury (typically a fall that leads to a broken hip/leg/arm). Here are things to look for:

  • Trouble getting into and out of bed
  • Trouble going to the bathroom or taking a shower/bath
  • Using a chair/stool to reach things
  • Difficulty in cleaning the house
  • Doing things around the yard, like snow removal, yard work, getting the mail
  • Using stairs

 

Loneliness – Loneliness leads to depression, which causes people to not want to take care of themselves and lose interest in hobbies or activities. When they don’t take care of themselves it eventually leads to declining health or injury. Here are examples of things to look for:

  • Not eating properly (or eating old food)
  • Poor hygiene (not showering, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Not doing laundry (clothes, linens, towels)
  • Not caring about getting injured doing something they’re not supposed to
  • Not taking prescriptions (medications/lotions, etc.)
  • Not socializing

 

Vision – Vision issues can lead to injury and also depression. Not being able to read or watch their favorite shows leads to a decline in enjoyment and they can sink into depression, or they could trip and fall over things more easily. Here are things to look for:

  • Bruises from banging into things
  • More frequent falls
  • Mail starts piling up and bills don’t get paid
  • Not being able to read food labels as easily
  • Not watching shows they used to enjoy

 

Cognitive Issues – Cognitive issues can be caused by a stroke or be an early sign of dementia. They can bring about a decline in the ability to do simple tasks of daily living, such as the following:

  • Knowing when to eat
  • Knowing when to bathe
  • Paying bills
  • Generally not knowing how or when to perform certain simple tasks that used to be routine
  • Becoming more easily confused or distracted

 

Transportation – Being able to get out into the world – whether for socialization or for errands/appointments – goes a long way toward ensuring their physical and mental well-being. Transportation helps with things like:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Hairdresser appointments
  • Senior center/activities
  • Visiting friends

Often your loved one will deny or hide issues because they’re afraid to lose their independence and be placed in a care facility. You can explain that the purpose of helping them is to ensure that they maintain their independence, and when you have a conversation about getting support without it being a threatening or scary discussion they’re more likely to open up and accept help.

It’s up to you to recognize the need and take action. The sooner you can get help, the longer your loved one will live a safer, fuller life in their home.

2. Create a Plan To Minimize High-Risk Activities

The best way to ensure an effective plan is to get a professional help. As a nonprofit organization, Moore Options for Seniors is an integral part of the network of support for elderly in the local communities we serve. We offer a free in-home risk assessment that looks at the individual, the environment and the activities involved in their daily life and assesses the risk that each poses.

Our free in-home risk assessment will provide you with a plan that helps you understand the required areas of support and the associated cost. We can also recommend and refer you to other resources in your community who may provide components of the needed support on a volunteer basis to ensure all the needs are met in a cost effective manner.

Often the plan calls for minimal support, yet results in a much safer and happier environment for your loved one.

3. Take Action To Create a Safer Living Arrangement

Our first recommendation is always to identify family members who can help with the activities required to reduce risk. We’ll suggest a plan or activities and frequency for you to follow.

If your plan calls for outside resources we suggest you look for a local, reputable organization that employs professional, trained caregivers with background checks and oversight. Finding the right resource is the key to ensuring on-going success and a longer, happier life at home for your loved one.

If you’re interested in getting help from Moore Options for Seniors you can call us at any time and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free in-home risk assessment and consult with you about creating an effective plan. You can reach us at 603-206-2725 or you can request more information here.

 

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