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4 Steps to Help You Choose the Best Senior Care Option for Loved Ones

Senior Care

4 Steps to Help You Choose the Best Senior Care Option for Loved Ones

As parents and seniors age, caretaker roles can reverse for many families. Many adults may find themselves faced with the task of finding optimal senior care for their loved ones. It’s a challenging role, one that can offer many different choices. Here are some basic steps that can help family caregivers make an informed decision. 

Know What Current Home Prices and Trends Look Like 

If you’re thinking of buying a new home to care for your senior loved one, you need to be aware of current local housing trends. In Kansas City, for example, the average selling price in December 2019 for homes has been right at $175K over the last month, and homes tend to stay on the market for less than two weeks. With this information, you can better determine how to make an offer on an accessible home and whether alternative housing options, such as rentals, are more affordable. Renting a home may make better sense if you plan to stay in that home for two years or less, or if you do not want to deal with home maintenance issues on your own. If you plan on sticking around for a while, however, buying a home may be a better move for your long-term finances. 

Include Home Modifications in Your Overall Budget 

For caregivers, finding accessible houses can be extremely challenging. Because seniors often have different needs for care and safety, you may have to look longer to find the right home, or you may have to pay a higher price for that home. You need to keep this in mind when deciding whether buying a new home makes financial sense, and keep the costs of accessibility changes in mind, too. Some of the most common aging-in-place changes that make providing care easier include widening doors, installing slip-proof flooring, and adding grab bars (the average cost nationally to install grab bars is $140). You may even decide to stay in your current home and make these changes there, especially if you can find grants or benefits that can cover most of the costs of those accessibility modifications. 

Consider the Potential Stress of Providing Senior Care 

It’s smart to think about senior care in terms of finances, especially if you need to pay for a new home or modifications to your existing one. Some of the most taxing costs of providing care for a senior loved one, however, can impact your physical and mental health. Family caregivers can be more prone to chronic disease and physical strain on their bodies, but they are also at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and ultimately symptoms of caregiver burnout. Caregivers may stop taking care of themselves, provide less care to loved ones if they are beginning to burn out, and can wind up doing serious damage to their overall well-being. By investing in proper self-care, you can reduce these risks for yourself, but it’s vital to at least know them. 

Decide When Assisted Living or Long-Term Care is Needed 

The potential for caregiver burnout is very real, which is why it’s important for families to recognize the need for other forms of care. Often, assisted living is the first step in getting senior loved ones help with daily routines, such as getting dressed, preparing food and managing medication schedules. Try to think about how often your loved one needs help to determine if assisted living is a better option than you providing care in your home, but also think about whether you have the ability to provide that care in the first place. While assisted living can help seniors maintain a sense of independence, sometimes seniors need nursing home care instead. If this is the case for your loved one, it’s normal to feel guilt, but knowing how to handle your guilt can help you process the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home. 

Seniors deserve care with compassion and dignity. Sometimes that is best provided by family caregivers, while other times long-term care is a better solution. Deciding which is best can take some time, so use the information above and really think it over before you make a choice. 

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