Senior Care Options in Boston
If you or your senior loved one needs to adjust their living arrangements, you have many senior care options in Boston to choose from. However, it can be difficult to know which option is best. This article will help define the different Boston senior care options available and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll be on your way to choosing the best option for yourself or your mom or dad based on care needs, lifestyle preferences, and cost.
Adult Daycare programs are daytime group programs located in communities across America. Programs offer social opportunities, stimulating activities, and some level of medical supervision in a safe, supervised group setting. Many programs are subsidized for low-income Seniors. Daycare participants can be dropped off and picked up by friends or family, and many programs offer transportation for an additional cost. Many programs now offer specialized services for seniors with memory impairments.
Advantages of Adult Day Care
Cost – Adult Daycare programs tend to be relatively inexpensive, especially when subsidized.
Social Stimulation – Adult Daycare programs are group programs and offer constant opportunities for social stimulation.
Supervision – Most programs are supervised by a staff of trained senior caregivers, which may include nurses, nurse assistants, social workers, and other trained staff.
Disadvantages of Adult Daycare
“Daycare” – It’s tough to get around the fact that this is daycare, and many seniors feel infantilized by the concept. The labels and stigmas attached to the program can cause a loss of personal agency.
Gaps in Care – Most programs take place during the work day for six to eight hours, after which the senior will need to return home. Many Seniors will require care at home before and after daycare.
Little Individual Attention – As group programs, Daycare settings can struggle to deal with individual needs.
Group Dynamics – The world is made of introverts and extroverts, and some Seniors may not enjoy hours of social interaction or the specific group dynamic in a program.
Senior Home Care
In-Home Care Service from a Senior Home Care Agency is the most flexible senior care option available. Caregivers attend to the Senior’s care in their own home on a schedule that can increase or decrease based on care needs. The best agencies provide specially trained or licensed professional caregivers supervised by nurses or social workers who serve as case managers. Case managers write detailed care plans that address care needs and adapt over time. Caregivers assist with personal care, transportation, homemaking, and many other services to allow the senior to remain healthy and happy at home, including care for activities of daily living.
Sometimes called custodial care or private duty care, non-medical Senior Home Care provides the most personalized senior care option. A personal caregiver with transportation can take a client to a social one day, to a favorite store the next, and to a tai chi class the day after, depending on the seniors liking. Or the pair can spend the day baking or looking through scrapbooks at home. Perhaps most importantly, seniors get to remain in their own home with their dignity and independence, as few seniors have any desire to move into a senior care facility.
Advantages of Senior Home Care
Cost – Senior Home Care can be much less expensive than even the most modest senior living facility. While seniors should beware of budget agencies that have to skimp on background checks or supervision, most seniors can receive excellent care for their money from reputable agencies.
Flexibility – Care is available from a few hours a week to 24/7. The best agencies like Best Life offer specialized Memory Care programs and programs for seniors with specific conditions.
Independence – It is difficult to overstate the importance of remaining at home for a senior’s sense of identity and value. Moving into a nursing facility may be necessary at some point, but the transition can be traumatic for many and should not be undertaken lightly.
Disadvantages of Senior Home Care
Non-Medical – In-Home Senior Care typically offers few if any medical services. However, Senior Home Care agencies work well in conjunction with in-home nursing or medical services. Often clients will maximize their use of less costly home care services and request only the needed amount of nursing services to protect their savings
There are many varieties of Retirement Communities out there, from no-frills apartment complexes to modern developments that resemble resorts. Communities serving seniors are best for those with want to downsize and move into an environment where they can mingle with other seniors.
Advantages of Retirement Communities
Practicality – Many seniors don’t need the hassle of taking care of the house they raised their family in, and find a condo or apartment to be an ideal place to spend their golden years.
Independence – Retirement Communities aren’t nursing homes, and residents are free to live fun, active, and independent lives.
Disadvantages of Retirement Communities
Lack of Services – Many communities offer monthly social activities, but little in the way of care or safety supervision. As care needs increase, many residents bring in Senior Home Care agencies to help with personal care tasks.
Temporary – The move from a long-term home into a Retirement Community can be difficult and expensive. Unfortunately, that move is often followed by a second difficult move into a Nursing Facility.
Cost – Retirement Communities vary widely in cost from basic to luxury but almost always represent a new monthly rent expense subtracting from savings. Given the likely need for in-home care services, the cost of living in a facility can be much greater than remaining at home.
In-Home Nursing services, often called home health care services, are ideal for seniors who have ongoing medical needs but who want to avoid a rehab facility or frequent doctor’s visits. With In-Home Nursing, a skilled nurse will visit the senior in their home and attend to their needs. Nurses can cover a wide range of tasks, from dispensing medications to wound care and some therapies, subject to local rules.
Advantages of In-Home Nursing
Flexibility – Like In-Home Care, In-Home Nursing offers flexibility so that you only pay for what you need.
Medical Needs – Nurses can attend to a wide range of needs at home to prevent unpleasant hospital visits.
Complementary Services – A little bit of nursing can go a long way when combined with In-Home Care or other in-home services like physical therapy.
Disadvantages of In-Home Nursing
Cost – In-Home Nursing can be expensive, often several times the hourly cost of home care, but often will be covered by Medicare or insurance
Not for Home Care Tasks – Nurses are not Home Caregivers, and will generally not be allowed to assist with household tasks and personal care needs like bathing and grooming.
Skilled Nursing Facilities are what most people think of when they hear the phrase “retirement home.” Nursing Facilities offer 24/7 medical care in a residential setting to seniors and others who require constant care. Many facilities have in-house teams of physicians, therapists, and social workers.
Advantages of Nursing Facilities
Complete Care – Nursing Homes offer a wide spectrum of care and supervision for patients who require it.
Disadvantages of Nursing Facilities
Cost – While Medicare and Insurance may cover some of all of the cost, the price tag of the best nursing care facilities can be weighty.
Environment – Many nursing homes feel like hospitals, and can have a depressive effect on residents. Seniors in nursing homes are limited in their choices and ability to interact with the world around them.
Dementia Care Facilities
Increasingly common, Dementia Care Facilities are specialized Nursing Facilities that serve Seniors with mid- and late-stage memory loss. Sometimes called Memory Care units, the best facilities incorporate multi-modal strategies to provide comfort and support for patients with memory loss. Everything from the lighting to the décor and uniforms will be adjusted to help alleviate symptoms and discomfort, all while providing a safe and secure environment.
Advantages of Dementia Care Facilities
Specialized Care – Seniors with advanced dementia have highly specific and acute needs that require specialized care. Memory Care units are best equipped to provide care that maximizes quality of life for seniors who require a great deal of supervision
Safety – Many seniors with dementia are able to safely live at home. But advanced cases require full-time safety supervision that Dementia Care Facilities provide.
Disadvantages of Dementia Care Facilities
Cost – Like skilled Nursing Facilities, the best units can be expensive and may not be fully covered by insurance or Medicare.
Unfamiliarity – For many seniors with dementia, the familiarity of their own home can have an anchoring effect on their memory that they lose when they move into a new environment. While certainly a disadvantage, this has to me weighed against the safety and care provided by a specialized Dementia Care Facility.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Often seen as the first class solution for aging, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRCs, are resident communities that offer a spectrum of senior living options. Seniors may begin their say in an independent living apartment, and transition into on campus assisted living and skilled nursing as their needs advance. CCRCs often have primary care clinics and full medical staffs on site to attend to all sub-acute medical needs. Most facilities offer a wide range of social activities and dining options that resemble a cruise line more than a retirement home. Seniors who chose CCRCs often move in healthy and active but anticipating that their needs will advance in five or ten years.
Advantages of Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Full Spectrum Care – CCRCs offer the widest range of care options and lifestyle choices of any senior care option.
Easy Transitions – When residents are ready to move from one level of care to the next, they are typically only moving a few hundred yards. The friends they have made in the community and their access to the facilities remains intact, which eases their transitions.
Quality of Life – Most CCRCs are high quality, and many are downright luxurious.
Disadvantages of Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Cost – All of that service and luxury has a price. Many CCRCs have a “buy-in” payment similar to a time share that can be in the low to mid six-figures, in addition to monthly rent and other costs. Pricing models vary and financing may be available, but most CCRCs are very expensive.
Timing – Despite the cost, many CCRCs have long waitlists to enter. Seniors who wait until they need a CCRC to move in may find a multi-year line in front of them. It is difficult for most seniors to contemplate moving into a CCRC when they are still fully healthy, but often that’s the best strategy to ensure that their spot is secure when they need it.