Eldercare Facilities: Know the Range of Options

By Cate Coulacos Prato

More Helpful Eldercare Information

Eldercare: How to Talk About It With Your Aging Parent

The ABCs of Aging: A Glossary of Eldercare Terms

Getting Professional Help

Eldercare Facilities: An Overview of the Options

Eldercare Safety Checklist and a downloadable Eldercare Emergency Info Sheet

Should You Have Your Parent Move In With You?

When deciding on eldercare, another issue to look at is the senior’s personality. If he or she is active and sociable, but wants an extra level of security or needs help with daily chores, an assisted-living facility or retirement community may be the solution.

These come in a variety of settings (from a clustered community of homes to an apartment-style facility with common dining and recreation areas) and care (from minimal assistance to on-call nursing). Costs for these facilities can run from a couple of thousand dollars a month to six figures a year, depending on location and extent of services.

Some real-estate developers are creating retirement communities with built-in assistance devices such as grab bars, ramps and shower seats, all done unobtrusively so they are not noticed until the need arises, notes geriatric care consultant Rona Bartelstone, M.S.W.

For the most debilitated seniors, nursing homes are often the only choice. You can find many good nursing homes, Coward points out, but their negative reputation makes them the destination of last resort for many elders. It doesn’t help, experts say, that the government reimbursement system is biased toward institutional care, but doesn’t adequately support it financially.

“We have yet to find a cost-effective way of managing eldercare in this country,” says gerontologist Raymond Coward, Ph.D. But, he adds, children can still create a good situation for their parents if they approach their elder with respect and honor his or her wishes as much as possible.

“If the older adult feels like he or she has made the decision, you’re much more likely to have a positive outcome,” he says.

Cate Coulacos Prato writes frequently on family issues.
From United Parenting Publications, June 2004.