8 Home Modifications for Seniors to Age in Place

The CDC reports that one in every four older adults falls every year, resulting in more than 32,000 deaths, making it a public health concern. Likely, your loved one’s home is not ready for them to age in, as the U.S. Census Bureau finds that only 10% of homes are prepared to accommodate the older population’s needs.

Learn the eight most crucial home modifications for seniors, allowing them to age in place — including kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom home accessibility ideas.

Essential Aging-in-Place Home Modifications for Seniors

Consider the following home modifications to help your loved one remain safe:

  1. Widen doorways: If your loved one uses a walker or wheelchair, doorways need widening to accommodate them. Doing so allows your loved one to move throughout their home independently.
  2. Install grab bars and handrails: In areas like the bathroom and along staircases, grab bars and handrails provide necessary support for seniors prone to falls.
  3. Modify the bathroom: Studies show that most injuries that happen in the bathroom are from using the shower or bathtub. So, some aging-in-place bathroom ideas include installing a walk-in shower, a higher toilet seat, and non-slip flooring to prevent bathroom-related accidents.
  4. Improve lighting: Adequate lighting can help your loved one see what’s on the floor around them, preventing them from tripping. Check to see that all areas of the home, especially hallways and staircases, are well-lit.
  5. Remove tripping hazards: Secure or remove loose rugs and ensure that electrical cords are out of the way to reduce the risk of tripping. Long, shaggy rugs or carpeting can be a hazard, but so can hardwood because it can become slippery. Remove unsafe carpets and use traction tape on slippery hardwood floors to minimize fall risks.
  6. Adjust kitchen layout: Lowering countertops and cabinets can make the kitchen more accessible for seniors who use wheelchairs or have difficulty reaching high places.
  7. Install ramps: Steps are among the most common fall areas for seniors. Replacing steps with ramps at entryways makes it easier for seniors with mobility issues to enter and exit the home. Also, moving their bedroom to the main floor so they don’t need to climb stairways frequently can decrease the chance of falling.
  8. Lever handles: Replace doorknobs with lever handles, which are easier to use for those with limited hand dexterity.

These aging-in-place home modifications for seniors don’t have to compromise the aesthetics of your loved one’s home. Choose changes that blend seamlessly with the home’s existing decor. For example, grab bars now come in various styles and finishes that can complement the bathroom’s design. Similarly, ramps can match your home’s exterior, and finishing on lever handles can fit the overall style of your doors and cabinets.

Beyond Home Modifications for Seniors

Creating a home environment that supports the unique needs of older adults involves more than just physical modifications. It’s about creating a space that promotes independence, is easy to navigate, and is comfortable to live in. Ensure that the living space is clutter-free, maintain a comfortable temperature, and consider smart home devices for help with daily tasks.

You and your loved one can also do several things to prevent falls besides making modifications in their home. Contact a doctor if you notice your loved one becoming more unsteady on their feet. Some medications can make seniors sleepy or dizzy, causing instability. A doctor could also prescribe physical therapy to help improve their balance and build their strength to avoid falling. Encourage them to exercise more if they can because that will also strengthen their legs and decrease their fall risk.

Consider the type of footwear your loved one is wearing. Seniors should wear low-heeled shoes with slip-resistant soles, not only outside their homes but inside as well. The National Council of Aging finds that shoes without laces, straps, or buckles also increase fall risk.

How A Place At Home Can Help

You don’t have to make these changes all on your own. A Place At Home can help determine the necessary adjustments that need to be completed for your loved one’s safety.

But even with the best modifications, you might find that your loved one needs additional support. In-home senior care services, like those provided by A Place At Home, offer the extra help your senior needs to thrive while aging in place. From personal care to companionship and even help with household tasks, our in-home care professionals can help ensure your loved one is safe, healthy, and happy in their modified home. Find a location near you and connect with us to get started.

Taking Care of Elderly Parents at Home: 12 Tips for Success

Caregiver holding onto elderly woman's shoulders

There’s a lot to prepare for when you begin taking care of elderly parents at home. Here are our best tips to set yourself up for success.

1. Understand Your Parents’ Needs

Before taking care of your elderly loved ones at home, it’s important to assess your parents’ health and daily living needs. Review their medical conditions, mobility issues, dietary needs, and daily routines. Consider questions such as whether they’re relatively independent or require help with activities like bathing, eating, or getting around? Knowing this information will help you plan better for their care and create a supportive environment that fits their needs.

2. Create a Safe and Accessible Environment

Modify your home to make it safe and accessible. Consider installing grab bars in the bathroom, securing loose rugs to prevent trips, and rearranging furniture to create clear walking paths. Remember, a well-organized space isn’t just about safety; it’s about creating a welcoming environment in which your loved one is comfortable.

3. Organize Medical Information

Keep a record of all medical information, including doctor’s contacts, medication schedules, and any important health history. This information is crucial for emergencies and regular check-ups.

4. Set a Daily Routine

Building a daily routine can provide stability and comfort for your elderly parents. A study published in the National Library of Medicine finds it reduces seniors’ anxiety and stress levels. Schedule regular times for meals, medications, activities, social interaction, and rest.

5. Encourage Physical Activity

Depending on their ability, encourage your parents to engage in physical activity. This could be light exercises, walks, or even physical therapy prescribed by their doctor.

6. Foster Social Connections

Social interaction is vital for the mental health of older adults. A Penn State study shows that seniors who have more pleasant social interactions have better cognitive performance surrounding those interactions. Encourage visits from friends and family or help them connect with others through community groups or online platforms.

7. Financial Planning

Taking care of elderly parents at home often comes with financial implications. Create a budget that includes their medical expenses, caregiving supplies, and any home modifications. To ease the financial burden, consider insurance options, government assistance programs, and possible tax deductions. BenefitsCheckup by the National Council on Aging is a great resource to connect you with programs that can help pay for your loved one’s needs.

8. Use Technology and Resources

Technology is ever-changing and can help you when caring for older adults. The help medical alert systems, video monitors, medication dispensing devices, and health tracking apps provide are invaluable. They not only provide safety but also give you peace of mind.

9. Create an Open Line of Communication

Maintain open lines of communication with your parents. Discuss their preferences and listen to their concerns. By doing so, you help them feel respected and involved in their own care. Also, keep in touch with healthcare professionals for regular updates on their health status.

10. Be Patient and Compassionate

You must have patience and compassion when taking care of elderly parents at home. You’ll have challenging days, but empathy and understanding can make a significant difference in your parents’ lives.

11. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Caring for older adults is often emotionally taxing and demands patience, empathy, and resilience. Your health is just as important as your parents’. Prepare yourself mentally for the challenges ahead. Seek support groups or counseling to manage stress and emotions. Make sure to take time for yourself, get enough rest, eat well, engage in activities you enjoy, and seek support when needed.

12. Seek Professional Help When Needed

Understand that sometimes, the care needs may become too demanding for you to handle alone. Whether hiring a part-time caregiver or seeking advice from healthcare professionals, don’t hesitate to contact companies like A Place At Home.

Let A Place At Home Help

Taking care of elderly parents at home is a significant commitment and takes planning, patience, and support. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by connecting with our compassionate care team at A Place At Home. We specialize in private care for the elderly at home, providing personalized aid that respects the dignity and independence of your loved ones. Our team can help create a custom care plan from our wide range of services that are tailored to your family’s needs. Whether it’s helping with daily activities, medical care, or simply companionship, we’re here to support you. Visit our website to find a location near you to learn more about how we can guide you through your parents’ aging journey.

Best Hearing Aids for Seniors: 5 Options to Consider in 2024

Caregiver comforting distressed elderly woman

Researching the best hearing aids for seniors? Learn the differences between ITE hearing aids, BTE hearing aids, and ITC hearing aids to pick the best option for you.

Types of Hearing Aids

There are several hearing aids that cater to different preferences and needs. Here are the common types available:

  1. In-the-Ear (ITE): These are custom-made to fit entirely inside the outer ear and help those with mild to severe hearing loss. They’re easier to handle and adjust but are more susceptible to earwax clogging. However, they can be more visible than smaller models and may pick up more wind noise.
  2. Behind-the-Ear (BTE): This is the most common type of hearing aid. They sit behind or on top of the outer ear with tubing that routes sound into the ear. They’re capable of more amplification and are easier to clean than other styles, but they are also the most visible type of hearing aid.
  3. In-the-Canal (ITC): These are custom molded and fit partly in the ear canal, offering a less visible option with easy battery replacement and volume control. However, their smaller size might make them challenging to handle for some seniors, and the smaller batteries mean shorter battery life.
  4. Completely-in-Canal (CIC): These are nearly hidden in the ear canal and are for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. CIC hearing aids pick up less wind noise than other hearing aids. They are the least visible type of hearing aid, but because of that, they use very small batteries with a short life.
  5. Receiver-in-Canal (RIC): This type is like BTE, but the speaker is inside the ear canal for a more natural sound. The hearing aid has direction microphones and manual control options.

Over the-Counter Hearing Aids

The FDA created an over-the-counter hearing aid category in 2022 that you can buy without a prescription. They’re generally less expensive and are good for those experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss. However, they don’t offer the same level of customization and professional support as traditional hearing aids.

Costs and Considerations

The cost of hearing aids and hearing tests can vary widely based on the type, features, and provider. The expense is typically why people avoid getting hearing aids, and unfortunately, they’re not usually covered by Medicare Parts A and B or private insurance plans. However, Forbes finds that Medicare Part C offers hearing aid benefits. The average cost of a pair of hearing aids ranges from $2,000 to $7,000, according to GoodRx. The tinier and more discreet the hearing aid, the more expensive they typically are.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are generally less expensive but might not meet the needs of all seniors. A good hearing aid is an investment in quality of life, so consider both the price and the value it provides.

Navigating the Options

With so many types of hearing aids and new technologies, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. First, the Mayo Clinic recommends that your senior see an audiologist to make sure they’re truly experiencing hearing loss, not a correctable issue such as earwax buildup or an infection. Audiologists and hearing care professionals can offer valuable guidance and support and help you understand the specific needs of your senior loved one. They know what the best hearing aids for seniors are and can offer recommendations for the best hearing aids for your loved one based on their lifestyle and degree of hearing loss.

When choosing the specific hearing aid, ask about a trial period so your loved one can ensure it’s perfect. Additionally, make sure the hearing aid can handle an increase in power in case of increased hearing loss.

How A Place At Home Can Help

Using an in-home care provider, like A Place At Home, that offers healthcare navigation services, such as attending doctor’s appointments, is extremely helpful in making care and treatment plan decisions. Our caregivers can go with your loved one to hearing tests, help them manage and take care of their hearing aids, and offer the companionship and support they need to stay socially engaged and mentally stimulated. Find an A Place At Home location near you to get started.

8 Signs of Loneliness in Seniors & Older Adults

Risks of Loneliness in Seniors senior woman looking out window alone

Loneliness is a significant source of suffering and reduced quality of life for adults over 60. Learn the top 8 signs of loneliness in seniors and how to help.

Prevalence of Isolation and Loneliness Among Seniors

Isolation and loneliness are becoming more common among seniors and older adults. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds that one in four people over 65 feels socially isolated.

As people age, their social circle shrinks from the loss of friends, family, and mobility. Retirement, the death of a spouse, or moving can further exacerbate loneliness. Consumer Affairs says 14.7 million seniors live alone which also increases loneliness and isolation for seniors.

Emotional and Physical Health Concerns

Loneliness isn’t just a feeling; it can have severe implications for both emotional and physical health. Emotionally, it can lead to depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. Physically, symptoms of loneliness can manifest as sleep disturbances, increased blood pressure, weakened immune system, and a higher risk of heart disease. The CDC finds that social isolation increases the risk of dementia by 50%, heart disease by 29%, and stroke by 32%. In comparison, Consumer Affairs likens the effects of loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It’s crucial to recognize these signs early to mitigate their impact.

Signs of Senior Isolation

To effectively support your elderly loved one, it’s important to recognize the signs of loneliness. Here are eight symptoms of loneliness:

  1. Withdrawal from social activities or hobbies they once enjoyed
  2. Neglecting personal hygiene or household maintenance
  3. Changes in appetite such as overeating or a decreased appetite
  4. Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  5. Expressing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or being a burden
  6. Increased irritability or mood swings
  7. Increased complaints about aches, pains, or fatigue
  8. Substance abuse – The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that about 65% of seniors 65 years and older considered consuming a “high-risk” amount of alcohol in a week.

Proactive Measures to Combat Loneliness

A proactive and compassionate approach is necessary to combat loneliness in seniors. The best way to alleviate the effects of loneliness in older adults is to prevent it from starting. You can do this for your loved one by creating a daily routine that keeps them engaged.

If you’re past the point of prevention, encourage your loved ones to participate in community events, clubs, or religious activities. Regular social engagement can provide a sense of belonging and purpose. Modern technology makes it easier to stay connected. So, teach your loved one how to use video calls, social media, or even texting to keep in touch with friends and family. Visit them regularly, if possible. A consistent presence can significantly affect their overall mood and outlook. Encourage activities for the elderly that are suitable for their mobility level. Exercise can boost mood and create opportunities for social interaction.

Ensuring Social Connection and Mental Stimulation

Maintaining social connections and mental stimulation is vital for seniors facing loneliness. Engaging them in activities for the elderly that they enjoy, encouraging new hobbies, and taking them to community events can offer a sense of purpose and belonging. Simple actions like sharing meals or watching a favorite show together can also promote connection.

How Caregivers Can Help

In-home care providers, such as A Place At Home, can play a crucial role in alleviating loneliness and promoting a sense of belonging. They can provide companionship, help arrange social activities, and offer emotional support. Caregivers can also help identify the early signs of loneliness and take steps to address them before they escalate. They can tailor their care to the unique needs of your loved one, ensuring they are still socially connected and mentally stimulated.

Call A Place At Home for Help

If you’re considering additional support to help combat depression in the elderly, our customized in-home senior care plans at A Place At Home offer the personalized attention and companionship your loved one needs. Our compassionate caregivers are dedicated to ensuring your loved one stays socially connected and mentally stimulated, fostering a sense of belonging and happiness in their lives.

Find a location near you to begin.

Depression in the Elderly: 5 Tips to Beat the January Blues

Winter can intensify depression in the elderly. Learn about the symptoms of seasonal depression, why we get depressed in the winter, and how you can help.

Winter’s Possible Effect on Seniors’ Mental Health

Several aspects of winter can affect your senior loved one’s mental health. The lack of sunlight and shorter days can disrupt the body’s internal clock, leading to changes in mood and energy levels. This disruption is even more common for seniors, as many are already dealing with other challenges, such as health issues or loneliness. If someone’s seasonal depression is severe, they can be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Symptoms of SAD in the Elderly

SAD is a type of depression that occurs at a specific time of year, usually in winter. Medical experts believe the disorder is caused by a chemical change in the brain initiated by decreased sunlight and shorter days in winter. It’s important to differentiate SAD from general mood fluctuations or other types of depression. SAD arises in a recurrent seasonal pattern that lasts about four to five months. Signs of SAD in the elderly include:

  • Persistent low mood, sad, anxious, or irritable
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Withdrawing from social outings or “hibernating”
  • Increase in sleep, daytime drowsiness, lethargy, or low energy levels
  • Feelings of despair, guilt, or worthlessness
  • Increased appetite, especially for sweets and carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Physical health problems, such as headaches

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

If you notice these symptoms persistently in your elderly loved one, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. Common treatments for SAD include increasing sunlight exposure by spending time outside or near a window, light therapy that replicates the feeling of sunlight, vitamin D, psychotherapy to help change a senior’s distorted view, and antidepressants.

The National Institute of Mental Health explains that SAD shouldn’t be confused with the “holiday blues.” These are often feelings of sadness or anxiety brought on by stresses created by the holidays.

How to Overcome Winter Depression in the Elderly

Whether your loved one is diagnosed with SAD or not, you and their care team can play a vital role in helping them cope with the January blues. Here are some ways to offer support:

  1. Encourage physical activity: According to the National Institute of Aging, gentle exercise, even indoors, can boost your loved one’s mood. Encourage them to engage in light physical activities.
  2. Promote social interaction: Regular contact, whether in person or via phone or video calls, can help alleviate feelings of loneliness. In-home care providers, like A Place At Home, offer companion care that provides socialization and stimulating conversations.
  3. Maximize exposure to natural light: Like in the list of treatments for SAD mentioned above, by increasing exposure to natural light, you can decrease depression in the elderly. Open curtains during the day and encourage your loved one to sit near windows.
  4. Engage in winter activities for seniors: Plan winter activities for seniors that are enjoyable, such as indoor gardening, crafts, or listening to music. These activities can engage seniors’ minds.
  5. Maintain a healthy diet: A balanced diet can improve overall energy levels and mood. This includes staying adequately hydrated.

In-Home Senior Care Solutions

In-home senior care is an effective way to combat the winter blues and ensure a brighter, more positive environment for your loved one. Professional caregivers provide senior care services such as companionship, assisting with physical activity, and ensuring the home environment is warm and comfortable. They can also help facilitate social activities and outings, weather permitting.

Help your loved one through winter blues by finding an A Place At Home location near you.

Private Care for Elderly at Home: How to Choose a Home Care Agency

More and more families are hiring home care providers for their elderly loved ones. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 56% of people turning 65 are predicted to need significant long-term health services. With nearly all seniors preferring to age at home, thousands of families are looking for the best in-home care.

Considering private care for the elderly at home? Here are some factors to consider, as well as six things to ask an in-home care company to determine if they’ll be the right fit.

What is Private Home Care for the Elderly?

First, let’s understand what private care for the elderly at home is. It’s a service designed to help older adults who need help with daily activities but wish to remain in their own homes. It’s an alternative to residential care facilities, offering a more personalized approach. This type of care is tailored to each senior’s individual needs, ranging from basic assistance with daily tasks to more comprehensive medical care.

Home Healthcare Services

Home healthcare providers offer a range of services to cater to the diverse needs of seniors. These services typically include:

  • Personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
  • Mobility assistance
  • Medication reminders
  • Meal preparation and dietary monitoring
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Companionship and emotional support
  • Transportation to appointments and social events

Some in-home care providers offer medical services. These companies use skilled nurses as their caregivers. A doctor prescribes home healthcare services. SeniorCare.com describes these services as wound care, catheter management, injections, IV infusions, post-op rehab, medication administration, ventilator patient care, and pain management.

Costs and Insurance Coverage

The cost of private care for the elderly at home varies depending on the level of care required, the number of hours the caregiver is needed, and where you’re located. The national average for a non-medical in-home care provider is $26 an hour, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

It’s important to note that long-term care insurance may cover some of these costs, and veterans’ benefits can also help fund care. However, traditional health insurance plans and Medicare typically do not cover non-medical in-home care services.

How to Choose a Home Care Agency

When it comes to choosing an agency, the decision is a significant one. It can significantly affect the quality of life for your loved one, ensuring they receive the necessary support while remaining in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. You’ll want to consider several factors when searching for at-home care for seniors.

  • Assess your loved one’s needs:
    Determine the level of care and type of services your loved one requires. This assessment will guide you in finding an agency specializing in the necessary care. Some home care providers, like A Place At Home, will guide you through this process. We sit down with you and your loved one and create a personalized care plan tailored to their specific needs.
  • Research and compare agencies:
    Look for agencies in your area and compare their services, costs, and reviews. Websites like Caring.com can be a valuable resource.
  • Check credentials and training:
    Ensure the agency is licensed and its caregivers are properly trained and experienced. Agencies should conduct background checks on their staff.
  • Understand the cost:
    Clarify all costs involved and ask about any additional fees. Understand the billing process and frequency. No one wants any hidden charges to pop up.

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Agency

There are several questions you’ll want to ask the company that’ll be in charge of taking care of your loved one when you’re not around. AARP has a complete list of questions, but here are some of the top questions to ask:

  1. What specific services do you offer?
  2. How do you hire and train your caregivers?
  3. Will we have the same caregivers every visit, and do we get to meet them before they start?
  4. How do you handle changes in care needs?
  5. How does your agency handle emergencies or unexpected situations?
  6. How do you ensure the quality and consistency of care?

On top of these questions, ask for references from the agency. If they’re confident in the quality of service their caregivers offer, they’ll provide you with current or past clients who can talk about their experiences.

Let A Place At Home Help

A Place At Home offers a range of in-home care services tailored to meet the unique needs of your loved one. Our compassionate and skilled caregivers are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care. To learn more about our comprehensive care plans, connect with us by finding a location near you. Remember, choosing the right in-home care agency can significantly affect your loved one’s life.

Respite Care: A Lifeline for Caregivers’ Mental and Emotional Health

Self-Care: An Essential Tool for Caregiving

Caring for a loved one is a noble and devoted act, but it can become incredibly demanding. Balancing the needs of your loved one with your personal responsibilities can be overwhelming. If this is you, you’re not alone. AARP estimates that 38 million Americans provide unpaid family care or about $60 billion worth of caregiving. The good news is that there is help through respite care.

Respite care can offer you a much-needed break as a caregiver. Understanding just what is respite care for the elderly and its vital benefits for caregivers is important for enhancing your mental well-being while caring for loved ones.

What is Respite Care for the Elderly

So, what is respite care for the elderly? It’s a temporary care service designed to give primary caregivers a break from their caregiving duties. Respite care can range from a few hours to several days or weeks and can be done at home or a facility. The goal is to ensure that your loved one continues to receive the care they need while you take the time to rest, recharge, or attend to other responsibilities.

Advantages of Respite Care

Respite care offers numerous benefits for both caregivers and seniors. For caregivers, it provides an opportunity to take a break, acts as caregiver burnout prevention, and improves your overall well-being. It’s essential for maintaining caregiver mental health, allowing you to return to your caregiving duties with renewed energy and perspective. Caregiver mental health is vital, and neglecting it can lead to serious consequences, both for you and your loved one.

For seniors, respite care offers a change of scenery and the chance to interact with different caregivers. It can be an enriching experience, providing social stimulation and a sense of independence. Additionally, professional caregivers can bring new insights and approaches to care, benefiting your loved one.

Ensuring Quality Care During Your Absence

One of the common concerns is ensuring that your loved one receives proper care while you’re away. To find reputable respite care providers, look for services that offer trained and experienced caregivers who can meet the specific needs of your loved one. Communication is critical; discuss your loved one’s routines, preferences, and medical requirements with the respite care provider.

Types of Respite Care

Respite care comes in various forms, each designed to meet different needs and preferences. Understanding the different types can help you make an informed decision. Here are the five main respite care types:

  1. In-Home Respite Care:
    Respite care in your loved one’s home can range from a few hours of care to overnight stays. In-home caregivers can assist with daily activities and medication management and provide companionship. It’s ideal for seniors who prefer to stay in their familiar surroundings and those with mobility issues that make it difficult to leave home.
  2. Adult Day Care Centers:
    These centers offer care and social activities in a group setting during daytime hours. They provide opportunities for social interaction, meals, and various activities. It’s suitable for seniors who need socialization and structured activities during the day but can return home in the evenings.
  3. Residential Respite Care:
    This type looks like a short stay in a facility such as an assisted living community or nursing home. It can range from a few days to a few weeks. It’s a good option for caregivers who need a longer break or when the senior requires more intensive care that you can’t easily provide.
  4. Emergency Respite Care:
    This rapid-response service provides care during unexpected situations, such as a caregiver’s sudden illness or an emergency. Emergency or crisis respite care can come in various forms, both in-home and in a facility. It ensures that your loved one receives immediate care, providing peace of mind in unforeseen circumstances.
  5. Specialized Respite Care:
    Some providers, such as A Place At Home, offer respite care specifically tailored for individuals with certain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. These caregivers are trained to deal with the unique challenges of these conditions.

The cost of respite care depends on the type of care and duration. Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey found that in 2023, adult day care’s daily median rate is $83, while in-home care ranges between $157 to $163 daily. A nursing home facility’s median daily care costs $276 to $315.

In-Home Respite Care Through A Place At Home

In-home respite care allows your loved one to stay in a familiar environment. A Place At Home offers a range of customizable senior care services to support you and your loved one’s needs. Let us help you find relief in your caregiving journey. Find an A Place At Home location near you.

Choosing The Right Care: When To Consider Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

Navigating the world of senior care is often overwhelming, especially when faced with the decision to choose between nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Explore the key differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This guide helps families understand each option, ensuring the best care choice for their elderly loved ones.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

At a glance, both nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer care for seniors, but their services, environment, and care levels differ significantly.

Environment and Lifestyle:

Assisted living facilities often resemble apartment complexes, providing a more home-like environment. Amenities might include private or semi-private rooms, communal dining areas, recreational spaces, gardens, and even beauty salons or barber shops. They offer a balance between independence and care, allowing residents to live in a home-like setting while receiving assistance with daily activities.

Nursing homes are more medically focused facilities designed to provide 24-hour care to individuals with significant health or mobility challenges. Amenities often include shared rooms, medical facilities on-site, physical therapy spaces, and communal dining areas.

Care Levels:

When looking at assisted living vs. nursing homes in terms of care levels, there’s a significant difference.

In assisted living facilities, staff offer help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. Medical staff is available, but continuous medical care isn’t the primary focus. The staff-to-resident ratio can vary, but there’s typically a higher emphasis on social and recreational staff. Caregivers help with daily activities, and a nurse may be on-site or on-call.

As the name suggests, nursing home care levels are more intensive. These facilities are equipped to handle more complex medical needs, including wound care, physical therapy, and more. Given the higher care needs of residents, nursing homes have a higher staff-to-resident ratio. This includes a mix of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants. They are equipped to handle more complex medical needs.

Cost:

Generally, the less expensive option between assisted living vs. nursing homes is usually assisted living places because they don’t provide intensive medical care. The 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey found the national monthly median cost for an assisted living facility is $4,500. Typically, residents pay out-of-pocket, though some long-term care insurance policies may cover costs. Medicaid might offer coverage in certain situations, but it varies by state.

Due to the higher level of care at nursing homes, these facilities tend to cost more. That same survey found the national average monthly expense for a private nursing home room is $9,034, more than double the cost of a room at assisted living. Medicare can cover short-term stays at nursing homes following hospitalization. For long-term stays, Medicaid is a common funding source for those who qualify. Long-term care insurance and out-of-pocket payments are other options.

Expenses range widely for senior care, from state to state and even facility to facility. With both types of facilities, there are often hidden costs. While the monthly fee might cover most expenses, additional fees for special services or activities could come up. Care.com mentions services like dressing, bathing, bathroom help, laundry, medication management, and health screenings can often rack up an added cost. It’s essential to get a detailed breakdown of what’s included in the fee and what might be extra.

Emotional Well-Being:

Assisted living residents have a degree of independence, which can boost their emotional well-being. They live in a less clinical environment, which can feel more like home.

Nursing homes are more of a clinical setting, which might be challenging for some individuals, but the constant access to medical care provides peace of mind.

Social Opportunities:

Assisted living facilities often have a calendar of social activities, from movie nights to exercise classes and field trips, allowing residents to stay socially engaged.

While there are still social activities, they might be less frequent or varied due to the residents’ health needs at nursing homes.

Determining the Best Fit for Your Loved One

When weighing the options of assisted living vs. nursing home facilities, consider the following:

  1. Health and mobility: A nursing home is a better fit for your loved one if they require constant medical attention or have severe mobility issues. On the other hand, if they are relatively independent but need some assistance with daily tasks, assisted living could be a better fit.
  2. Social needs: Assisted living facilities often offer more social activities and opportunities for residents to interact, which can benefit seniors who are socially active.
  3. Duration of stay: Assisted living can be a long-term solution, while nursing homes might be more suitable for short-term rehabilitation or those with terminal illnesses.
  4. Personal preferences: Some seniors might prefer a more home-like environment, making assisted living a more attractive possibility. Others might prioritize medical care and opt for a nursing home.

Consider In-Home Care

While researching senior housing alternatives, there’s an even more home-like option than assisted living facilities – in-home care. When comparing assisted living vs. nursing home facilities, they each have their merits; in-home care is always another option worth considering. Bringing a care provider into your loved one’s home allows them to receive care in the comfort of their home. This familiarity eliminates the stress and anxiety of moving to a new place.

In-home care offers personalized one-on-one care tailored to the individual’s needs. This personalized attention can lead to better health outcomes and a higher quality of life. The type of care is also tailored to their needs, whether it’s assistance with daily tasks, companionship, or even medical care. With personalization comes flexibility. You can adjust care schedules based on your senior’s needs and preferences.

In many cases, in-home care is more cost-effective than facility-based care, especially if your loved one doesn’t require round-the-clock attention. That Genworth survey says the national average for in-home care for 40 hours a week is $4,680 a month.

A Place At Home is one of the nation’s premier in-home care providers. With customizable care plans, we can build a schedule that fits your loved one’s needs and budget. We have locations across the country, so begin your journey with us by finding a location near you.

Building Strength And Balance: A Guide To Safe Exercises For Seniors

Safe Chair Exercises for Seniors: Enhancing Strength and Balance

As our loved ones age, maintaining physical strength and balance becomes crucial for their overall well-being. However, the fear of injury or the lack of mobility can often deter seniors from exercising regularly. So, how can they maintain their mobility without risking injury?

Explore our comprehensive guide to safe exercises tailored for seniors. Find routines that prioritize safety while effectively building strength and balance.

Mindful Moving

The National Institute of Health recommends two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic weekly exercise for seniors. This can look like a brisk walk, cycling, or dancing. Walking is one of the simplest yet most effective exercises. It helps improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and enhance balance. Even a short walk around the block or in a park can make a difference.

Gentle stretching can improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and enhance circulation. It’s especially beneficial in the morning to kickstart the day. Seniors can stretch standing or sitting.

Chair exercises offer a low-impact workout for seniors focusing on building strength, improving flexibility, and enhancing balance. From seated marches to arm raises, the benefits of chair exercises include building strength and improving balance.

Balance exercises help prevent falls. Simple activities like standing on one foot or walking heel to toe can significantly improve balance. Seniors can hold onto a sturdy chair or countertop for support.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all adults include two days of strength training in their weekly workout regimen. Using light weights or resistance bands while focusing on major muscle groups like legs, arms, and the core will help build muscle strength. Remember to start with light weights and gradually increase as strength builds. No light weights around the house? Use objects like a bottle of water or milk jug.

Benefits of Chair Exercises

  1. Strength building: Regular chair exercises can help seniors build muscle strength, especially in the core, legs, and arms. This strength is essential for daily activities such as standing up, walking, and lifting objects.
  2. Improved balance: Balance is crucial for preventing falls, a common concern among older adults. Chair exercises can help enhance stability and coordination.
  3. Flexibility: As we age, our joints can become stiff. Chair exercises can aid in improving joint flexibility, reducing the risk of injuries.
  4. Mental well-being: Regular physical activity, even a low-impact workout, can boost mood and reduce feelings of anxiety or depression.

Effective Chair Exercises

Before your loved one begins performing any of these exercises, ensure that the chair is sturdy and doesn’t have wheels to prevent accidents.

  • Seated marches: Sit straight with feet flat on the ground. Lift one knee as high as possible and then the other, mimicking a marching motion. This exercise helps in strengthening the legs and improving circulation.
  • Sit to stand: As the name implies, sit in a chair and use the strength of the legs to stand up. For assistance, place a chair in front or cushions on the seat to decrease the distance. This exercise strengthens the leg muscles and enhances balance and stability.
  • Chair taps: Sit at the edge of the chair and extend one leg out with toes pointing up. Tap the ground lightly with your heel, then switch to the other leg. This exercise is great for the calf muscles.
  • Seated torso twists: Sit straight and place your hands on your shoulders. Gently twist your torso to one side, hold for a few seconds, and then twist the other way. This exercise is excellent for the core and improves flexibility.
  • Arm raises: Hold a water bottle or a light weight in each hand. While seated, raise your arms to the side and in front of you. This exercise helps in strengthening the arms and shoulders.
  • Ankle rolls: Extend one leg out and rotate the ankle in a circular motion. Switch to the other leg after a few rotations. This exercise is great for ankle flexibility and reducing stiffness.

Incorporating Chair Exercises into Daily Life

Consistency is key to making the most of these safe exercises for seniors. Encourage your elderly loved one to set aside a specific time for their chair workout each day. Starting with 10 minutes a day of low-impact workouts for seniors and gradually increasing the duration can make a significant difference.

Let Us Help Your Senior Remain Independent

Mobility helps seniors stay independent, as do in-home care providers like A Place At Home. If you’re looking for more guidance or resources on senior lifestyle care, we encourage you to find an A Place At Home location near you. Our team of professionals is dedicated to providing the best care and support for you and your senior loved ones.

Eye Care for Seniors: The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Vision is one of the most vital senses, and as your loved one ages, you may notice changes in their eyesight. While some changes are normal to aging, others can indicate more serious issues, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This makes eye care for seniors an essential aspect of their overall health.

Learn more about eye care for seniors, including regular check-ups and diet improvements. These steps can help prevent age-related eye conditions and boost habits that promote optimal eye health.

Routine Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that individuals 65 and older have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years, even if they have no existing vision problems. Regular check-ups are crucial for early detection of conditions that become more prevalent with age, such as cataracts.

Neglecting regular eye exams can have severe consequences. Conditions like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can progress silently, leading to irreversible vision loss if not detected and treated early. Annual exams can also reveal other health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Eye Conditions Prevalent in Seniors

  • Macular Degeneration: This condition affects the central vision and can make daily activities like reading and driving difficult. It is the leading cause of vision loss in seniors, according to the National Eye Institute. Symptoms include central vision blurriness, trouble seeing in low lighting, straight lines that look wavy, or a blurry area or blank spots near the center that get bigger over time.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is the clouding of the eye lens, leading to blurry vision. The Mayo Clinic says a cataract usually develops slowly. You might notice your loved one having difficulty seeing at night, being sensitive to light and glares, or needing a brighter light for reading. Other symptoms include colors appearing faded or yellow, having double vision in one eye, seeing halos around lights, or having frequent lens prescription changes. Cataract prevention includes lifestyle change. Severe cases require surgery.
  • Glaucoma: The Cleveland Clinic says glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. It results from increased pressure in the eye, ultimately leading to potential vision loss. Some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms, making it challenging to diagnose. However, some symptoms include eye pain, blurred or tunneled vision, blind spots, red eyes, rainbow-colored halos around lights, headaches, or nausea. Once damage begins, it’s irreversible, according to the Cleveland Clinic, which is why annual eye exams are crucial for your senior.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: A condition that can occur in people with diabetes. AAO says it happens when high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina. It can eventually cause blindness. Unlike other eye conditions, diabetic retinopathy typically affects both eyes. The symptoms are similar to cataracts.

Maintaining Good Eye Health

Besides annual eye exams, here are some ways to ensure your loved one maintains good eye health:

  • UV Protection: Encourage your loved one to wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays when outdoors.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of cataracts and AMD. If your loved one smokes, help them find resources to quit.
  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity improves blood circulation, which is good for the eyes.
  • Adequate Sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to eye strain and vision problems.
  • Limit Screen Time: Prolonged screen exposure can lead to eye strain. Encourage breaks and the 20-20-20 rule: look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

Dietary Recommendations

While you may not realize it, diet plays a significant role in eye health. Foods rich in antioxidants, like leafy greens and berries, can help with cataract prevention. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can also slow down the progression of AMD. Encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins for overall eye health. AAO also recommends orange-colored veggies and fruits with vitamin A, such as carrots or cantaloupe. Vitamin A is good for the retina and keeping the eyes moist. While Vitamin C helps repair the eye from damage caused by fried foods, tobacco smoke, and UV rays.

Call A Place At Home for Help

Eye care for seniors is not just the responsibility of the individual, but also the family and caregivers. If you’re concerned about your aging loved one’s vision, don’t wait for problems to escalate. If you need help getting your loved one to the doctor, let A Place At Home help you. We offer a variety of senior care services, including medical appointment assistance. Remember, good vision contributes to a better quality of life. Take the first step in ensuring a brighter, clearer future for your loved one today.

Find an A Place At Home location near you to set up a customizable care plan.