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Facility Definitions

Nursing homes are common options when you need help taking care of an elderly loved one. But, this is not the only option. Some nursing homes have a bad reputation. Your research about them might be making you second-guess them. Do not worry; there are other places for your loved one that might be a better option for you. Information about each alternative will be provided for you here.

Home Health Aide

One option that is different from a nursing home is a home health aide. Home health aides work in an elderly person’s home. They help with everyday tasks such as walking, dressing, bathing, etc. An aide can also cook, clean, and arrange transportation for a client. Some home health aides are even certified to help with medical issues. Home health aides do not provide live-in help. But, they can spend a good amount of the day helping their elderly clients.

Adult Day Care

Adult day care is also a great option for your loved one during the day. This nonresidential facility will meet an elderly person’s needs. They meet social, physical, and emotional needs during the day. You can send your loved one to the day care before you go to work and have them home when you get home. They can go there and socialize with other people. They can also take part in programs such as crafts that they can take home after the day is done. This is a good option if you still want to care for your loved ones on your own, but need some breaks.

Meal Programs

There are also meal programs. Meal programs are for those capable of living on their own. A meal program might be a good option if you want someone to check in on your loved one. A meal program is when an organization will deliver prepared meals to your loved one’s home daily. They will have a quick conversation with them and make sure that they are doing ok. If your loved one does have a problem, oftentimes the meal program employee can let you know. This gives you the opportunity to help your loved one.

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Senior Centers

Senior centers are a great place for your elderly loved one to be social. A senior center is a place where seniors can go to just spend time with other people their age. They also provide a variety of services and programs. These services include meal and nutrition programs, health and wellness, and transportation. This could help them have a fresh meal, stay fit, or help them go places that they can’t get to on their own. It is a nice change of scenery for them and they can come and go to as they please.

Friendly Visitor Program

A friendly visitor program is also a great option for your independent elderly loved one. With this program, someone will come to your loved one’s home to spend some time with them. This will prevent loneliness. This helps your loved one get some social interaction while still in the comfort of their own home. For an elderly loved one who is still able to live home but can’t get out of the house often, this option is perfect. Someone can come to your loved one to talk with or to just have a friend when they live alone.

Shopping/Transportation Assistance

An option for someone who can’t get around on their own is shopping and transportation assistance. This program helps your loved one get to run errands. This service will send someone to pick your loved one up and take them where they want to go. This program was put in place for those who can’t drive anymore. This will also give your loved one someone to talk with for a little while and an opportunity to get out of the house.

Accessory Dwelling Unit

An accessory dwelling unit is a simple yet effective solution. A second living area attached to your property gives your loved one support and privacy. This is somewhere that your loved one can live on their own, but be close to you if they ever need help. Your loved one can do everything they would in their own house. But they are able to shout over to you if they need help with anything that they have grown too old to do.

Residential Care Facility

Residential care facilities offer housing for individuals who need help. Usually they need help with personal care or medical needs. This means that the facility is state licensed and meets minimum staffing requirements. The facility is staffed 24 hours a day. To be eligible, an individual usually must be mentally alert. They shouldn’t need more than moderate help with personal care or behavior supervision. These facilities usually feature studio or one bedroom apartments. Occasionally, these facilities offer only shared rooms. This can be a difficult adjustment for many. Be sure to check into the living arrangements at the facility before you decide on it. Other services include meals, social activities, laundry, and housekeeping services. These facilities are a good choice for your loved one who is living alone and might need someone to check on them.

Continued Care Community

A continued care community is the “one-stop shopping” of the retirement world. It is a campus-like setting that offers independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing care. The best benefit of continuing care retirement is that once your loved one moves in, they can remain, even if their health status changes while staying there. A continuing care community is a good choice for couples where one spouse needs more care than the other. They can still live together and not worry about getting split up if one needs more attention than the other.

Hospice Care

Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support, and spiritual resources for people who are in the last stages of a serious illness, such as cancer or heart failure. This type of care also helps family members manage the practical details and emotional challenges of caring for a dying loved one. The goal is to keep your loved one comfortable and improve his or her quality of life. Hospice programs offer services in your own home or in a hospice center.

Respite Care

Respite care is provided to relieve everyday caregivers of their duties. This is a temporary institutional care option. If you need a break from caring for your loved one, respite care might be a good option for you. For people who care for their loved ones on their own, they could need a break sometimes. Respite care will send someone to your home to let you leave for a little while or even a long weekend while you can still be assured that your loved one is getting the care that they need.


A final option is an all-inclusive care for the elderly plan also called PACE. The Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provides medical and social services to certain frail, community living elderly individuals, most of whom are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits. An interdisciplinary team of professionals provides PACE participants with coordinated care. For most participants, the comprehensive service package enables them to remain in the community they are already in rather than receive care in a nursing home.

All of these alternatives to nursing homes are great options depending on the situation of your loved one. It is important to research each type before making the decision of which to go with. These descriptions are here to help you get a general background of what they offer for your loved one to live comfortably and get the care they need.


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