What Are the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living?

What Are the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living?

Dear Donna,

My mother lives on her own, and her arthritis is making it difficult for her to keep up with a few basic tasks. She says she could use some assistance. We have narrowed down our options to home care and assisted living, but we are having trouble deciding between the two.

What are the differences between home care and assisted living?

Jill from Saline, MI

Understanding the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living

Dear Jill,

When an aging parent needs assistance, it can be tough to know where to turn. It’s not uncommon for seniors and family members to be torn between receiving care at home or in an assisted living community. Both options provide many benefits, but your decision will depend on your family’s unique needs.

Here are a few of the main differences between home care and assisted living.

Understanding Home Care

Home care, more specifically private duty home care, is a type of support provided to seniors in their house. Its purpose is to enable older adults to remain living in their homes safely. Depending on the person’s needs, professional caregivers can help with anything from light housekeeping to preparing meals and running errands.

Your loved one may benefit from home care if:

  • They need minimal to moderate assistance.
  • They need help with nonmedical activities for a few hours a day.
  • Their home is senior-friendly and safe.
  • They have an active social life.

Private duty home care is usually a short-term solution. If their care needs extend beyond a few hours a day or what a home caregiver can provide, they may find an assisted living community better meets their needs.

Assisted Living Explained

Like home care, assisted living supports seniors with the activities they need to remain independent, but in a community setting. Residents live in a home-like environment, but have access to caregivers around the clock. This service alone can bring seniors and their families peace of mind.

Assisted living may be best for your loved one if:

  • They have mobility challenges.
  • They have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
  • Their home is an unsafe place to live.
  • They don’t have many opportunities to socialize.
  • They require moderate to extensive assistance to remain independent.

Deciding between Home Care and Assisted Living

When it comes to choosing between home care and assisted living, the answer is rarely easy. Both home care and assisted living come with many benefits. By assessing your loved one’s needs and understanding your options, you are more likely to find a solution that benefits your family.

I hope this helps you better understand the differences between home care and assisted living.

Sincerely,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

At Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, we encourage seniors and their families to visit our community. Contact us today to find out if our senior living options are a good fit for you or your senior loved one.

How to Prepare a Senior Family Member for Assisted Living

How to Prepare a Senior Family Member for Assisted Living

Dear Donna,

In a few months, my mom will move to an assisted living community. She has asked me to help her prepare for the move.

She is very sentimental, and it’s always been difficult for her to throw things away. I know she has to downsize, but I am unsure how to approach the topic. Can you give me a few tips on how to prepare a senior family member for assisted living?

Regards,

Marlene from Saline, MI

Helping a Senior Loved One Prepare for Senior Living

Dear Marlene,

Preparing a senior family member for assisted living can be difficult, especially if they have lived in their home for a long time. They have had years to accumulate their belongings, and only months or weeks to sort through them.

For many, the hardest part of moving isn’t getting rid of things they don’t need. It’s dealing with the feelings attached to their belongings. Throwing things away can feel like getting rid of memories.

Helping a Senior Loved One Downsize Before Moving to Assisted Living

  1. Start early

When it comes to downsizing, one of the best things you can do is start early. Waiting until the last minute adds unnecessary stress to the process and makes the transition more difficult for everyone involved. By starting the process early, you will have enough time to help them sort through their belongings and reminisce about meaningful items. Your loved one will appreciate not feeling rushed during the process.

  1. Plan ahead

Planning is another way to make downsizing easier. Set some time aside to list and categorize everything you need to sort through. Once you have everything listed, decide on a deadline for each category. Make sure your time frame is realistic. It’s usually best to overestimate the amount of time it will take to finish sorting through each group of items. Doing this will help keep you on track to finish everything on time.

  1. Consult with a senior move manager

A senior move manager is a professional who specializes in helping seniors move. They can be a huge help when it comes to helping older loved ones downsize. They understand the physical and emotional challenges that often come with a senior move. Their training has prepared them to help in a way that leaves seniors feeling in control of what happens to their belongings.

Moving Can Be Difficult at Any Age

Moving from a house to an assisted living community requires a lot of change, which can be difficult at any age. Not only is your loved one leaving a place they’ve called home for a long time, but they are also moving to a new environment filled with all new people. Be empathetic of their situation and remind them of the exciting things to look forward to in their new community.

I hope this helps the move go smoothly.

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, provides support to seniors and their families while transitioning to assisted living. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

3 Ways to Make It Easier for Seniors to Part with a Home

3 Ways to Make It Easier for Seniors to Part with a Home

Dear Donna,

My mom is moving to an assisted living community in a few weeks, and she is having anxiety surrounding the move. She has lived in her home for over 40 years, and it is challenging for her to accept that she will be leaving. She knows the move is best for her safety, but the memories she has in her home are making it difficult for her to let go.

How can I make it easier for her to part with the place she has called home for most of her life?

Sincerely,

Jasmine from Holland, MI

Making It Easier to Part with a Senior’s Home

Dear Jasmine,

Moving can be tough at any age. It can be more challenging for seniors who have lived in their house for a long time. They have years of memories in their home, including raising their children and spending holidays with friends and family. These recollections create an emotional attachment to their home and can prevent them from wanting to leave.

Here are a few ways to make it easier for a senior loved one to part with a home.

Making It Easier for Seniors to Part with Their Home

  1. Dig up perennials to plant in their new garden

Some seniors may find it easier to part with their home if they can take a piece of the home with them. Taking perennials from their old yard to plant in their new garden can be an excellent option. Before your loved one moves, help them dig up a few of their favorite plants and plant them in their new garden. Not only is gardening great for senior health, but every time your loved one sees their perennials, they will remember where they used to live.

  1. Make a video of parties that happened at the home

Another way you can make it easier for your loved one to move is by creating a video of parties and special events that took place in their house. If you don’t have much video footage, you can create a slideshow of photos instead. Your loved one will love watching their video and reminiscing whenever they miss their home.

  1. Have a going away party

Having a going away party is another way you can help your senior loved one part with their home. Invite all their friends and family over the night before they leave. This is a fun way to help seniors find closure and prepare for the new chapter in their life.

Remember to Be Understanding

The best way you can help your loved one part with their home is to be there for them when they need you. Change can be difficult for anyone. Understand that your loved one is going through a transition. Sometimes, the only thing they need from you is a listening ear.

I hope these tips make it easier for your loved one to part with their home. Good luck!

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn Assisted Living location, offers support to seniors and their families while they transition to assisted living. Contact us for more information or to schedule a private tour.

3 Ways Assisted Living Is Different Than a Nursing Home

3 Ways Assisted Living Is Different Than a Nursing Home

Dear Donna,

My mom fell recently, and she no longer feels safe on her own. She wants to find an independent living arrangement where she can have access to assistance if needed. We have narrowed down her options to an assisted living community or a nursing home, but are having trouble understanding how they differ.

How is assisted living different than a nursing home?

Lauren from Saline, MI

Understanding the Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Dear Lauren,

It’s common for family caregivers to have difficulty understanding the difference between assisted living and nursing homes. Many families lack experience with senior living and feel unprepared to make decisions about their loved one’s care.

Understanding their differences is the first step toward helping a loved one find an option that meets their needs.

3 Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

  1. Amount of care provided.

The main difference between an assisted living community and a nursing home is the amount of care provided. Nursing homes offer a higher level of care. If your loved one requires ample assistance with activities of daily living, needs medical care, or is unable to move without help, they would likely benefit from a nursing home.

Seniors who require assistance with personal care and the activities of daily living will typically benefit from assisted living. Seniors may move to assisted living communities because they suffer from mobility issues or have a minor cognitive impairment.

  1. Type of living space.

Another difference between nursing homes and assisted living communities is the living space. A nursing home resident typically shares a bedroom and bathroom with one other person, although some do offer private suites. There are fewer common areas than in an assisted living community and little to no outdoor space. This is largely because nursing homes are primarily designed for seniors who need more complex medical care. Nursing homes often resemble a hospital.

Assisted living communities, on the other hand, offer more independence and privacy. Residents live in private or shared apartments. Most apartments have small kitchenettes and a living room. Assisted living apartments more closely resemble a luxury apartment with common living spaces and plenty of outdoor areas to enjoy nature.

  1. Activities offered to residents.

Because nursing homes are designed for seniors who need medical care, they offer limited life enrichment programs. Some nursing homes have staff or volunteers who work one-on-one with residents, such as reading to them or helping write letters.

Assisted living communities typically offer a full schedule of activities to keep residents socially active and engaged. Heritage Senior Communities, for example, publishes a calendar full of social events and outings every month. Seniors can participate in a variety of options including chair yoga, family night, and church services.

Finding Senior Care for a Loved One Takes Time

Navigating the maze of senior care options takes time and patience. By carefully exploring each option, you can help your senior loved one make a decision that enhances their quality of life.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the differences between nursing homes and assisted living!

Sincerely,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, are fully licensed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) as homes for the aged. This means we support and care for our residents in a comfortable, home-like setting. To learn more about our communities, we invite you to schedule a private tour.

How to Connect with an Online Caregiver Support Group

How to Connect with an Online Caregiver Support Group

Dear Donna,

I am the primary caregiver for my mother, who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I have been feeling lonely lately, but I am having trouble connecting with people who understand the challenges I am facing. I am interested in joining an online support group, but unsure where to start.

How do I connect with an online caregiver support group?

Laura from Saline, MI

Online Support Groups for Caregivers

Dear Laura,

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease can be lonely, especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to about your challenges. An online support group can be a great resource to connect with caregivers experiencing similar difficulties.

Here are a few benefits of an online support group:

  • They are available any time of day.
  • You can swap advice with other caregivers.
  • For some, it is more comfortable to confide in an online group than in-person.
  • You have access to a pool of resources.

Connecting with an Online Caregiver Support Group

  1. Find your group

When joining a support group, be selective. Find a group that is friendly, helpful, and engaged. You can use a few methods to find a group:

  • Organizations: Organizations that support your loved one’s condition or situation can be a great way to find a group. For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, consult the Alzheimer’s Association. Ask them if they lead any online support groups or if they can refer any to you.
  • Recommendations: Asking for recommendations is another great way to find a group. You can ask friends and family, or any other person you trust.
  • Social media: Social media is another resource for finding groups. Facebook and LinkedIn host groups and allow you to search for them directly on their platform. They will even let you know how many members belong to the group and how many posts were recently shared.
  1. Learn the community

Once you find a group you are interested in, take time to read the community guidelines. On Facebook, the group will often allow you to view the group rules before you request to join.

Before participating, observe the conversations happening in the group. Pay attention to how members interact with one another. Once you feel like you understand their culture and etiquette, you can introduce yourself. Many groups have a thread dedicated to new member introductions.

  1. Start engaging

Once you’ve introduced yourself and have a good understanding of the culture, you can join conversations. Remember that online relationships work the same way as in-person relationships. It’s great to ask questions, but also offer support from your own experiences when you can.

Finding Emotional Support Through Online Groups

Regardless of what group you join, participating in a caregiver support group can provide you with the emotional support you need to complete your duties and be there for your loved one.

I hope this helps you find and connect with an online caregiver support group!

Regards,

Donna

 

Heritage Senior Communities

Many of our senior communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living community, offer specialized care for people with dementia. Contact us today to learn more about our memory care programs.

Decoding Senior Living Lingo

Decoding Senior Living Lingo

Dear Donna,

I am helping my parents explore their senior living options. I keep coming across terminology I have never heard before.

Can you help me decode senior living lingo?

Sincerely,

Tina

Understanding Senior Living Lingo

Dear Tina,

Senior living is a new topic for most families, so it’s understandable that many become overwhelmed when they start exploring their options. On top of that, the industry is complicated and full of jargon. Here are a few common terms you may come across during your search for senior living:

  • Activities of daily living (ADLs): The everyday self-care tasks a person must be able to complete to remain independent. These tasks commonly include feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and moving from one place to another.
  • Adult day care: A program for adults who need supervision or support during the day.
  • Aging in place: When a person chooses to live in their home as they age.
  • Assisted living: A community that provides seniors with the support they need to perform necessary daily tasks while maintaining as much independence as possible.
  • Continuum of care: The variety of senior care options available at a community. Heritage Senior Communities, for example, offers independent living, licensed assisted living, specialized dementia care, and respite care.
  • Convalescent home: A home that provides short-term care and recovery to patients after major surgery or long-term illness.
  • Home care: Nonmedical assistance provided to seniors in their home. Services typically include those that enable the senior to live on their own.
  • Home health care: Health care services given at the senior’s home to help them recover from an illness or injury. Services may include wound care, patient and caregiver education, or monitoring a health condition.
  • Hospice: A type of care that occurs at the end of a person’s life. It focuses on improving their comfort and quality of life as opposed to trying to cure them.
  • Independent living: A senior living option that allows seniors to maintain their independence without the responsibilities that come with owning a home.
  • Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs): The activities necessary for fundamental living, but not necessary to live independently. They include tasks like managing finances and transportation.
  • Long-term care: Medical or support services provided to seniors who have lost some or all of their ability to function. It usually refers to nursing home care.
  • Nursing home: A temporary place to stay that provides 24-hour nursing care for residents with chronic conditions.
  • Occupational therapy: A type of therapy that helps seniors relearn activities of daily living.
  • Palliative care: A type of care that specializes in relieving pain and chronic suffering for patients. Similar to hospice care, palliative care focuses on improving the senior’s overall quality of life. The main difference is that palliative care can begin at diagnosis, while hospice care only begins when it’s clear that the illness is life-limiting.
  • Physical therapy: A type of therapy that introduces specific exercises to improve physical mobility, strength, and overall functioning. It is usually provided after a fall, stroke, or other accident.
  • Sandwich generation: Adult children who care for both their aging parents and their own children.
  • Senior apartments: Housing units for independent adults who meet a minimum age requirement.
  • Senior Move Manager: Professionals that specialize in helping seniors relocate.
  • Respite care: Care that temporarily relieves a primary caregiver from their caregiving responsibilities. This type of care may be provided in the senior’s home or during a short stay in a senior living community. Respite care may last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks depending on individual need.

As you can see, there is a lot to learn about senior living. Hopefully, this gives you a good start!

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, offers support to seniors and their families exploring senior living options. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.