How to Choose the Right Type of Care for your Loved One

When your family member or loved one can no longer care for themselves in a full capacity, they could need additional help. This could mean finding a professional caregiver who can provide in-home help, having a family member or a group of loved ones work together to provide care or having the person relocate to a new community or care facility.

Choosing the best care option for your loved one can be a lengthy process, but you want to be sure you select the most appropriate option for them. You need to be sure they can receive the daily assistance they need, the level of medical care and monitoring they require and feel comfortable and safe. Below are some things to consider when choosing the best care option:

  1. Determine the Level of Care Needed

The first step in finding the right care is determining the level of assistance your loved one needs. Some people may only need minor help in day-to-day life, such as someone to help with household duties, chores and errands. Others, however, may need more hands-on and around-the-clock medical care. Determining what your loved one can and can’t do for themselves could be the start to choosing the best care solution for them.

If your loved one needs light assistance, but generally can care for themselves, in-home care could be beneficial to them. This allows them the freedom they want with the support they need. They could get help light housekeeping, grocery shopping, grooming or whatever else they need. If they require a little more help, such as with bathing or other personal care, this should be considered when choosing a service.

In instances where your loved one needs more care and medical help, finding a facility that provides constant care could be considered. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options available depending on the level of a care a person needs. It is important to research and learn the difference between independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and more. Once you know what your loved one needs, you can begin the proper planning.

  1. If Considering a Facility, Learn the Options

Seniors have a variety of care options when it comes to live-in facilities. Generally, the options range from more independent apartment-style homes to nursing homes, which provide extensive medical treatments and monitoring. It is important to learn what your loved one wants and which type of care facility most closely aligns with his or her needs and desires.

For seniors who still can provide basic care for themselves but may need help with dressing, bathing, eating or other similar tasks, an assisted living facility could be considered. These communities specialize in providing care and supervision, and they often include planned activities, housekeeping and laundry, transportation, meals, exercise and wellness programs.

If seniors need even less care, independent living communities could be considered. The communities, also called retirement communities, provide older adults who have limited care needs a simplified lifestyle. They can downsize their lives, and they can utilize amenities such as fitness programs, communal meals and more. The idea is to provide an easy way of life with fewer worries.

If your loved one does need more medical assistance, you may want to consider a nursing home. Some people are unsure of nursing homes, and often the name alone carries a negative stigma. Nursing homes, however, can provide care to those with illnesses or mental conditions who require full-time monitoring and medical care. Most residents in skilled nursing facilities live in semi-private or private rooms, and they receive more hands-on care.

There also are several options for people who suffer from memory care disorders, like Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive issues. Employees at these facilities are trained and experienced in dealing with patients who have these specific needs. They know how to work with these patients, and they can provide the unique level of care they need.

  1. Research and Visit Local Facilities

If you think a facility with a live-in option could a good fit for your loved one, it is important to research them thoroughly. No matter the type of care you choose, you need to know what your local options are, how they differ from each other and their history of dealing with residents and patients. You want to be sure the facility is clean, safe and can provide exactly what your loved one needs.

When beginning your research, you should visit websites where you can compare the facilities. The Canadian Institute for Health Information has made public the performance indicators for more than 1,000 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. You can learn more about the safety at each facility, including falls within the last 30 days, restraint use and more. You also could view sites with resident and customer reviews.

Additionally, you should be sure to visit local facilities to learn more about them. You cannot rely simply on information and photographs on the internet. You should communicate with employees and the director in person, learn more about their staff turnover rate and see how the employees interact with other residents. If possible, you should bring your loved one to the facility to see what they think of the possible residence.

  1. Discover What In-Home Care Can Provide

If your loved one does not want to leave his or her home, there still are plenty of care options available. In-home care services may be the right choice if your loved only needs minor assistance with daily activities and enjoys a close network of nearby family and friends. Some may provide more in-depth personal care, depending on the organization, but they generally do not provide medical assistance.

Home health agencies, however, can provide medical care in your home. According to the Canadian Home Care Association, home care is an array of services for people of all ages, provided in the home and community setting, that encompasses health promotion end-of-life care, rehabilitation, support and maintenance, support for the family caregiver and more.

Before selecting in-home care, there are other factors you may need to consider. For example, if your loved ones remain in their homes, will they be near friends and family? Will they be near medical assistance, if needed? Will they have the accessibility they need to move freely in their home? Do they have the ability and the finances to maintain the home? All of this should be considered when you and your loved one decide.

  1. Make Sure the Care is Affordable

No matter the type of care you choose, you need to be sure it is affordable. Choosing a caregiver service or a facility that does not align with your budget can be detrimental to an elderly person in need of additional care. You want to be sure you can sustain the level and care they need, and you do not want to subject them to a plethora of changes in their care and living situations.

Websites like A Place For Mom can help you understand more about what your payment options may be and the costs associated with each type of facility in your area. Once you narrow down your search, you should meet with the facility administrators to discuss the specific costs at that location and what that all includes. It is important to know upfront what services and care options you would be paying for.


When choosing a care option for your loved one, you should know what is available and what most closely aligns with their needs. You want to be sure they are capable of getting the assistance and medical care they need, but you also want to ensure they are happy. A person’s quality of life largely relies on their ability to feel comfortable, safe and content where they are. Choosing a care option that can fulfill all of their needs can keep them mentally and physically healthy for years to come.

About the Author

Sarah BlanchardSarah Blanchard is the marketing manager for Winburn Bequette, a nursing home abuse and neglect law firm representing clients in Arkansas and Missouri. Follow her on Google+.

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