Senior Care Options, Products, and Facilities

by Marcus Pickett

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Looking for information on senior care options? If so, you've come to the right place. This article won't tell you everything you need to know about senior care, but it will enumerate your basic options, loose cost estimates. You should be able to identify some pros and cons for each option, but circumstance and financial resources often dictate the right solution in short order. As a helpful reminder, we've also included common senior care products that you may want to consider in coordination with various senior care options.

Calculating the Annual Cost of Senior Care Options

You may be frustrated by the wide range quoted for the various facilities. In truth, this range isn't even all-inclusive, and some outlying situations and factors can allow for unusually cheap or expensive senior care. But we wanted to give you at least a rough idea of what you might be looking at when it comes to annual care expenses:

Adult Day Care ($10,000-$20,000/year)
The name pretty much sums up the function and need of these facilities. Rather than send your three year-old to day care, you may have an elderly parent or spouse for whom you need similar assistance. You can adequately care for them in the evenings, but you need some help during your own work hours. The factors here are obvious: Along with your location, the numbers of hours per week and the degree of luxury, comfort, and entertainment you want for your loved one will determine your annual costs.

In-Home Senior Care ($20,000-$100,000/year)
Not all of your senior care options are necessarily located within institutional facilities. You can receive various levels of senior care in your home. Naturally, individual needs vary widely. A senior with poor eyesight may need someone to read a book or newspaper out loud for a few hours a day. A senior with poor physical health and/or cognitive impairment may need skilled, round-the-clock health care services. Keep in mind that reasonable in-home care may also involve home renovations to increase mobility and accessibility within the home.

Assisted Living Care Facility ($25,000-$45,000/year)
These facilities are designed for seniors with reasonable mobility and mental health but need some help with everyday chores and activities. Mowing the lawn and cooking meals everyday can take their toll on even middle-aged persons with back pain. Assisted living care facilities are interested in optimizing an individual's independence. Factors that determine your annual costs will be degree of personal services and luxuries (fitness trainers, nutritionists, community entertainment, etc.) and your location. The average annual cost for an assisted living facility in Maine is $47,000; in Missouri, it's $21,000.

Nursing Home Facilities ($40,000-$100,000)
Nursing homes may no longer be the draconian institutions that senior citizens have feared for generations, but there is still a wide variety of services and designed care programs that will affect both the experience of your loved one and the annual cost. Again, there will be a huge discrepancy in costs depending on where you live. You want to make sure you're getting good value for your senior care dollars, especially since Medicare covers only a marginal portion of these costs, but you should also be able to expect and find a basic level of health care and personal services.

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Senior Care Products
Along with your larger plan for senior care, there is a good chance you'll need to augment your daily routine with some senior care products. There are dozens, even hundreds, of different items for senior citizens. You probably won't need them all, but you almost certainly need a few. The cost of these products varies even more than different care facilities. You might be able to find an elevated toilet seat for $20, while the installation of a residential elevator might cost $25,000 or more. Here are some senior care products, broken down by category:

Bathroom: elevated toilet seat, shower bench, walk-in bathtub, grab bars, easy-to-reach counters and cabinets.

Kitchen/Dining: jar openers, easy grip utensils, eating trays, easy-to-reach counters and cabinets.

Other Rooms: rocker lightswitches, sleep aides, security alarms, modified telephones, reading machines, no-slip floor coverings.

Mobility: crutches, wheelchairs, ramps, transfer boards, transfer lifts, chair lifts, residential elevators.

Medical Supplies: heart monitors, pill organizer, incontinence supplies, oxygen machine.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.