Choosing the appropriate degree of care for your aging parent or loved one requires you to make a multitude of difficult decisions. Of these, is the option of long-term care, hospice care or moving from long-term care to hospice care.
Long-term care providers serve individuals needing varying degrees of assistance in their daily lives. Should your loved one need assistance for a few hours with specific tasks or daily access and assistance for personal and/or medical needs, there are a variety of assisted-living services ranging from in-home assistance to nursing homes which can fill those needs. Individuals best suited for long-term care have generally stable physical health, are able ward off infection without significant medical intervention and typically are expected to live longer than six months to a year. However, as your loved one continues to age, their care needs may change.
Should your loved one be diagnosed with a terminal illness or their bodies are beginning to prepare for death, they may be better served by hospice care. The care administered in hospice is focused on keeping the patient pain-free and lucid, if possible, until death. Indicators your loved one may need hospice care include but are not limited to a terminal illness, significant weight loss, recurrent infections and frequent hospitalizations.
While some long-term care facilities provide hospice care, the facility your loved one receives care from may not. As an advocate for your loved one, it is crucial to know how to determine which may be better suited for the individual needing care and when is best for him or her to begin subscribing to that care. By remaining an active participant in their care and vigilant about their evolving needs as they age, you can ensure your loved one is receiving the appropriate level of care for the phase of their life requires. Dialogue between you, your loved one, their care givers and doctor is essential to your loved one’s care and comfort.
Additional reading and resources to help you:
Long-term care: http://www.medicare.gov/LongTermCare/Static/Home.asp
Care giving: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/
Care facilities in Sun City: http://www.suncityaz.org