Many elderly people who need highly skilled nursing and 24/7 surveillance have no choice but to live in nursing facilities. Others choose to move to one because of socialization and convenience of life, providing all meals and other services.
However, according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons in 2018, most elderly people prefer to stay in place. The survey found that 77% of Americans aged 50 and older said they wanted to stay in their current residence rather than move elsewhere.
This is not always possible, and certainly not easy to do. However, the benefits of better-adjusted and happier seniors — and the savings of thousands of dollars — make it worth the effort to stay at home.
How to save money and let the elderly stay at home
Genworth, a long-term care insurance provider based in Virginia, conducts an annual survey of the cost of care for retirees. The average monthly price of a private room in a nursing home in 2020 is US$8,821. The semi-private room costs US$7,756 per month. The average cost of a home health assistant in a retiree’s home is $24 per hour.
Faced with these daunting numbers, home care workers often think that it makes sense to quit their jobs so that they can concentrate on caring for the elderly instead of paying people to do the work.
Don’t do this, financial journalist Jean Chatzky said he is an ambassador for the American Association of Retired Persons. She and others recently shared advice on caring for the elderly in a webinar.
“The amount they spend on nursing may be equal to their income. But when you consider all other factors, such as retirement contributions, social security credits, career trajectory, it makes sense to continue working,” Chatsky said.
The following are various options for keeping seniors at home and reducing the cost of doing so.
Explore adult group care plans
Find a good place for the elderly to spend their time, and family members who are also caregivers can work. This allows the elderly to stay at home while the caregivers can continue to work.
A plan to provide group care for adults during the day may be the key to keeping caregivers working.
There are various price and level of care options. Seniors can spend up to 10 hours a day playing cognitive games, exercising, making crafts, eating a meal or two, and connecting with others.
To understand the benefits of group day programs for seniors and paid caregivers at home, consider the pros and cons of having your child go to preschool and home care. The cost is lower, and there is more structure and social interaction with the team.
There are many options for care plans for adults outside the home:
Non-profit group adult care
Some churches and other non-profit organizations provide adult care programs five days a week all day long. Although the church has provided preschool programs for children for more than a century, the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina was one of the first churches to develop adult care programs for the elderly in 1991. The Ruth Sheet Center now takes care of 25. When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, seniors can be allowed up to 32 people per day.
Ten hours of care costs US$71, which is approximately US$7 per hour.
The program operates in the fellowship hall of the church, accepting elderly people with varying degrees of physical and cognitive abilities. If they have Alzheimer’s disease, are in a wheelchair or need help to get to the bathroom, that’s okay.
“We are doing cognitive activities throughout the day. It can be as simple as naming the state, which can lead to all kinds of different conversations. They may arrive in a state that someone has lived in or visited frequently, so this becomes An informal conversation,” said Matt Frazier, executive director of Sheets Center. “The whole key is to try to get everyone involved and stimulate ideas.”
A typical day at the Sheets Center includes exercise, cognitive games, crafts, morning and afternoon snacks, hot lunches, and breaks. Licensed practical nurses are responsible for helping clients who rely on insulin (which requires a little extra charge) and any urgent health issues for all clients. Everyone in the staff knows CPR and is certified as a clinical nursing assistant or patient nursing assistant.
Frazier said that they all understand the importance of getting customers involved, not just putting them in front of the movie.
When older people make Valentine’s Day gifts for family and friends, caregivers ask people to talk about past relationships or special people in their lives. In horse racing, the elderly named each of their miniature horses in their hands and explained why they chose this name.
“If someone has experience riding horses, or we have a staff member who is afraid of horses, they can tell their store,” Fraser said. “We ensure that social interaction and competition go hand in hand.”
For-profit adult day program
There are many adult daytime activities for profit. Marcia Jarrel, executive director of the Raleigh Lake Boone Trail Project, said that one is SarahCare, which carries out a wide range of activities based on the capabilities of its clients.
“The care plan is developed with family and employees to help carry out meaningful and appropriate activities,” she said.
SarahCare provides senior citizens in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas Day plan. Prices vary, but usually range from US$60 for 4 hours and a half day to US$85 for 11 hours a day, which includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
SarahCare offers various groups and personalized activities. Each client plans his own custom day, which can include technical coaching, letter writing, painting, bowling and nearly 100 other activities.
It also engages the community. High school students come to play chess or other activities, and the senior students themselves may go to the children’s daycare center to shake the baby or roll the ball with the toddler.
If the home care staff at home can’t bathe the elderly, SarahCare can choose 21 dollars. The one-way transportation cost is US$14, and the round-trip cost is US$28.
Visit National Association of Regional Agencies on Aging Look for local agencies that can guide you to participate in adult care plans in your area and financial plans that may help pay for them.
View local community center
Many cities and counties have one or several senior centers that provide free or even free courses, activities, meals, friendships and other services. Family caregivers can let their elderly get out of the car for a few hours, so that the elderly have an interesting outing, while the caregivers have a little time.
This can be a valuable supplement to home care for a limited time several times a week, but most senior centers do not provide continuous care throughout the day. However, some do have one-day courses. Clients need to be healthy and able to complete the plan on their own.
Important note: don’t call it daycare
No matter what you find that your elderly enjoy during the day, calling it a “daycare” (a term associated with small children) may be an insult to the elderly. Fraser said that his client’s family would say things like “You are going to your show today,” “Go to see friends,” “Go to church,” or simply: “It’s time to go to the bed sheet center.”
DIY home care
Three years ago, when their mother fell and broke her shoulder at the age of 89, sisters Lynn Allen and Donna Warren started a doubles home care program, as their parents in Raleigh grew older. Growth, the plan will only increase. Two years ago, their father had a liver abscess, but he could not be diagnosed, causing damage to his heart, kidneys and liver.
When he returned home from the hospital, the two sisters learned to give him intravenous injections and care for his abscess.
Both parents are better now, but when they are 92 and 95 years old, their health is deteriorating. Nevertheless, their daughters can still allow them to stay in their homes without having to pay for any external assistance.
Alan is a local, so she spends almost every other day with her parents. Warren lives in a place two hours away from Virginia, comes to work every three weeks for five days, and brings a lot of meals each time.
“Fortunately, we are all retired and our children have grown up. We decided to do this for them as much as possible,” Allen said. “We save a lot of money, and this is our parents prefer (rather) move into a place. They will spend so much money there soon.”
They brought in limited external help for medical insurance coverage, and at the same time learned several techniques that make home care easier and more affordable.
“The most difficult medical problem we had to figure out was when Dad was discharged from Duke University Hospital. We had to let him continue to receive antibiotic treatment,” Allen said. The hospital gave them free classes, and they didn’t leave until they really knew what they were doing.
Allen’s mother suffers from wet macular degeneration and has very limited vision. Medical insurance fully covers an occupational therapist to help her continue her daily work. The therapist placed bright spots on the switches of the oven, microwave, and washing machine to make them easier to operate.
“Medicare also provides other visual aids, such as special lighting and eye masks. Occupational therapists come once a week for two hours at a time to help mothers learn to do these things on their own when we are away,” Allen said.
At the same time, her father’s attending doctor believed that physical therapy could help his patients regain their physical strength and improve his mobility. A physical therapist assessed the situation and spent several weeks teaching the routines of leg raising and arm exercises. The evaluation and actual treatment are fully covered by medical insurance.
- Free remote control for the visually impaired
Through an occupational therapist, Allen learned that their local cable company would give them an oversized remote control with big buttons so that her mother can now turn the TV on and off and change the channel and volume. Even if she can’t see it well, she can listen and provide help to her husband with limited mobility.
Another helpful thing is the addition of a “chair lift” to the home. These chairs include various reclining positions and a remote control that can be lifted and tilted forward to help people with mobility impairments change from sitting to standing. Prices start at approximately US$300.
When Allen and Warren decided to keep their parents at home as long as possible, they realized they needed to remodel their bathroom so that the door was large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and removed the 6-inch ledge at the bottom of the shower door. A lot of work is required, such as moving walls and remodeling pipes.
“We made it all on one floor and added armrests and folding seats in the shower,” Allen said. The job exceeded their expectations and was about $14,000.
“This is a lot of money, but for two people, it may be the cost of a nursing home for one or two months,” she said. “We did this three years ago, and it makes it easier for all of us.”
Research on the benefits of veterans
VA has a program called Veterans assistance and attendance It provides a variety of services and money to veterans aged 65 and above who are honorably retired.
Veterans with a net worth of no more than US$129,094 may be eligible to receive US$2,170 or more per month to pay for multiple types of advanced care, including nursing homes, memory care, and adult day services.
Veterans who meet the above requirements are also eligible for financial assistance in remodeling the bathroom so that they can live at home, have a disability or grow older. The lifetime benefit for eligible service-related disabled veterans is $6,800, and the lifetime benefit for non-service-related disabled veterans is $2,000.
Katherine Snow Smith is a staff writer for The Penny Hoarder and Rules of Southern Rulebreakers: Mistakes and Lessons.