The level of care for an elderly loved one can be determined by how much assistance they need with daily living activities and what health conditions they have. As people age, taking care of basic tasks, such as dressing, grooming, meal preparation and mobility, can become increasingly difficult and may require additional support. It’s also common for seniors to deal with challenging health issues, including heart disease, diabetes or memory loss from Alzheimer’s or dementia, making it unsafe for them to live alone. Health needs can also change over time, resulting in an elderly loved one requiring more or less intensive care. 

There are various senior care options available to meet the shifting needs of older adults, ensuring they receive the appropriate care for their conditions. These options range from home care visits by a trained caregiver to secure residential communities that provide 24-hour supervision and skilled nursing services. 

Can an Elderly Relative Continue Living at Home?

Elderly relatives who need some assistance with daily living activities but are otherwise in good health may benefit from home care services to allow them to continue living at home. A personal care attendant comes to your loved one’s home as often as needed to help with personal care tasks, light housekeeping or transportation to medical appointments and social activities. This option provides just enough assistance to help seniors maintain their independence while staying in the comfort and privacy of their own home. However, home care doesn’t provide skilled nursing services to treat and monitor ongoing health conditions. 

Home health care is another type of at-home service where trained health care professionals, such as home health aides, nurses and therapists, conduct home visits to administer specialized services. This type of care can be helpful for seniors dealing with various medical conditions, recovering from an injury or illness or using medical equipment requiring routine maintenance, such as home oxygen or catheters. Home health care can be temporary or long-term if your loved one’s needs change, but it doesn’t provide 24-hour medical supervision. 

When to Consider a Residential Facility

A residential facility should be considered when a loved one needs more assistance than they can receive at home or around-the-clock medical supervision. Assisted living facilities offer similar services to home care, such as help with daily living activities, housekeeping and transportation, but staff is available 24/7. Many facilities offer secure memory care units to treat seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia and prevent them from wandering or putting themselves in danger. Some facilities also have trained staff on-site, including registered nurses and physical therapists, for seniors needing medical attention. This level of care is ideal for older adults who can live somewhat independently but need extra support with daily tasks. 

Seniors requiring 24-hour medical supervision may benefit more from a nursing home. In these facilities, trained medical staff is available at all times to monitor your loved one’s health and provide nursing services, including insulin injections, diabetes monitoring, infection control and vision or hearing treatment. Nursing homes can also be used for short-term recovery or rehabilitative services. Nursing homes usually offer the highest level of care for seniors who require the most assistance to maintain their quality of life.