smart care decisions for aging parents

Smart Care Decisions for Aging Parents

As we grow older, the inevitable truth is that our parents are aging, too. Many of us will be faced with difficult decisions when caring for parents and grandparents who are living longer but unable to do so independently. Determining the best option for care can be confusing and overwhelming.

Virtua’s program director of post-acute services, Jennifer Khelil, DO, breaks down the types of services most commonly needed.

Companion Services

Some seniors simply require help with non-medical, everyday activities. A ride to the supermarket, help with laundry, or just someone to spend some time with them may be all they need.

Certified Home-Health Aides

On an hourly basis, home-health aides are able to provide more direct assistance. This may include helping patients get dressed and bathed in the morning or getting them ready for bed in the evening.

Home Care

Post-hospitalization, some people require assistance transitioning back to independent living. Home-care nurses visit the home to perform a detailed assessment of the patient’s medical needs, risk of falling, access to nutrition and beyond. The home-care nurse reports this information to the patient’s primary care physician. Physical therapists may also visit the home.

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation

Some people may need more intensive assistance following a hospital stay. The nurses in sub-acute rehabilitation can administer medication, care for wounds, provide education, and address any needs required. In addition, patients can receive physical, occupational, or speech therapy to prepare them for their transition back home.

Assisted Living

Assisted-living facilities provide a moderate level of supervision and personal care to patients who need more help with medication administration, disability management, or cognitive impairment.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care facilities provide 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily living activities like medication administration, eating, bathing and recreational activities.

Important tips to keep in mind…

  • Home-health aides and companion services are almost never covered by private insurance or Medicare.

  • Seniors must be considered “home-bound” to qualify for home care according to Medicare criteria. 

  • A patient must be hospitalized for 3 nights to qualify for sub-acute rehabilitation according to Medicare. 

  • Assisted living is not covered by insurance. 

  • Long-term care insurance is becoming more popular, but coverage and benefits vary and may not cover all costs. 

  • Long-term care is usually funded by the patient’s personal financial resources until an application can be filed with Medicaid. 

Updated January 13, 2022