Long-Term Care: Choosing the Right Place

Many of us hope to stay in our homes as we grow older. Often we are able to do that. But later in life-usually by our 80s and 90s-some of us need a hand with everyday activities like shopping, cooking, or bathing. A few of us need more help on a regular basis. Maybe that means it's time to move to a place where expert care is available around-the-clock.

Where to start

Do you think that your family member can't live at home any longer? It might be your husband or wife, a parent, aunt or uncle, or even a grandparent. You've added a hand rail on the front steps and grab bars in the bathroom. You made plans for a home health aide to come to the house every day. You arranged for help with meals, and you visit every day. But now you wonder if staying at home is the best choice. Where do you go for help? Here are some answers to that and other questions that you might have as you look for the best place for you or your relative to live.

Sometimes the need for help grows over time. For example, Bob is 87 years old. He has lived alone since his wife died ten years ago. For the last few years, he has needed more and more help doing things for himself. First, he had trouble making meals. So, he ate a big lunch at the local senior center until last year when he gave up driving. Now sometimes his daughter drops off meals. Other times meals are delivered by a local program. The stairs in his house are getting too hard to climb. Bob also forgets more and more things. He often forgets to take his blood pressure medicine. He has also left the burner on the stove turned on several times. He doesn't want to move in with his daughter and her family, so Bob and his daughter are looking for a new place for him to live.