Alternative Elder Care Options

a post about Care Program | November 16, 2015

If the Summer of Love seems more real to you than the aging process, you may dread the idea of needing elder care in the not-so-distant future. The toll of your rock-and-roll years might emerge as a senior shake, rattle, and roll that limits your strength or mobility. Perhaps a sudden illness or accident has made you reconsider your living situation. While you’re not ready for a nursing home, you may well be weary and worried about taking care of yourself in your golden years.

You’re not alone.

Many members of the generation that did its own thing do not look forward to a daily regimen in a hospital-like setting. Those who have followed a healthy lifestyle may face long-term care when strength, but not vitality, fades. It’s no surprise that today’s trend is away from institutional warehousing and toward a more casual and communal way of senior living.

Sound familiar? With the demographic of individualists who once prized shared experience now hitting the senior mark, this fad will probably grow until “alternative” assisted living becomes the norm. Elder care homes with solar power, horse pastures, and organic gardens can’t be far behind.

What Are the Choices Now?

Even seniors who were born to be wild may feel best living at home. The list of home care providers is growing, and the range of services satisfies clients of every health condition. One-on-one care or assistance with the daily activities that you find most difficult can help you feel safe and plugged into the outside world.

If you have trouble getting around, a home care provider can take you to the store, appointments, classes, political rallies…. You get the picture. Your home care assistant can help to keep your home organized and your schedule under control, while looking out for your personal well-being. Those are services that any aging person can appreciate.

If you need more intensive care, locate a home health agency that offers certified nurse and doctor visits. Medication and examination services come to you, relieving you of numerous trips to the medical center. Twenty-four–hour supervision is also available, using two or more caregivers.

Not everyone has the option or desire to maintain the old homestead. If you’d rather share expenses and yet still enjoy a home environment, an elder-care group home might be right for you. Group homes for seniors may be privately owned, licensed by the state, or run by a collective or franchise, such as the Green House Project.

Green Houses are garnering interest and acclaim from elder-care and charitable foundations as revolutionary departures from the senior status quo. These micro intentional communities are purpose-built for low environmental impact and high resident service. Their design encourages community, and their management turns the conventional care-center value system on its ear. Routines and interaction are optional, but the opportunity to mingle is always there. Everything is arranged for easy living, and medical conditions are just one aspect, not the axis, of Green House life.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Alternative Elder Care?

That’s not to say that all group homes are counterculture friendly, or that all baby boomers want to let their freak flags fly. Some people welcome a more ordered lifestyle, especially when their health has been compromised. If you need an increasing level of sophisticated medical care, moving to a residential nursing home before a crisis occurs is a good idea. Once you’ve suffered a significant setback, having to move becomes a more daunting prospect.

Still telling yourself you don’t need help? Consider what a part-time elder caregiver could do for you, especially if:


  • You’ve fallen at home.
  • You don’t feel safe driving.
  • You don’t get out of bed on some days.
  • Your diet is limited because cooking is difficult.
  • You have trouble showering or getting dressed.

Even if daily personal care is still doable, you may wish you had the energy for or access to some other things you’d like to do. Home care agencies and their staff can buoy your strength by taking on the little chores that drain you, such as vacuuming, doing laundry, and carrying groceries. They can drive you to the community center, library, or hospital for classes, lectures, or fitness activities. You’ll find most of these support services available at group homes as well.

If you’re into loving the one you’re with, personal or group elder care may be for you. If you’re looking for a more conventional arrangement or one with specialized medical services, a nursing facility might be your best destination.

Benefits and Risks in Selecting Elder Care

The biggest risks in choosing the wrong assisted-living situation are health and safety threats and the need to move again. It’s ironic that businesses formed to preserve senior health often have the opposite effect, sometimes to the tune of negligence lawsuits and court awards. Checking the reputation of nursing homes and home health-care franchises with state licensing agencies is wise.

Individual caregivers or new alternative senior housing might not have a public track record, but you can use personal background-check services to unearth any relevant details. Interview the good prospects and rely on your instincts. If a caregiver or elder home doesn’t give you that mellow feeling, look elsewhere.

Self-determination boosts mental health, which can positively affect your physical state. Act now to choose how and where you will live out your advanced years. Once you eliminate the risks, you’ll enjoy the most important benefit of alternative elder care. It’s one that Jimi and Janis used to love to sing about: freedom.

If you have questions about any of the care options discussed, contact the home care experts at Already HomeCare at (843) 371-1419 .

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