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February 25, 2014

Elder Care Options Continue to Expand

As seniors live longer, more families today are involved in elder care. They either provide elder care themselves in a senior loved one's home or their own home, or they arrange for a professional elder care provider. In many cases, they do a combination of the two.

With the American senior citizen population on a trajectory to double to 89 million by 2050, options for elder care are on the rise.

In-home elder care:  This option is quickly gaining ground as a growing number of seniors clearly voice their preference to live in the comfort of their own home as they age.

In-home elder care offers seniors and their families the flexibility of choosing the specific home care services they need to maintain independence and achieve a high quality of life. In-home elder care providers include home health care agencies, which provide a combination of skilled nursing and health care services and nonmedical services provided by aides, and home care agencies, which provide exclusively nonmedical, supportive care.

Home care offers personal care services, such as assistance with hygiene and mobility, as well as companionship services that include conversation, light housekeeping and meal preparation.

In-home elder care providers partner with families helping them provide quality care for their loved ones.

Continuing care communities: These provide on one campus a variety of elder care facilities to ease the transition from one level of care to the next as a senior's needs change. These communities include independent living apartments, assisted living, nursing home and rehabilitative care.

Assisted living facilities: These residential elder care facilities offer supervision and assistance with activities of daily living for those seniors for whom independent living is no longer recommended but who do not need the 24-hour care provided in a nursing home. When needed, minimal health care services can be coordinated with outside providers such as home health care nurses.

Nursing homes: Also known as skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes provide 24-hour elder care for seniors who need around-the-clock medical supervision. They include rehabilitative services, which also are available to those needing short-term care before returning to their home.

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