One of the biggest decisions a family may have to make is to determine
how to provide care for elderly parents or relatives (e.g. elders) when
those elders are no longer able to live independently. Families resolve
this complex and emotionally charged issue in a variety of ways. Some
families find ways to provide elders with sufficient assistance such
that they are able to safely remain in their own homes. Other families
move their elders in with them so as to personally provide care. Still
other families find that placing their elder into a care facility is
the best solution for all involved.
Finding appropriate and affordable elder care and assistance is
challenging. Determining exactly what type of care will best fit
elders' needs is a time consuming process that often requires
consultation with medical and eldercare professionals. Locating
affordable appropriate and reliable care options is also time
consuming. Different types of care are available in different places,
while costs and quality vary widely. Identifying and locating
appropriate and affordable local elder care resources can become a full
time job that is stressful for all participants. Even employers and
coworkers can be affected when the strain of eldercare planning makes
caregivers less effective at their workplace.
This document is designed as a guide to help families sort through the
various issues involved in selecting and locating appropriate eldercare
services. The document begins by describing different issues that might
cause an elder to require care. It goes on to discuss guidelines for
selecting an appropriate level of care suited to a given elder's needs.
Next, the various types of generally available elder care are
described, followed by a discussion of characteristics that should be
considered when evaluating care facilities or in-home care providers.
The document ends with a discussion of issues that can arise for
families and for elders during the transition into eldercare.