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Types of care

When more assistance is needed

Everyone wants to grow older in their own house, surrounded by the people and things they love. Sometimes that’s possible, especially with a little extra help. But sometimes a higher level of care is needed than can be provided at home.

Here are some housing options you may want to consider, depending on your parent’s needs. It is important to know, though, that many residential communities such as retirement homes or independent living facilities are not covered by Medicare, and costs can vary greatly depending on the level of skilled help needed and location.

  • Independent living – If your parent is self-sufficient, it may be possible for him or her to continue living at home while getting support from community resources, such as a meal delivery service, a housekeeping service, an in-home health aide, or nearby friends and family. When hiring outside help, be sure to conduct a thorough background check.
  • Merging households – For some families, having mom and/or dad move in with one of their children can be a good compromise between independent living and a retirement community. However, it’s important to realize that family dynamics can shift once everyone is living under the same roof. And don’t forget to consider how this change will impact not just your parent, but also your children and spouse.
  • Retirement community – Independent older adults who are looking for more social opportunities may enjoy a retirement community. These facilities usually offer individual apartments with group meals, transportation, housekeeping services and recreational activities. Some also offer basic nursing help, for an additional fee.
  • Assisted living facility – An assisted living facility gives an older adult the independence of their own room or apartment while providing extra help with housekeeping, medications and personal care. There are also group meals and social activities, and some facilities offer dedicated wings for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  • Intermediate care facility – If your parent needs around-the-clock help with tasks such as bathing and walking – but not continual nursing care – an intermediate care facility may be a good option.
  • Skilled nursing facility – Also known as a nursing home, a skilled nursing facility provides personal and nursing care 24 hours a day to adults who can no longer care for themselves. Medicare and Medicaid may help cover some of the costs of a skilled nursing facility, depending on your parent’s condition and financial situation.
  • Continuing care retirement community – These large-scale facilities feature independent, assisted living and skilled nursing options all in one community.
  • Veterans’ homes – Some states offer nursing homes dedicated specifically to veterans. These homes are not managed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs but are owned, operated and managed by state governments. To learn more, visit the National Association of State Veterans Homes.