Finding Resources for Elder Care in Florida – Navigating the Waters

Dementia and Alzheimer’s can rob an elderly person’s mind of many of their treasured memories, and can change their personality and life style. Because of these and other illnesses, often seniors end up living in nursing homes or senior care facilities where only their basic physical needs are met by the facility staff.

We interviewed a Certified Nurse Assistant working in a skilled nursing facility to determine how she finds time to meet all of her patient’s needs. Her answer underscores the fact that most residents receive basic care, but not “quality of life” care. She told us that most of the time it’s those patients who are causing a disturbance or may be in danger of harming themselves who are the ones that get her attention. Even then she can only take care of the immediate problem. It’s rare that she finds the time to become personally acquainted with her elderly residents.

Although this is true with many facilities, the need for more personalized care is now, at least in some cases, being recognized. Assisted living facilities that offer specialized memory care programs — some using art, music and dance or physical activities — are finding great success with increasing the quality of life for those seniors who are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Many care facilities across the nation are adding these programs in order to better serve their elderly residents. If you cannot find a facility with these types of programs in your area, home care may be another option.

Consider this real experience. When Nora would visit her elderly father in the nursing home she would find him sitting in a chair, slumped over and disinterested in his surroundings. By the time she and her young children finished their visit, however, he was alert and talking to them. Feeling he would do better in her home environment, Nora enlisted the services of a Geriatric Care Manager to evaluate her father and determine what would be needed for his care at home so he could get the social stimulation he needed.

A Geriatric Care Manager can be a very valuable local asset to family members when it becomes necessary to look at alternatives for their senior loved one’s long term care. Geriatric Care Managers work with all members of the family to educate them about local resources and coordinating care.

Some Florida elder care services that are provided by Geriatric Care Managers are:

•Make an assessment about the type of care the senior needs
•Develop a care plan for care for the loved one’s current and future care
•Work with the senior’s physicians in getting medical support
•Find home care services that can help meet the family’s needs
•Provide assistance to families with finding legal and financial resources

Appropriate home care services are also often necessary when a change in environment, such as changing from living alone to needing assistance, is called for. Home care services vary depending on the care that is needed, and may change as caregiving requirements change in regard to the physical or mental health of the elderly person.

Some types of available home care are:

•Home health care companies which provide nurses, physical therapists, social workers and aides that will assist with basic health care such as changing bandages, taking vital signs and helping with medication as well as a host of other skilled needs.

•Non-medical home providers who can help the senior with bathing, dressing, meals, ambulating, chores, errands, housekeeping and much, much more.

Home care personnel are also skilled in working with the spouse and extended family members of the ailing loved one to provide needed services and support in the home. They add consistency in the senior’s care and are available in times of crisis or in the need to add additional services.

With help from her Geriatric Care Manager, Nora decided to bring her father to her home for his care. She and the Florida elder care manager worked with her father’s doctor who prescribed a physical therapist and a nurse’s aid to come to the home to work with her father. A non-medical home care company was also employed to help with his daily bathing and dressing.

Another resource that is available to families, and is not used as often as it should be, is hospice. Hospice care is provided in the home or in a hospice facility, hospital or nursing home. When a senior’s illness is terminal, hospice service is provided by a team which includes doctors, nurses, grief counselors, aides and social workers as needed. These services can be provided with no out-of-pocket cost to the senior or their family, as they are funded by Medicare. In her internet article, Naomi Naierman, President and CEO of the American Hospice Foundation stated, “As a Medicare beneficiary, you are entitled to the Medicare Hospice Benefit without additional premiums. If you are enrolled in a managed care organization (MCO) you have access to this benefit, even if the MCO does not cover hospice services.”

The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the following hospice services in full:

•Skilled nursing services
•Volunteer Services
•Physician visits
•Skilled therapy
•Home health aide visits
•Medical social services
•Spiritual counseling
•Nutrition counseling
•Bereavement support for the family

If you are unsure of where to start with meeting your loved one’s unique needs, a Florida elder care Geriatric Care Manager can provide a medical and psycho-social assessment, and can provide resources and recommendations to assist your family with a comprehensive care plan.

For more information about Florida elder care, contact Advocare at 888-615-1818 or 954-349-3133 or email them today.

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