Aging Parents: Home Care Options and Choosing a Facility

For older adults and their families, deciding when to look for in home help or a full-time care facility can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many different options depending on the type of care needed by the individual, and families can discuss what would be best. Medicare covers certain types of help, such as outpatient physical, speech or occupational therapy after an injury or fall. At home or additional visits not related to an injury may not be covered but can be very beneficial to older adults living at home.

Message #2:  There are many other services available that aren’t covered by Medicare, from assisting with dressing, bathing or cooking, to purchasing groceries. Adult daycare is another option for adults living with family that can use additional help during the day. These facilities care for the adults during the day and provide activities that they can participate in. Some also offer doctor’s appointments on the premises.

Message #3: At some point, an aging parent may need full time assistance in a skilled nursing facility. Skilled nursing facilities can help adults manage a chronic illness or multiple illnesses, manage medications and provide around the clock care. Talking to your loved one’s primary care physician can help you both decide what is best for them, and the physician can provide recommendations. You can also search for local facilities on Medicare.gov, which ranks each place. Most importantly, tour any place you’re considering with your loved one to see if it feels like the right fit and to include them in the decision-making process.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Bill Plonk is a board-certified primary care physician with Mebane Medical Clinic and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Plonk completed medical school at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1989 and his family and community medicine residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia Hospital and Clinics in 1992. He completed a fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in 2004. Dr. Plonk is board certified in Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.