Even Texans get to the point that they need a little help around the house. For seniors in the Dallas area and their families, several dozen options exist for senior care. Choose from in-home delivery or chore services that are available on-call to the options of assisted living, nursing homes, and continuum of care facilities that offer an array of senior services. Here are a few tips on finding the right senior living services for your needs.
For the most common types of senior care, Fort Worth and Dallas have rates that are lower than the national average according to findings in Genworth’s 2015 annual Cost of Care Survey. The median cost of a private room in a nursing home in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas is $78,475 per year. Nationally, the average rate is $91,250. The cost difference is greater for a semi-private room in a nursing home. Annually in Fort Worth, the cost is $56,940, compared to $80,300 on a national level.
When we examine other available types of senior care like home health aide, adult day services, homemaker services, and assisted living, we find that Fort Worth residents pay closer to the average national rates. For assisted living in Fort Worth, seniors paid a bit higher than the national median at $46,722 per year compared to the national average of $43,200. Seniors living in their own home in the Fort Worth area can also explore full-time services in their homes to save several thousands of dollars annually over assisted living.
Today’s costs aren’t the only thing to consider. Some types of care are expected to see costs rise steeply in coming years. As an example, Genworth predicts home care costs will grow by only 1% annually in the Fort Worth area, but assisted living could grow by 5% per year, and adult day care could rise by 11% per year over the next 5 years.
With more and more Baby Boomers retiring, there are more senior living options than ever to meet their growing needs. Seniors may find an assisted living community that is all inclusive and has everything you expect, or you may be able to design a customized program for your care that could include assistance in the home, adult day programs, and independent concierge services that would allow you to continue living in your own home. The first step is understanding what services are available.
These services are a mix of ones provided in your home and through the community designed to allow you to continue to live in your home safely and comfortably.
Homemaker services in the Fort Worth area like Comfort Keepers and Visiting Angels provide services in the home like cooking, basic housekeeping, and simple personal care like assisting with grooming or bathing. Most agencies serve different areas of the Fort Worth-Dallas area, so be sure to call ahead to ensure they service your neighborhood. It’s usually smart to choose a nearby service to minimize delays due to bad weather or traffic in the area.
Home health services in the Fort Worth area are available to seniors to need medical care in the home. This can include things like medication management, wound care, occupational and physical therapy, and care for diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions. Fort Worth older adults have many options with different providers including locally owned operations like Carestaf and large national chains like Encompass Home Health. Just like with homemaker services, browse for an agency near to your neighborhood for timely service.
Adult day programs in the Fort Worth area give seniors an opportunity to leave the home on weekdays to take part in a variety of activities. Options can include socialization, exercise classes, and healthy lunches all supervised while their caregiver is at work. Some programs, like the one offered by James L. West, provide specialized programs for seniors with dementia. By providing social programs and consistent routines, seniors are better able to stay active and engaged.
Independent concierge services are available for a variety of services in your home. Amazon Home Services, Rover, Porch, TaskRabbit, and Handy are just a few that can assist with everything from walking your dog to running local errands.
Before hiring a service, do a bit of research. Ask friends and family for recommendations, check online reviews, and ask the following questions.
Are they insured and bonded? If Texas requires it, do they have a license to provide services or care? Do they require workers to pass a background check? Do they provide training to staff? Is there a backup plan in case their employee can not make it during their scheduled time due to an emergency? In adult day centers, do they provide transportation to and from the center?
Seniors who like the idea of living in a care community have many options. Care can range from independent living situations all the way to dementia nursing care, with many steps in between. Some senior communities have staff to provide more than one option for care, which is typically referred to a continuum of care. By having a continuum of care the community allows seniors to begin living in the community at one level of care. For instance a senior can live in an independent apartment, and then move to another level down the road, like assisted living, if needed.
Independent living is usually in a complex or resort type setting and is available to seniors who want assistance with things like housekeeping and maintenance, but still want to live independently and maintain an active lifestyle.
Assisted living communities are the next level of care. They provide housekeeping, 24-hour on-call help with activities of daily living like grooming and transportation, and private living arrangements.
Nursing homes have nursing staff on hand and provide skilled care, therapy designed for rehabilitation, and other health care based services to seniors in need of continual long-term care to manage a chronic condition or short-term help after a hospital discharge.
Dementia care is typically offered in a nursing home setting and has specific staff trained to keep seniors calm, engaged, and active in the community. Memory care wards have tight security to reduce the risk of wandering, something commonly seen in dementia patients.
Does the community offer continuum of care options and what are the conditions? What types of services (laundry, meals, transport, etc.) are included in the monthly charge? What amenities are available for an additional fee? Some communities have personal services like a beauty salon or massage therapist on-site to purchase. Can independent concierge services help out while you’re living there? As a general rule, communities do not allow this, but you may be able to hire help with things like grocery shopping or dog walking while in the community.
The costs of senior living can seem high, but you may have more options for funding your care than you realize. Most seniors will examine their Social Security benefits and retirement accounts first. Low-income seniors can reach out to Medicaid for assistance, and military wartime veterans, and their widows may qualify for the VA Aid & Attendance pension. If you own your home, you may be able to use the equity through a reverse mortgage as long as the risks and benefits of the loan are right for you.
Fort Worth has a plethora of things to do in the area including amazing dining, art venues, and special events throughout the year. In January, Fort Worth welcomes the legendary Stock Show and Rodeo, and cowboys have loads of options at festivals in July and October. Arts and music lovers have options too, like the Fort Worth Arts Festival, the Opera Festival, and the Music Festival throughout the spring and summer. There are dozens of volunteer opportunities in the area, and seniors can reach out to an organization like VolunteerMatch.org to find the right one for you.
Hopefully, this Fort Worth senior care summary was helpful. If you’re now in the market for more details on care in the area, be sure to check out our resources on Fort Worth assisted living, respite care, support for veterans, neighborhoods, and other great guides.
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