Improvements in elder care services, including in-home medical care and community programs, have made it possible for many aging adults to live in their homes longer. Access to senior care services have made it easier for families to fill the role of a caregiver for longer periods of time than has been possible in the past.
While many families prefer to take care of their aging family members in the home setting, caring for an aging adult can be exhausting. For many families, there comes a point when they no longer feel like they can care for a loved one without intensive help. Making the choice to put a family member into a long-term care nursing home is a subject that many families have strong feelings about.
Families that make time to educate themselves about senior care and programs that support aging adults and their families find that once they become acquainted with others in senior community networks, their fear begins to turn to acceptance.
In addition to supporting aging family members through the process of transitioning to a nursing home, family members also need support for themselves. Even when family members have made the decision to move forward with transition to a nursing home, they may experience anxiety and begin to second guess their decisions, as the admission date draws near.
It helps to explore all of the programs and options to coordinate the best care plan possible. The state of California has a comprehensive care program for seniors, which gives the state a high measure of quality care.
Long-term care can refer to an older adult who has a chronic illness and needs around-the-clock medical care and support services. Nursing homes also offer short-term and day programs for other specific needs.
Some nursing homes offer rehabilitative care, which is appropriate for an individual who has been discharged from the hospital, but still needs services and supports in a setting that is equipped to better prepare for returning to the home setting.
Rehabilitative programs may include speech or occupational therapies. They may also include physical therapy after a surgery. Many nursing homes also offer adult day care programs for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia symptoms. Adult day care programs can also provide periods of respite care for full-time family caregivers.
The California Department on Aging offers a vast array of senior care programs for individuals age 60 and over. Here’s a quick rundown of services and supports:
Multipurpose Senior Services Program
The local Multipurpose Senior Service Program, also known as MSSP, is a state-funded program for frail, elderly clients who meet the criteria for nursing home placement, but wish to remain in the community. The program monitors community services and costs to delay or prevent individuals from needing to enter nursing home programs until the time is necessary. Applicants must be 65 years or older, live in the service area, and be eligible for Medi-Cal. The program will only provide services that match their allocated fees.
MSSP has some funds available to support the following programs. The services that may be provided with MSSP funds include:
Adult Day Care/Support Center Housing Assistance Chore and Personal Care Assistance Protective Supervision Care Management Respite Transportation Meal Services Social Services Communications Services
The U.S. Administration on Aging contracts with the 33 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that are assigned to coordinate local community service systems for supporting caregivers of seniors. The state of California believes that the way to help seniors remain in their own homes as long as possible is to support family caregivers as the primary resource for long-term care.
Each AAA decides which services they offer including caregiver information, assistance in gaining access to services, counseling and training support, temporary respite, and limited supplemental services to complement the care provided by caregivers. The AAA may partner with other public or private agencies to provide services or provide them directly by AAA staff.
Seniors or family members who wish to request services may call AAA at (800) 510-2020 (using a landline phone). They will be routed to the local Information and Assistance Provider (I&A), which will have the most current and accurate caregiver support programs and services in the local community.
The strong senior care programs in California combined with a strong commitment to supporting family caregivers indicates a high standard of the commitment to quality care for Sacramento’s senior population.
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