Foster Care for Seniors
We have all heard about foster care for children or teens, but you may not know that there are similar programs for seniors or adults with disabilities. These group homes enable a person to live somewhat independently while also receiving the care they require in a smaller and more intimate setting. LiveWell Placements explores the topic further and provides advice on choosing the best living option for yourself or a loved one.
What is adult foster care?
An adult foster home must be licensed by the local or state Department of Family Services or Office of Housing and Adult Services and supervised by a licensed professional in foster care. An adult foster care home will likely have a house manager, house parents, counselors, social workers, and legal aids. These individuals are paid to take care of the seniors who are living in the home. In addition, homes may hire private chefs and housekeeping providers. However, a critical difference between adult foster care and other types of senior housing is that care providers live in the same house as seniors in foster care. This is not the case with assisted living, active senior housing, nursing homes, or independent living for seniors.
Relatives in certain states can also provide foster care services to loved ones while receiving government compensation. They differ from the types of care described above in that the primary caregiver will be a close friend or family member rather than a professional. This is often referred to as the Caregiver Homes model. There are many complex rules regarding these situations, so it's best to speak with an expert to ensure all local laws and regulations are followed.
What are the advantages?
The advantages of adult foster care include allowing the senior as much independence as possible without sacrificing the quality of care or safety. Because adult foster homes are smaller in size than most assisted living communities, they allow for a more personal level of care. This can be especially beneficial for those with evolving health conditions such as diabetes or Alzheimer's disease. Adult foster care, in most cases, is also cost-effective.
Choosing the Right Home
If your loved one can still safely take care of themselves and needs some extra support in the comfort of their own home, you may choose to have them take advantage of home healthcare. If they need constant medical care, then an assisted living facility or nursing home is probably the best choice. However, if they need some support but also want to have companionship, then an adult foster home could be the best choice. To find out about available options in your local area, you can start with your local Department of Family Services. Another option is to ask local senior service organizations or doctors that specialize in geriatric care for recommendations. The government agency called the Administration for Community Living is also an excellent place to do research.
Once you have found some locations that might be suitable, do some additional fact-finding. LiveWell Placements has created a short checklist below to help you get started.
Ensure that you see their license and check with the state to see if there have been any complaints filed.
Make an appointment to visit but not just once. Ask to observe at a few different times, such as during an organized activity or leisure time and a meal or bedtime. You will be better able to determine the level of care and organization if you request to visit at different times.
C. Meal Plans
Ask them to provide their weekly menu. It’s essential to make sure that meals are healthy and provide the appropriate amount of nutrients.
Do they have regularly scheduled outings? Can the residents walk freely and safely in the neighborhood or around the yard? Would they have transportation to attend church if requested?
E. Medication Management
Inquire about how medication management is supervised. While highly regulated, the regulations do vary by state. Some states only allow staff to provide medication reminders unless they receive training and or certification. There can also be substantial differences in how medications are stored for safe-keeping purposes and the type of records that are kept ensuring patients are receiving the appropriate doses.
Finally, ask to speak to family members of current residents in private so you can hear directly about their experience.
Every human being deserves to have a living environment that meets their needs and helps them to thrive. A foster home can be a great option to consider because it can provide the right level of social stimulus in a family-type atmosphere. However, to ensure that your loved one gets the best care possible, it is crucial to do your homework first.