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Options for the aging

When an elderly loved one needs more care than a family member or a friend can provide, the decision to seek assistance can be difficult. The number of options available can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to narrow down the search.

There are a variety of housing options as well as nursing homes that people can choose from, said Vera Prosper, a senior policy analyst for the New York State Office for the Aging.

There are also home health aides that can come to the house and care for the individual on varying levels. When it comes time to make a decision regarding care, there are a number of factors to consider.

"What's the best alternative for you? How old was the person? What was the reason for decline? It doesn't even have to be a hospitalization," said Prosper. "People decline through the ageing process. Is it physical? Is it emotional or social? Is it Alzheimer's? What is the prognosis and what kind of support network do people have in place? Are they living near family members? Are they in a situation where family members can step in place and provide the care giving?"

Prosper said that the move might not necessarily be to a housing or licensed facility. More and more people are able to stay in their own homes because there is a team of caregivers, family members and friends who can keep the individual in place.

After the initial questions are asked, there is another major consideration, Prosper said.

"Can you afford it? There are subsidized housing alternatives for people with low income, and then there are private pay options for people who can afford to pay whatever the facility is providing," said Prosper. "The second consideration is what are your service needs?"

She said a person might like one alternative, but it might not provide the level of care and services a loved one needs, and even though two facilities might have the same name, they might provide different services. A large part of this depends on licensure " some facilities are licensed to provide more services than others.

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