Oregon leads the nation in alternatives to nursing homes for an aging parent. If you live in the Portland area, you have a lot of choices. Four options are listed below, and additional blog posts will discuss other facilities and Rosi’s experiences with her Mom. Links are provided to additional information from the State of Oregon(in blue), and private agencies (in green).
1) Care for them yourself, at your home. This is a great option if you have children because the children get to grow up in a multi-generational environment, learn about responsibility for an aging parent, hear stories from grandparents, experience a family of sharing and caring. If your parents have limited financial resources and income, they may qualify for various services, including Medicaid and you may qualify as a Family Care Provider. You would get paid by the State of Oregon at the prevailing rates for an Adult Foster Home for Seniors. You may need to make some home modifications and take classes to meet the licensing requirements.
2) Hire personal caregivers or an agency to provide part time care at their home. You or they need to do careful screenings and background checks, manage the finances and reporting for private employment, supervise and have back up caregivers if you hire privately. Not quite so much work, but higher cost if you go through an agency. This can work well when you find a good fit of stable, experienced, compassionate and reliable people with high integrity. This works best when your aging parents’ level of care is not too high, they love their home and function well in it, their cognitive abilities have not declined much, and they don’t need night care.
3) Heavy care and night care means all the hiring and screening needs of #2 plus full time, around-the-clock care, and you can expect it to cost around $8000-$15,000/month, less if you hire live-ins. You might also need to hire a professional geriatric care manager or find a great list of resources from this counselor. Benefits–your aging parents don’t have to move or feel displaced, other siblings may be willing to help out at a beloved family home, and you may get some support here.
4) Retirement Communities or Facilities–usually designed for minimal care. These are not licensed by the State of Oregon. They are the best choice when your aging parents are tired of cooking for themselves or maintaining their physical environment, want to downsize, and would like to socialize with others of their age but don’t need care. Many retirement facilities take residents on outings and to medical appointments, and the activities schedule can make the aging experience an enriching time of life. However, if their care needs increase, it is common to hire personal caregivers part time, or private agencies, as in #2.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Sometimes juggling your own life and caring for an aging parent can deplete your inner resources. Schedule an appointment with Integration Massage, near Portland’s Multnomah Village for pain and stress relief, relaxation, and a good night’s sleep.
Rosi worked as a caregiver in an adult foster home, and ran a placement service for families looking to find care for aging parents for 12 years in Southern Oregon, and has been caring for her own mother for an additional 13 years in the Portland area. She has been a massage therapist since 2009, and enjoys working both with elders and their advocates/caregivers/children who are looking for self-care or stress relief .