How does an adult family home compare with hiring at-home caregivers in the Seattle area?

An at-home caregiver, if you can afford the full-time costs of it, has some distinct advantages. The sheer dedication of a caregiver’s time to one person means they have the time to understand and support that person from a physical, nutritional, medical and security point of view. They can be selected on a one to one basis, and can be understood and supported themselves while they in turn support your loved one.

An Adult Family Home, on the other hand, spreads the focus of the caregiver over a maximum of six residents in a single Adult Family Home residence. You don’t have the one-on-one focus of a single at-home caregiver, but there are distinct advantages to that fact:

  1. With six residents in the Adult Family Home, each resident does get more person to person interaction. Remember, it’s not a hospital where each person might in fact be directly struggling with health issues – that is, of course, whey a person is in hospital – so hopefully for most of the time, everyone is well, and the next best thing to living at home is a benefit to each and all. Seniors tend to suffer more from depression than younger folks – for many reasons we can go into – and regular interaction with other humans is known to mitigate that significantly, so an Adult Family Home in that respect is of tremendous value and support. So, an Adult Family Home offers the benefits of living with family, mostly, but has other advantages a family cannot offer, such as human company day and night. By the way, in the state of Washington, that maximum of six per residence is in place for any business that wishes to operate as an Adult Family Home.

  2. Round the clock attention: Unless you are loaded with cash, hiring round the clock staff to look after your loved one is very expensive. Just imagine the salary bill to cover 168 hours of caregiving a week. That’s more than four 40-hour work weeks. But in an Adult Family Home, that cost is spread over multiple people, who are likely also active for all of that time. That activity keeps them fit as a caregiver, so they can spring into action when there is an emergency.

  3. A residence that is designed with seniors in mind: Just as homes need to be ‘child-proofed’ when babies become toddlers, a different set of challenges faces the senior. They might not be as firm on their feet, or able to get into or out of bed as easily as they used to. Toddlers can split their head open on a sharp corner of a kitchen closet, but a senior can lose their footing on a wet bathroom floor. Adult Family Homes are designed with seniors in mind. Some have pressure pads beside each bed so the wake staff will know if someone gets (or falls) out of bed at three in the morning. Cords to help call for help are often installed in each bathroom. Lighting is often improved for easier viewing. I remember my father, whose eyesight deteriorated over time, could see things far more easily if we simply flooded the room with all lights we had available. A good Adult Family Home will have great lighting. More than you might need in a teenager’s bedroom, of course, but good lighting can greatly improve the quality of life for a senior. As well as being able to see things more easily, good lighting in the short dark days of Seattle will also lift the spirits of every resident.

  4. Food designed for seniors: One of the great challenges of taking care of your senior loved on at home is food. As an active parent of several children, you might be able to wing it a bit when it comes to diet and food content but elderly people often have dietary restrictions that are more stringent. High blood pressure, for instance, is more common as we get older, and seniors are often advised by doctors to avoid adding salt altogether, as well as avoid many types of canned food which are notorious for having a lot of sodium. So, you might be able to feed your family clam chowder from a can once a week, but your elderly parent might even be placed in danger if they were to ingest that level of sodium once a week. An Adult Family Home , on the other hand, prepares all of its food with seniors in mind, so they are more likely to eat better food with far less effort than if they were to remain under your care in your own home.

  5. Medical and other security procedures: An Adult Family Home will have procedures for emergencies, medication management, as well as specifically trained and experienced staff for the purposes of taking care of seniors. In many cases, retired registered nurses are in the majority of such employees, so it’s easy to imagine virtually any medical emergency can be handled efficiently and effectively.

Be sure to check back next week!