There are many options available and a lot to consider when you are making arrangements for an elderly loved one. The level of care that is required will be the most important deciding factor then of course comes the financial situation as paying for care can be very expensive.

When care is needed, regardless of the location where the care is provided, there are two types of care, skilled care and custodial (or non-skilled) care.  Skilled care services are those that can only be provided by skilled or licensed medical personnel. Custodial care are services that help with daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, mobility etc. Both Skilled and Custodial care can be provided at home, in adult day care facilities, or in residential care settings such as nursing homes, assisted living communities, adult foster care homes etc. 


Listed below are several different options to consider when faced with the task of exploring outside services.


  • Hired Caregivers  (Personal Care / Companionship Services) - hiring help to come into the home to assist with activities of daily living or anything else that may be needed such as running errands, chores around the home, meal planning, supervision, keeping company etc.

  • Home Health Care - this type of service is ordered by a physician and will allow someone to receive short term Home Health Care (a higher level of care which requires medical training) in their own home. Normally this is a service that is needed due to a change in health, after a hospital stay, after an injury or a sudden decline in health. The services that can come into the home will depend on the individuals needs but could include an aide to assist with personal care, nursing services to monitor health situations, therapies that may be beneficial such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc. 

  • Palliative Care - this is a service that is ordered by a physician and is an interdisciplinary approach to specialized medical and nursing care for people with life-limiting. The focus is on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress instead of medical care which has the objective of curing or treating the underlying conditions. 

  • Hospice Care - this is a service that is ordered by a physician and encompasses the approach to treating terminally ill individuals in the last weeks or months of their lives. Both Palliative Care and Hospice Care come with a team of specialized individuals to manage the care provided. 

  • Adult Day Care - a place where care and supervision is in a structured setting during daytime hours and usually only on weekdays. 

  • Retirement Communities (Independent Living) - homes, apartments or condominiums within a complex that offers transportation, security and recreational activities.

  • Assisted Living Facilities - this type of facility can vary as far as what services are offered, typically you live in an apartment style unit within a building that offers community dining, social activities, outings and transportation and if care is needed that is charged separately. 

  • Adult Foster Care Homes - there are 3 types of adult foster care homes,  depending on the number of residents and whether the owner (licensee) lives in the home. There can be up to 20 residents residing in the adult foster care home and the care can vary depending on how the home is ran and what kind of care is offered. 

  • Homes for the Elderly this is only for those that are 60 years of age and above and have more than 20 residents residing in the facility. Homes for the Elderly are very similar to Adult Foster Care with the difference being the number of individuals that reside in the facility. 

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities - is a hospital long-term care unit, nursing home, county medical care facility, or other nursing care facility, certified to provide skilled nursing care.

  • Nursing Homes - is a nursing care facility, including a county medical care facility, that provides organized nursing care and medical treatment to 7 or more unrelated individuals suffering or recovering from illness, injury, or infirmity.

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities - this type of community offers a tiered approach for aging adults. Typically, residents move into single-family apartments or condominiums designed for independent, healthy adults. As their needs change, they can transition to on-site assisted living or nursing home facilities.