Is Adult Foster Care a Humane Option?
First you need to know what it is. Adult foster care (AFC) is the equivalent of you caring for and engaging your loved one, except with AFC, professionals are doing it. Often, children find it is difficult to fully care for their parents or their grandparents due to employment, or extensity of care required. Not only that, they may feel they are unable to engage their loved ones as much as they would like, leading to guilt or even depression.
Simply stated, adult foster care is not only a humane choice, it can be considered a proactive approach in meeting the needs of those you love. Typically, adult foster care is arranged by governmental agencies, but it also can be initiated by families. Adult foster care is an option to take care of those with physical and/or mental disabilities in a way that family members otherwise could not. It is an ethical choice, leading to increased personal engagement and improvement of overall health.
What Assistance is Provided With Adult Foster Care?
- Meal preparation
- Medication management
- Social interaction and activities
- Transportation services
- Personal care (toileting, dressing)
- Aiding in daily recreational and vocational activities
As you can see, there are a range of benefits to adult foster care, the most important and ultimate benefit is essentially holistic care of an individual who otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t have it. The services provided are carried out by professionals and are likely to aide clients to more positive states.
Types of Adult Foster Care
The following are the basic types of care available to adults with included descriptions:
- Adult care homes are assisted living facilities where 24-hour care is provided such as with meal preparation, dressing and personal care.
- Supervised living group homes are usually mental health facilities where some services are provided, professional (medication administration) or otherwise (meal preparation). These facilities often offer great opportunity for interaction and a place where those with mental health issues can find refuge from the outside world.
- Nursing homes different from adult care homes, are facilities where there is a requirement for high-level professional nursing care. These are not typically what are meant by adult foster care, but understanding of them is required for adequate contrast. Nursing home clients require extensive care such as with multiple insulin injections per day, or they have an active infection requiring antibiotics, or they need multiple complexly-administered medications. Nursing homes tend to seek a tranquil milieu, but many clients in these facilities can be very sick. Usually nursing homes also aid in memory care with these specialized units in addition to regular units. Services provided in memory care units would be relative to dementia and Alzheimer’s care.
- Continuing care retirement communities usually offer a range of services from skilled nursing care to independent living. All services are readily available to all clients living on these “care campuses.” If for instance, someone living in the independent part of the community becomes ill, often they can receive care in the skilled nursing facility on the same campus. Then, likely, if not serious, they can easily return to independent living.
Facts About Adult Foster Care
The Baby Boomer generation is aging and will require increased services, especially because with technological healthcare advances – people are living longer, and usually higher-quality lives. AARP reports that those aged 65 and older, in the United States are expected to double in number from 40 million to 81 million by 2040. This indicates that people need to start considering if adult foster care is right for them. Although more skilled healthcare isn’t necessary for most such as with a nursing home, adult foster care is an option a little more likely as people age and need assistance. Adult foster care provides an environment where health can be the norm. The focuses of AFC facilities are essentially the provision of comfort and security.
What Would You Decide for You? For Them?
You are faced with a difficult discussion, one that you feel is best discussed comprehensively with your loved one. The decision is: should we consider adult foster care? This does not have to be a hard choice when the facts are presented clearly. Adult foster care is essentially a place where adults can receive the care they need, if they’re not quite ill to a point they need nursing home care.
Perhaps Anne can no longer cook nutritious meals, and she is occasionally incontinent of urine. These issues can lead to dangerous outcomes. Perhaps while cooking, Anne forgets to turn off the burner, and a fire results. Or, perhaps Anne is incontinent of urine, slips on it and hits her head.
What an adult foster care program will provide (at its most basic) is an environment where adults can flourish medically and socially, and (at its most complex) extensive care, providing safety and comfort. Is adult foster care, right? It’s right when you consider that if you’re unable to provide the amount of care the family member needs, perhaps enlisting the help of professional caregivers is the kindest choice you could make.