Adult day care provides other options for aging baby boomers
Four years ago, Faith LaRussa was faced with a decision: which health care facility wasn't the worst.
After taking ill, she was in and out of "more facilities than you can imagine," she explained, reluctant at every turn. The now 78-year-old had worked as a registered nurse before she retired, so her apprehension about committing to a nursing home was based on experience. Like many seniors, she viewed it as a final destination, one she wasn't ready for.
That changed after she visited the LIFE Geisinger adult day-care facility at Our Lady of Peace Residence at Marywood University. For the last four months, she has received daily care there Monday through Friday and still lives with her daughter in Jessup,
"I've never been happier in my life," she said with a tearful smile. "I'm ready every day on the dot."
As the baby boomers come of age, more and more desire to "age in place," outreach and enrollment coordinator Maria Hastie explained, which is why many are choosing care through facilities like LIFE Geisinger.
"The love in this place is unbelievable," LaRussa said, sharing that the staff has nicknamed her "Faithers."
"They keep me on my toes. They keep my mind sharp."
For qualifying adults, 55 and older, LIFE provides transportation to and from the facility, all medical care, prescriptions and a way for caregivers to continue their lives uninterrupted. LaRussa said spending her days with the staff at LIFE allows her daughter to continue working without need to take off work for appointments.
"I've got it made," she said. "I'm living better than a millionaire."
While LaRussa enjoys her supported independence at LIFE, other seniors need additional supports that are provided through nursing homes or assisted living facilities, particularly when health issues arise.
Old Forge resident Corinne Yanul, 47, faced down the process of finding the right placement for her grandfather after he had a stroke. Yanul works at Senior Health Care Solutions, so her insight into the industry made the process easier, as did her close bond with her grandfather.
"I see people who don't have that background trying to muddle through the process," she said, explaining that there are often questions about what type of care is best and where to begin looking.
In her line of work, she said people often view nursing homes as the end of the road, but that's no longer the case. She recommended searching and comparing care facilities at Medicare.gov and more importantly, making visits to find the right fit.
"Nursing homes at this point are more for a rehab potential, to get people strong and get them prepare for a more independent living situation," she said.
Her grandfather was 92 when he passed away, and his sudden health changes sparked a conversation with her parents. They have now arranged their power of attorney and discussed their wishes.
"You never know what could happen," Yanul said. "I'm not saying a 30-year-old needs to think about it, but someone of the senior age should be having the conversation of what if."
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