Even when their need for specialized care is great, older people prefer to stay at home. Often adult children and other family members take on the care giving responsibilities — providing rides, picking up prescriptions and helping out around the house. Eventually, they may even be managing high-tech medical treatments, assisting with daily activities and dealing with end-of-life issues.

Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can carry out skilled care prescribed by physicians, such as monitoring medications and teaching recipients and their families about special care procedures. Professional therapists provide respiratory, physical, speech and occupational therapies in the home.

These workers assist with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating and exercising. Sometimes Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance covers the services.

At the end of life, a facility can provide professionally coordinated support services, including pain and symptom management, social services, and emotional and spiritual support for the terminally ill and their families.

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