Care Guide Compass: How It Works

Our Care Guide Compass helps you assess your elder care needs and guides your long-term care strategy. Specifically, it directs you to appropriate options for care and associated costs based on your individual needs and ultimately, leads you down the right path for care.

Here, we explain how we derive your “care guide,” and what factors play a role in your elder care needs.

First, it’s important to reiterate our goal – to help you find the intersection where your personal preferences, needs and financial resources converge with available options for care. Our Care Guide Compass identifies elder care options based on your current needs; from there, your living preferences, financial resources and other input dictate the care path that’s right for you. Of course, final care arrangements will depend on an in-person assessment by a professional.

How we assess needs: There are two key factors that point to the care you need — physical condition and cognition level. Our levels for each flow from industry standards, elder care needs research and 10-plus years of care management experience; each one, or any combination of them, lays out your elder care options.

How we identify your “care guide”: Each “care guide” includes home, facility and/or family care options and associated costs. We have developed our “care guide” based on physical condition + cognition level combinations.

Note that in many cases, there is more than one option. For example, the highest level of care needed at home would be an hourly caregiver, 24 hours each day OR a daily live-in caregiver with an 8-hour reliever.

You’ll also notice that in many cases, we provide ranges for care (e.g., caregiver for 4-6 hours, 1-5 days a week). Your specific care needs, preferences, financial resources and other factors will point to the most appropriate choice in terms of type, frequency and duration of care.

 Type/FrequencyMonthly Cost Level
Option 1: HomeCaregiver for 4-6 hours per day, 1-5 days per week$ - $+
Option 2: FacilityCCRC

Assisted living facility
$$ - $$$

Option 3: Family CareFamily member to assist with care for 4/6 hours per day, 1-5 days per weekPriceless

Cost level defined: Your care guide includes a “cost level” ($ – $$$$$), which is based on the lowest amount associated with care ($0) to the highest ($14,000/month). Our Types of Elder Care section offers national and state-specific costs for each type of care provided in your guide.

Supplemental services: Each guide offers various supplemental services that may improve your functioning, safety and quality of life; a combination, if not all, services presented in your guide should be considered part of your care guide.

Next steps: Once you know your home, facility and family care options, you have a choice to make. Your “care guide” provides questions and other guidance to help you choose the right care path. This part of the process deserves careful attention, and only you (or the person needing care), with input from family and friends, can make this call.

Once your choice is made, you are now ready to begin your search and evaluate providers. Please check out our website in more detail; it offers loads of information about the various types of elder care options; who pays for care how; and how to evaluate your options.

Note that along the way, you should feel free to contact a consultant to help with your search/”care guide,” and it is highly likely that a professional will be part of the mix before you make your final choice for care.