Caring for an elderly parent can be stressful, but you don't need to put them in a nursing home. Here are 5 alternatives to nursing homes for mom and dad.

There are 46 million seniors living in America today, and that number is expected to double by 2060.

There are more elderly people in need of care than ever before.

Everyone wants the best for their aging parents, but knowing what type of care is right for them can be a difficult and emotional process.

Nursing homes have been the most commonly used solution for aging people in this country, but they're not always the best fit for everyone.

Because of the skyrocketing number of seniors, nursing homes are becoming more and more crowded. This can lead to less-than-ideal situations, where nursing homes are understaffed, and people aren't receiving the care that they need.

Luckily, nursing homes aren't your only option.

We've got some information about five great alternatives to nursing homes. Read on to hear about what they are.

1. Assisted Living Programs

Assisted living, or senior living communities, come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. They provided an opportunity for a more independent lifestyle, with the added support of trained staff.

While the average nursing home has over 100 residents, the average senior living community has closer to 30.

Most assisted living communities offer optional medication management, meals, activities, and other kinds ofsupport. Residents can choose to live in a private or shared apartment, and take advantage of communal shared spaces.

There are usually many more recreational activities available in assisted living communities, which are important in fighting off anxiety and depression.

In general, assisted living facilities are much more affordable than nursing homes. The level of care they offer will vary from one community to the next, so make sure you're familiar with what type of care your loved one needs.

2. Take Advantage of Community Services

If your parent is still living in the home, but you're looking for more support, a great place to start is with programs offered in your community.

Adult day care is available in many areas, and it's an economical way to get assistance in caring for your loved one. Socializing with other people in the community is a healthy way to form long-lasting connections.

Many counties offer transportation services. These bring seniors to and from day programs, doctors appointments, and other places they need to go.

Check to see if there are any senior centers in your area, as they're a wonderful place to find other activities and services.

3. Staying in the Home

There's no question that as most people age, they would prefer to stay in their own home. Unfortunately for some, this can become such a challenge that it isn't practical.

There are a number of reasons why receiving care in the home is the best choice for your aging parents. This doesn't mean you have to be their sole caretaker.

In fact, the wider the net of support that a senior has, the happier and healthier they are more likely to be. Home health aides are available through a number of different channels, depending on your area and your level income.

Medicaid is required to provide funding for in-home health aides, in an effort to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible. For those that qualify, they provide a wide range of services, from personal care to physical therapy to medication management.

If this sounds like the right choice for your parents, find out more about the different types of services that are offered for care in the home.

4. Adult Foster Care

One option that a lot of people don't know about is the adult foster care system.

Just like foster care that is available for children in need of housing, adult foster care is run by the state and provides housing to elders who need it.

While most nursing homes and assisted living facilities are privately owned, adult foster care programs are operated by the government. Anyone wanting to open a foster care residence needs to get licensed through their state.

There are no more than six adults allowed in one foster care home, and care providers can live in the home with the seniors being cared for.

Depending on the level of support that your parents need, adult foster care might be a great option. Unfortunately, they're not as common as nursing homes or assisted living programs.

You can check with your local Department of Family Services to see if there are any adult foster care programs in your area.

5. MEDCottages

MEDCottages are a type of ADU, or accessory dwelling unit. They're basically a small, self-contained house that can be easily built in the backyard of a pre-existing home.

They are also playfully referred to as "granny pods" or in-law suites.

ADUs are the perfect solution for those who would like to move their parent in with them but don't have the space to do so.

They're handicapped accessible and have all of the amenities that a studio apartment would have. ADUs offer privacy and a certain level of independence, all in the comfort of your own backyard.

Home health aides and other types of services might also be possible additions to an ADU living station.

Zoning regulations do vary from state to state, so make sure to do the research to find out what is allowed in your area.

There Are Many Possible Alternatives to Nursing Homes

With the use of technology on the rise, and communities struggling to find better options for their aging citizens, the future of eldercare looks bright.

As a society, we're acknowledging the fact that our elders deserve respect, dignity, and a fulfilling life.

There are health care professionals across the world who are committed to providing better alternatives to nursing homes, to giving your loved ones the happy and healthy life they deserve.

We wish you luck in finding the best possible care for your parent or loved one.

And don't forget to check in with our blog for more important, health-related info.