America is aging. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly half of Americans turning sixty-five are in need of some form of long-term care facility. For many, it is automatically assumed, often incorrectly, that a nursing home is the only option. We have found that this assumption is often a result of limited knowledge regarding the different types of long-term care facilities available. For that reason, we developed this article which provides a very brief overview of some of the housing options available for individuals in need of long-term care. See below.
Nursing homes are long-term care facilities for those who need high level, and ongoing medical assistance without hospitalization. Nursing homes provide medical and physical care through the help of skilled nurses and aides. This includes occupational therapy services and housing units for people with debilitating conditions such Alzheimer’s disease and many other forms of dementia. Nursing homes are daily-care long-term care facilities that include assistance with activities of daily living such as: help getting dressed, using the restroom, eating, taking medication, receiving medical care, and getting in and out of bed. Those in need of frequent assistance might consider living in a nursing home for peace of mind. Caring for an elderly loved one and/or one with significant health challenges can be a daunting task. While staying home (aging in place) or with a loved one is a frequently chosen option for families, nursing homes were designed to provide an alternative means of care for your loved one. As our population continues to age the number of nursing homes and nursing facilities continues to increase, providing many options for those in need of this level of care. Take some time to visit facilities in your area so that you can become familiar with their offering. You may find the perfect fit!
Assisted living is a broad term under which all “care” residential facilities fall. Such facilities are designed to “assist” its individuals with their living situation. Nursing homes, independent living, in-home care and memory care facilities are all, technically, assisted living facilities. The level of care needed is what ultimately distinguishes the facilities. Also, many of the facilities offer each type/level of care, providing you with the opportunity to determine and secure the best care level for you and/or your loved one. Keep this term in mind when researching and visiting facilities.
Independent living a type of assisted living facility that allows residents the dignity to live on their own only accessing support where and when needed. Independent living residents have an apartment or house to call home but have the convenience and security of living in a community-based setting with housekeeping services, a social activities director, transportation services, and security. Those in need of assistance with day-to-day routines or medical care can often engage the community for such assistance when needed. For many, independent living facilities are a reasonable way to “downsize,” letting go of the responsibilities that come with owning a home. As the individual ages or declines in health, there is direct access to additional support. This is often a great “first step” in establishing your care on your terms.
Sometimes you just want to stay home! In-home care allows for flexibility when it comes to long-term care, typically on a private pay basis (although there are governmental sources to support the cost). From a few hours each week to 24-7 scheduling, in-home care offers the best of both worlds — care…from the comfort of your own home! Caregivers are often hospice employees, nurses or stem from palliative care service providers. This is ideal for those who would prefer to spend their final years, months or days relaxed at home while being watched over by a medical professional. On many occasions, the home care experts found in assisted living facilities — those who cook, clean and help bathe patients — also make up the team of in-home care providers.
A memory care facility is a specific nursing facility that is usually connected to a larger assisted living community. As the name suggests, memory care is for patients who are experiencing some form of memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Memory care facilities, provide activities, resources and support aimed at helping improve memory conditions, and/or helping the individual navigate life with their disease or health situation. These facilities are typically staffed with individuals with extensive knowledge and experience supporting patients with these memory challenges.
When planning long-term care for your loved ones, it’s important to ask what they want. If they are able to communicate their wishes it is crucial that they do so in a legally sufficient manner so that their wishes can be carried out if or when they find themselves in need of long-term care. You’ll also need to know what Medicare/Medicaid will cover financially as terms and conditions vary by each facility. Once you have gathered this information it is essential that you contact an attorney that specializes in Elder Law to navigate this process. At TGQ Law, we are well able and happy to help you understand the best solution for your long-term care living needs. Contact us – we’d love to talk with you!