Long-Term Care and Your Loved One: Plan Ahead for Best Results

It’s often a topic people prefer to avoid, but planning ahead for long-term care for your elderly loved one pays off. If you start the discussion early, you’ll have time to research and gain a better understanding of the long-term care options available today. Additionally, starting the discussion early allows you and your loved one to consider the costs involved in long-term care and the best options for funding future care. Understandably, the idea of leaving home for a long-term care facility or even receiving daily home care is distressing for many elderly people. However, advance planning can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with this major life change. Below, we will discuss some important information to consider when planning for your loved one’s long-term care.

Types of long-term care available

Familiarizing yourself with the types of long-term care available will help you to make a more informed decision. Here are the most common types of care available today:

  • In-home care: For this who prefer the familiarity of their own homes and don’t require constant access to care, in-home care is a good option. Home care aides provide assistance with bathing, dressing, and other hygiene-related tasks. Additionally, they can assist with housekeeping duties, meal preparation, and grocery shopping. Home health nurses are able to provide routine medical care in the comfort of your loved one’s home.
  • Senior housing: Many older adults choose to live in senior housing communities, which are often apartments specifically designed for the elderly. As an added bonus, many of these facilities offer transportation services, meal deliveries, and even organized activities for social interaction.
  • Assisted living facilities: Assisted living facilities provide staff members to help residents with activities of daily living (ADLs), including: bathing, dressing, and taking necessary medication. Additionally, these facilities typically have planned social activities and events for residents.
  • Nursing homes: These facilities offer around-the-clock nursing care to patients. Staff members assist with feeding, bathing, dressing, and other ADLs. Often, nursing homes also provide end-of-life care.
  • Continuing care retirement communities: These larger communities typically offer three levels of care: independent housing for older adults who are healthy and able to care for themselves, assisted living for those who need help with some daily tasks, and a healthcare unit that provides around-the-clock care. Residents in these communities can move back and forth between levels of care depending on their needs.
  • Day programs: For older adults who don’t require constant access to care but could benefit from regular social interaction, day programs are a good option. These programs typically offer activities like exercise, field trips, and games. Many also provide transportation to and from the center.

Choosing the right option for your loved one

Deciding where your loved one will receive long-term care is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. During your planning process, consider the following questions:

  • How much care is required? First thing’s first: be honest with yourself about the level of care your loved one needs. If she requires constant access to care, a long-term facility is likely a safer option than in-home care.
  • What’s your budget? Collect pricing information from each facility you’re considering. Know what’s included in monthly fees and ask about any extra costs. Long-term care is typically an out-of-pocket expense, so determine your budget ahead of time. Consider discussing payment options with a lawyer.
  • What does your loved one prefer? This might seem an obvious question, but it’s often overlooked. While many older adults prefer to age in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, some prefer the social interaction offered in senior housing or continuing care retirement communities.
  • What are your loved one’s preferences in a facility? It’s important to consider details like whether or not your loved one feels comfortable sharing a room with a stranger. Does he enjoy structure and planned activities? Would he prefer to eat in a cafeteria setting or in his room? Can he have visitors whenever he’d like? All are essential considerations when selecting the right facility for your loved one.
  • What was your impression of the facility? Tour all of the facilities that you’re considering. Rely on your instincts; how did the facility make you feel? Did the residents seem happy and engaged? Did the facility seem understaffed? Was the atmosphere inviting? In addition to scheduled tours, consider drop-in visits to ensure that your initial impressions are accurate.

 Elder Law Lawyer Helps You Navigate the Long-term Care Maze

Remember, when planning ahead for long-term care, involve your loved one in the process whenever you can. Opening the lines of communication early and often helps ensure that you make the best decisions for your loved one’s future care. Contact us today for additional information.

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