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Options for Long Term Care

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 When a family member needs some type of long term care due to old age,   disability, or illness, the search for a decent, effective, and yet affordable way of providing that care can get really confusing. It is very common that individual family members would act as informal caregivers at home, but sometimes this set up becomes extremely demanding on the schedules and energy of the home caregivers. There will also be situations where the patient may need proper skilled medical care or close attention from nurses, which are best acquired from a specialized health care facility.

TYPES OF LONG TERM CARE

 

 

·         Home Care

·         Community-Based Services

·         Supportive housing programs

·         Assisted Living

·         Continuing care retirement communities

·         Nursing Homes

 

 

Home Care

 

Most people would want to grow old and pass away in the comforts of their own home. The elderly, for example, feel more secured when cared for by family members in a familiar environment such as their home. This type of care is called home care, and is given not only by immediate family members, but also by friends, volunteers, and paid professional caregivers.

Community-Based Services

Patients can also seek care assistance from their local communities. Most communities provide support services and facilities for families who may need help in taking care of their elderly or disabled member. These facilities/services include:

·         Adult day care

·         Senior centers

·         Meal programs

·         Transportation

Community-based services for long term care are also very helpful in giving that much needed “break” to family home caregivers.

Supportive Housing Programs

This program offers low-cost housing to the elderly who fall into the low to moderate-income range (less than $46,000 if single or $53,000 if married). The Federal Government together with most states handles these types of housing programs, which may also offer extra help like:

·         Housekeeping

·         Meal preparation

·         Grocery/shopping

·         Laundry

Residents can live in their own apartments and rents are usually a percentage of the occupant’s income.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities provide a more home-like setting as compared to, say, a nursing home. Patients who also require close attention or aid can also opt for assisted living since they also have 24-hour supervision and assistance in the area. Other services include:

·         Help with eating

·         Bathing

·         Dressing

·         Toileting

·         Transportation

·         Laundry

·         Housekeeping


Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

CCRCs offer different levels of care depending on what the patient needs. There are usually three levels of care provided, namely:

·         Independent living

·         Assisted living, and

·         Skilled nursing

Residents of these communities usually move from one level to the other based on how they progress with their individual health care requirements. Regardless of their level, residents stay within the community.

Nursing Homes

A stay at a nursing home is most often the best choice for people with chronic ailments and disability who need advanced and immediate care management. Nursing homes basically give care to people who cannot be cared for at home or communities. Care services offered include:

 

·         Skilled nursing care

·         Rehabilitation services

·         Meal preparation and feeding

·         Physical and social activities like exercises and games

·         Help with daily living

A lot of nursing homes may also provide temporary or periodic care after an injury or hospital stay.

Making Your Decision

 

Finding and choosing the most appropriate type of long term care for a senior patient, a family member with disability, or a loved one who has a chronic illness can be a long process. Family members will have to weigh the costs and benefits of the services offered at each facility or community against the needs of the patient and their own financial capacity.

Making this decision is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Families can also seek the advice and assistance of long term care experts who have years of experience and know-how about the best options for custodial care.

Health care advisors from reputable firms such as in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh0bmOcjSdg can also help families put together a good long term care plan that will make things easier for them in the future. As a summary, the table below shows a comparison among the different services offered by each long term care type and their cost range.

Different Types of Long Term Care: Services and Cost Range

 

Home Care

Community Services

Supportive housing programs

Assisted Living

  CCRCs

 

Nursing homes

Help with activities

of daily living

Help with additional

services

Help with care needs

X

X

Range of costs

Low to high

Low to medium

Low to high

Medium to high

High

High

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This post was contributed by a guest blogger, Indira Pina.  She’s a financial manager, life planner, and LTC expert.  Ms. Pina writes informative articles focusing on planning for senior health and elder care.

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