The Top 5 Options For Care As We Age

Aging is something no one likes to talk about and most people are unsure what options are out there if they should start needing more help in their daily life.

Below are the 5 most common care options with a breakdown of what you need to know from an insider about each.

  •  Staying home– this is everyone’s ideal situation or so they think.  This option works well for families that have the means to support this or if their aging loved one doesn’t require a lot of social engagement for their mental health.   In order to stay home successfully you need to ensure the home is safe and easy to navigate within reason.  There are many companies that can come out and do a home assessment to give peace of mind regarding safety.  The reason this option can get very expensive is the need for private duty caregivers as more needs present themselves.  Private duty caregivers on average cost between $20 to $50 an hour.  If you are needing around the clock care on the low end the monthly expense could be over 10K a month.  If you choose a private person their hourly charge may be lower but you need to be prepared to do all the leg work regarding background checks and obtaining insurance.  Hiring a private caregiver will require the family to confront the caregivers if there are any concerns regarding care.  Families that choose to go through a reputable home care company (many companies to choose from) need to be aware that the hourly cost will be higher but the company will provide a background check and insurance for their employee.   Choosing a home care company will also provide the family with a contact where you can report any concerns you have regarding caregivers and the care they are giving.   Most Long Term Care Insurance plans cover in home care there is just paperwork that needs to be filled out and monthly submissions that need to be completed for reimbursement.
  • Assisted Living/Memory Care – For some, the option of moving into a community is the best fit.  When choosing this option families need to be well aware that the community is bound by licensure to follow certain rules and regulations.  The families are always notified of changes but you are allowing the community to make decisions in the best interest of your loved one.  Of course a team approach is expected and if you have questions or concerns the community should make sure you understand the options and get agreement before proceeding with any changes.  Most communities are great places where residents are treated with dignity and respect and have the social environment that many people need especially in their older years.  Families that get to know the caregivers and managers and have open dialogue if something doesn’t feel right to them are the ones that are the most happy which results in their loved ones thriving in the environment.  The size of the Assisted Living is also a personal decision; there are communities as small as 6 apartments and some that 100+ apartments.   The average cost for this level of care is between 5k and 12k a month (depending on services and level of care).  Assisted living/Memory Care is not covered by health insurance but if you have Long Term Care insurance it will be covered.  If your loved one qualifes for Medicaid there are communities that have Medicaid beds, they are just very hard to find and sometimes you have to start by paying privately before transferring to a a Medicaid bed.
  • Skilled Nursing or what used to be called “nursing home”. – The overall concept of nursing homes has changed over the years.   Nursing homes used to be the only option for any type of care but now with Assisted Living, skilled nursing is mostly used for short term rehabilitation with not many beds designated to long term stays.  If you are in skilled nursing  due to needing rehabilitation from a medical issue, medicare will cover as long as you are making progress.  If yourself or your loved one is no longer making progress but has a “skilled need” ie.  IV antibiotics, feeding tube, wound care or any service that needs a licensed professional (RN or LPN)  to administer the treatment you will be eligible to stay in skilled nursing long term.  Skilled nursing has more of a hospital feel then Assisted Living which is something to note if your loved one is there for long term.  On average skilled nursing private pay is around $400 a day.  Long term care insurance will cover a long term stay in skilled nursing if that is what the patient needs according to their doctor.
  • Adult Day Care – Another great option for families is adult day care.  Adult day care can provide your love one with a full or half day of programming which is great for socialization and gives the caregiver a break.  Your loved one then comes home in the evening and weekends.   The one downside to this option is if your loved one is struggling with Dementia evenings can sometimes be the most challenging part of the day.  Adult day cares offer full time and part time options and average around $75 a day.  There are some Long Term Care insurance plans that cover adult day care as an option.
  • Move in with family.  Last but not least is the option of moving in with family.  For some families due to financial constraints this may be the only option.   The pro’s of having everyone under one roof makes managing the day to day needs of your aging loved one more accessible to handle.  The con’s can be having younger kids to attend too while assisted your aging parent, the stress of both can be overwhelming.  Also remember if care is needed and family can not provide it you will have caregivers in your home.

There are options out there for everyone it’s just about getting on top of it early and discussing with the family what is going to be best.  Waiting for a crisis will only force families to make quick and rushed decisions that may not be the right fit for your loved one or may not be the best financial decision.  Openly talking about the options will allow for your family to plan.  Aging is unique to everyone so it’s hard to know exactly what the future needs will be but having the knowledge of the options will help as situations arise and decisions have to be made.

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