Senior Long Term
term care - If
you are starting to have difficulty with certain essential
tasks, such as managing your finances, or physical activities
like bathing or driving, it is time to have an honest talk with
your doctor or another health care professional about your
They can put you in touch with a social worker who specializes
in helping older people (sometimes called a geriatric case
This person will help you come up with a suitable
long-range plan and locate the services you need now and/or will
need in the future.
The services of a social worker or geriatric case manager can be
especially useful if your family doesn’t live near you or you
can’t depend on them to help you during this sometimes
about the various services for seniors in your community and the
types of care available. Ask around: Your doctor, a social
worker, staff at a community health clinic, or any health care
workers you see regularly can all have good ideas and
suggestions about whom to contact.
Another starting point would be to call a local or state social
services office and ask to speak to someone who can provide a
list of services you might need, such as meal or companion
programs, transportation services, day centers, or facilities
for more specialized care.
possible, your family should be consulted and involved in
setting up a long-term plan. If you can no longer travel easily
to the grocery store or cannot cook, for example, your family
and friends may like to deliver some of your meals while others
are delivered by a local aid program such as Meals on
about what services are acceptable to you: Would you mind having
an aide come in to help you bathe and dress? Also consider
whether your plans are realistic: If you don't drive, will you
always be able to depend on a friend to drive you to
appointments or will you need to arrange for bus or taxi
you start firming up plans, find out what services are covered
under Medicare or Medicaid, and what your private insurance will
and will not cover. Insurance coverage is often very limited and
your finances may not be adequate for all the services you would
like. Remember that Medicare and private "Medigap"
insurance only pay for short-term home health care and nursing
about long-term care shouldn’t be made hastily. You do have
time to think about your plans.
flexible. Ideas that sounded fine six months ago may no longer
be right for you. Your plan may need to be amended as your needs
change or as different programs become available.
Long Term Care Services
may happen that your support network of family, friends and local
meal or transportation programs are not enough to ensure your care
and safety. If you are finding many everyday activities difficult,
you may need to find a new home with around-the-clock services. There
are three main types of residential care:
are very often the first choice for most
seniors. Home care service companies are available for hire
and will send staff directly to the senior's home on a
predetermined time interval basis.
companies vary significantly in the amount of services that they
provide. Many provide only health and personal services,
some provide everything but health services.
home care services first since they provide the highest degree of
independence. Additionally, 93% of seniors indicate a desire
to never leave their own residence for alternative living
arrangements. Considering this, most seniors will find
themselves happier and living a more productive life if they are
able to remain in their own home instead of a group home.
permits people to rent a relatively private residence
of their own and receive staff care. Such arrangements range
from room-and-board in a privately run seniors’ home to a
fully-equipped apartment in a large building.
You may be able to choose from a menu of services, such as some
or all meals in the dining room, recreation programs, and help
with housekeeping tasks, and personal and medical needs.
homes or nursing homes, sometimes called “skilled nursing
homes”, provide 24-hour service and supervision. Many
residents will have one or more health problems that require
medical and rehabilitation services on site.
organizations offer both types of care in “continuing care
communities”. For example, there may be an assisted living
facility located next to a nursing home so that moving from one
level of care to the other is a relatively simple matter. Some
also can provide living arrangements for couples, which can be
particularly useful if one spouse has become disabled and the
other is unable to care for him or her alone.
to Long Term Care
to an assisted living facility may be the right move for you.
There are added comforts and conveniences in a group and managed
home setting that are hard to duplicate at home.
conveniences are however, not without their costs. Depending
on what part of the country you live in and what level of services
you expect, costs for a single person can range from $2800 per month
first whether you really must leave your house and what the
consequences will be if you do. Some people are not very
attached to their own home. Some have raised families and
lived many years in their home and will be less comfortable
that you will not be able to take many of your own things to an
assisted living center. Most are furnished already and you
will be limited to clothing and a few mementos. Others allow
you to bring some furniture and a few more personal belongings but
there are often space limitations.
that you will certainly have less privacy. One of the great
benefits of living in your own home is that you can go to any part
of the living quarters dressed in any way you want. Assisted
living centers are generally not as amenable. There are certainly
private areas but that is generally limited to your bedroom and
maybe another small room or two.
areas are open to the public including everyone that lives at there,
their guests, and the staff.
all these factors before making a move because once moved, it is
quite likely that you will not be able to change your mind.
Your house will probably have been sold or rented and furniture and
personal belongings will have been disposed of.
all that, it is very possible that you will still opt for the
assisted living center at some time and it is important to know how
to find the right place for you.
Correct Long Term Care Facility
considering making the move to a retirement residence:
a lot of questions.
Ask everyone for information and
recommendations about various facilities in the area you want to
live in. You can start with your physician, friends and
relatives who might have done this research in the past, or
representatives at your religious organization. Speak to social
workers and other staff at your local hospital (for example, ask
to speak to a discharge planner).
Your state government can also be an information resource. For
instance, the Office of the Long
Term Care Ombudsman in your state will inform you whether there
have been problems at any of the residences you are
Be aware that privately run residences do not always have to
follow the same regulations or licensing requirements as nursing
homes. Ask for advice from people who have used them and from
local social service agencies. And ask what financial
assistance may be available or whether they participate in
what services will be essential for you: Will you need to go out
regularly and will there be transportation available? Will you
want all or just some meals provided? What housekeeping help
will you require? Do you want to take part in activity programs?
What if you need special services, such as assistance with your
medications or additional security for a person with
the residences or organizations that interest you. Find out
about vacancies and the length of their waiting list. Ask how
many residents they have. Of course, you’ll want to know about
costs, how payments are made, and whether there is financial
assistance available to help defray expenses.
Once you have decided on a short list of residences, it’s
time to visit. When you do, don’t just make one appointment to
talk to the staff. Have at least one meal in the dining room to
check on the quality and quantity of food provided. Speak to
some of the people who live there and, if possible, their
To do this, you may want to arrive unexpected,
preferably a few times and at different times of the day. In
this way, you’ll
be able to check on everyday concerns:
Is the building clean?
Are the residents and their possessions secure? Are staff
members doing their best to meet each resident’s needs? Do
residents have adequate privacy? Are they treated with respect?
Are they restrained in any way? Are there enjoyable social
yourself. Once you have found a new home, you’ll be
asked to sign a contract with details on the services you have
agreed on and payment for them. You should have a knowledgeable
family member or even a lawyer read over this type of
arrangement to make sure your interests are protected.