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Know Your Options

If you are fortunate enough to live to be 70 or older, you or someone close to you is likely to face a healthcare and/or aging issue. In our experience assisting families for several years, it is almost always a crisis situation when people reach out for assistance, and they rarely have a clear understanding of the realities of options. You may be reading this to be proactive or perhaps because a crisis is brewing in your family. Below are a few key points that we have learned to be especially important to those making decisions. Please contact us at the appropriate office to have a confidential discussion about your personal situation in further detail.

Skilled Nursing Facilities – All skilled nursing facilities are not created equal. Whether for short term rehab or for long term care needs, there are facilities that provide excellent care and offer an environment that is modern and uplifting. They are not the old fashioned “nursing home” image. The best way to find a place that is a good fit for you is to ask professionals that you trust and visit yourself.

Assisted Living Communities – While assisted living communities have many benefits, they may not be optimal for someone in need of ongoing 1:1 care. Someone requiring 1:1 care in assisted living due to safety and/or extensive care issues often resorts to hiring private care. The cost of paying for both assisted living and private care is generally not ideal for a long term plan. For the person with dementia, one of the greatest benefits of assisted living is the structure and socialization provided by the community. While a memory unit may not be appealing to a family member, its structure and programs are specifically designed to provide safety, reduce anxiety, and to offer stimulating activities.

Private Care Services – Private care services are often overlooked by health care professionals as a valuable and realistic option.  Because it involves paying out of pocket, clinicians often feel uncomfortable about suggesting private care, or make assumptions that someone does not have the financial means. Private care can be a valuable support in a wide variety of situations – temporary or long term. Private care is a personal choice.

Dementia Care is as important for the spouse/primary caretaker as it is to the individual with dementia. It is not at all uncommon for a spouse/caretaker to be hospitalized for a situation exacerbated by exhaustion. Of utmost importance is providing the spouse with regular breaks during the daytime hours and ensuring an uninterrupted night sleep.

Approximate Costs:

Assisted Living – $5,000-$8000/month (and up)
Skilled Facility  – $10,000-$12,000/month
Private Care     – $6,000-$9000/month (and up)

Hospice Services can be a tremendous support to families whose focus is on comfort and quality of life instead of aggressive treatment of a terminal illness. This service, usually covered by Medicare, provides the equipment and medication necessary to keep an individual comfortable at home, intermittent caregivers and nurse visits to guide family members on your care. Many people also find it very helpful to hire additional caregiver support, especially in an assisted living setting or when family has limited availability.