Who will take care of your elderly family members as they age? Will you take care of them in your home or put them in a facility? Will you hire someone to take care of them? Though there are many options available when it comes to senior care, one common assumption is that elderly relatives will live out their final years in a nursing home, especially if they have preexisting health conditions that require significant monitoring. Few stop to wonder if a nursing home is really the best choice for their loved one, though – it’s simply the default.
When it comes to residential nursing care, there are a number of concerns all families should address in advance before settling on a final care decision. If you need guidance regarding the right questions to ask, here are 3 top factors you should examine before finalizing any long-term care placements.
Healthy At Home
Given the option, most people would choose to live at home or with family members during their senior years, but in order to stay independent, many elders require supervision, structural adaptations like lift chairs, and even part-time nursing care. Still, these changes can be worth investing in as living at home can, otherwise, be more affordable than nursing home care.
One downside of remaining at home is that care quality is inconsistent, but this can also happen in nursing homes. In fact, if care is poor in a nursing home setting, the outcomes can be far worse than under home care circumstances, as there tends to be less family oversight in nursing homes and the patients tend to be more physically incapacitated if receiving residential care.
Affordability Of Care
Nursing home care is extremely expensive, costing $8,000 to 10,000 a month, money that most elders don’t have. Even if you have savings or resources as an extended family, nursing home care can quickly bankrupt you. Taking out long-term care insurance can help, but still may not cover services for the necessary period of time.
If you know in advance that you intend to pursue nursing home care for yourself or a family member, one option is to adjust your income so that your assets qualify you for Medicaid. Medicaid can help you bridge the financial gap; however, it may also restrict the nursing homes you qualify for, as not all accept payment through Medicaid.
Safety And Security
One reason that many families are concerned about choosing nursing home care for their relatives in recent years is because of an increasing number of abuse cases in nursing homes. Ailing seniors are highly vulnerable to mistreatment, whether it is physical abuse, sexual abuse, or outright neglect. Many nursing homes are also understaffed, which can lead to a low quality of care despite everyone’s best efforts.
It’s important to research your local nursing home options in order to make the right choice for your relative. In some cases, a nursing home can be a good choice because of the availability of specialized care for dementia or other serious health conditions. It can be very hard to keep individuals with dementia safe at home due to the risk of wandering, but nursing homes can be specially equipped to manage such patients.
Ultimately, one of the biggest barriers to finding proper eldercare is the fact that we have a shortage of residential beds and care staff nationally. Therefore even those who can afford nursing home or in-home care may not be able to find an appropriate situation. Start weighing your options early and have a backup plan. With more Americans requiring skilled nursing care in the coming years, the shortage is only likely to get worse.