Options for Paying for Long-Term Care

by Nicole on January 14, 2014

Paying for Long Term CareLast week, the Sharp Seniors team participated in our first ever Twitter Chat. The theme was one of the most important topics in senior care: Paying for Long-Term Care and we were honored to be among a distinguished panel of experts that included AARP, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living and the Mayo Clinic.

Although the labyrinth of paying for quality assisted living care and home care options can be quite frustrating for those in need of care and their families, the twitter event bought to light a number of resources designed to help those in need of direction. There were a lot of resources being suggested throughout the hour-long event, but we’re listing what we think are some of the most important links and tips from the discussion:

Long-Term Cost Resources

Options for Veteran’s Long Term Care

 

Hawaii’s Limited Social Insurance Program

Caregiver Resources

 

A huge thank you goes to US Health News for organizing the chat and of course, thanks to all of our fellow panel of experts for participating!

Mature couple in senior living communityThere’s no doubt that the golden years can be the best time of our lives. With freedom, stability, and good health, aging can be a wonderful time to really experience the best of what life has to offer. Today’s seniors have more options than ever before and are living long and healthy lives.

However, with age comes a certain responsibility to be proactive about potential health needs that may arise in the future. Thankfully, senior living in the twenty first century has progressed and improved over the years and can now offer more options for those that might be in need of progressive health care down the road.

When considering senior care facilities, it’s best to start with the basic levels of what is referred to as CCRC’s or Continuing Care Retirement Communities. There are three basic CCRC levels: Senior Living where residents have 100% independence, Assisted Living which provides help in daily routines such as bathing and cleaning, and Nursing Home Care, which is an in-depth care program for those that need round-the-clock care. Within these three categories, as health needs develop over time, residents can easily transition from one level of health care to the next.

In addition to the three types of CCRC’s, there are quite a few more options that fit within the senior care sector. Currently, multiple options exist and the various senior living categories are seemingly growing each day, which makes defining exact care standards a bit complicated. Additionally, costs associated with each care category listed below can vary greatly between states and cities, so it’s best to consult a yearly data source like Genworth’s Long Term Cost of Care Tool when looking for more exact figures according to location.

To get an idea of the available senior care options we offer at Sharp Seniors, please see our individual senior care definitions:

Senior Living Communities

Senior living communities are designed for seniors who are looking to enjoy all the benefits of independence, but have the foresight to know that there might be need for more assistance in the future. It’s quite common for healthy seniors to consider a senior living community although their current health needs are minimal. It’s a move that makes very good sense as it gives seniors the independence they desire and their families are comforted in knowing that their loved ones will be taken care of in the case of health changes.

Typically in a senior living situation, seniors can choose from fully equipped private apartments in a variety of sizes. Amenities at senior living centers can vary greatly, but personalized meal services are normally provided and can be custom designed to each resident’s individual dietary needs. There is little to no maintenance as far as the property itself such as lawn care or upkeep of any kind. Laundry services, on-site exercise rooms and even courses or workshops may also be included in this situation. In a senior living situation, seniors may choose to go on about their lives as they wish, but are given the option of participating in social outings and events throughout the year.

Also Known As:

  • Retirement Communities
  • Congregate Care
  • Retirement Villages
  • 55 + Communities
  • Senior Apartments
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community
  • Independent Living

Payment Options:

  • Mostly private pay
  • Some government funded through Section 202

Price Range:

  • $1,500-$4,500 per month

Assisted Living

Assisted Living communities cater to those seniors who typically need more health care help than someone in a senior living situation. The level of assistance in assisted living is more in-depth in terms of monitoring and providing medications, nurse care, daily health care regimen, meals and housekeeping services. Assisted living residents typically live in private or shared rooms and on-site staff members are on duty 24h-hours a day. Each resident is normally assigned a nurse and individual health care needs are monitored by a doctor. Meals are usually provided three times a day and can be prepared with an on-site dietician to meet individual dietary needs. Social activities are typically a big part of assisted living communities and can include anything from art classes, museum visits to daily exercise classes and theatre productions, etc. Most assisted living centers also have some level of Alzheimer’s care, but this is not always the case.

Also Known As:

  • Assisted Care Community
  • Personal Care Home

Payment Options:

  • Mostly private pay
  • Some take Medicaid

Price Range:

  • $2,500 to $4,000 per month depending on the size of apartment and level of assistance required

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are designed to provide 24-hour care to elderly residents that have limited mobility and require a high level of medical care. Typically, nursing homes provide a permanent living solution for people with complex health care needs that require daily routine care. Licensed nurses provide health care routines and assistance on every level, monitored by an assigned doctor.

Additionally, nursing homes often provide rehabilitative options for elderly patients who have suffered from an injury or recovering from an illness or surgery.

Nursing home residents are normally placed in a shared room with a patient that has similar level of care needs. All meals are served in the common dining area unless individuals need personalized assistance from the nurses. Various social activities like art classes, movies, games, and exercise make up a good part of the day. Most nursing homes also have a specialized care routine for Alzheimer’s patients as well.

Also Known As:

  • Convalescent Care
  • Nursing Center
  • Skilled Nursing
  • Long Term Care Facility

Payment Sources:

  • Private Pay
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid

Price Range:

  • $4,000 to $8,000 per month

Alzheimer’s Care

Alzheimer’s care is the first step for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients after home care cannot meet the needs of the patient. With memory loss and subsequent health risks, it’s imperative to have 24-hour care in a qualified location that can meet the needs of an Alzheimer’s patient. Licensed nurses and doctors work to maintain a health care plan as well as a daily routine that is designed to give the patient a calm and familiar existence.

Most assisted living centers and nursing homes are commonly equipped to take care of Alzheimer’s patients, but not all of them. Alzheimer’s care requires a high level of monitoring and security. Specialized Alzheimer’s centers tend to have locked areas to protect the residents from wandering off the premises. Residents typically live in shared rooms and have a strict daily routine. Structured and monitored activities are designed by certified staff and may include various techniques to improve or maintain basic motor skills, speech and mobility. Most modern Alzheimer’s facilities should be equipped with secured outside gardens and walking paths, which have been found to be helpful in Alzheimer’s treatment.

Also Known As:

  • Memory Care
  • Dementia Care

Payment Options:

  • Private Pay
  • Medicaid

Price Range:

  • $2,500 to $7,000 per month

Micro Community

Micro Communities are rather new to the senior care scene, but are growing in popularity. A micro community refers to a small facility that can provide many levels of senior care, but on a smaller scale than most assisted living facilities. Micro communities strive to provide a home-like atmosphere with a small group of seniors (between 5 and 10) rather than a more populated facility. These communities typically provide three daily meals, cleaning services, laundry, social activities and even transportation in some cases. This situation is a good idea for seniors who are looking for similar services that an Assisted Living Center or Nursing Home might offer, but with a concentration on living within a comfortable family atmosphere. This is a good option for those seniors who shy away from large communities or group activities. Because of the more intimate setting, seniors can get more individualized attention from the on-site nurses and caregivers.

Also Known As:

  • Residential care homes
  • Adult family homes
  • Personal care homes
  • Adult foster homes
  • Group homes
  • Board and care homes

Payment Options:

  • Private Pay

Price Range:

  • $3,000 to $7,000 per month

Respite Care

Respite care is a temporary care system that is designed to provide caregivers a break from permanent care services in the home. Typically, most assisted living and nursing home communities offer respite services that may last from one week to a month. Time stayed in a respite care location is decided by the primary caregiver and the respite care options provided.

As far as health care during a stay, respite patients receive all of the same provisions as permanent residents: meals, healthcare, activity participation, etc. Respite care for Alzheimer’s patients exists in many assisted living and nursing home centers and is fairly common due to the round-the-clock care required. Respite care is primarily designed as a provisionary period only, but it’s also very common that “temporary” respite patients easily get accustomed with their new home and decided to move in after their short term stay.

Also Known As:

  • Short-Term Stay Programs

Payment Options:

  • Private Pay
  • Medicaid (in some instances)

Price Range:

  • $75 – $200 per day

In-Home Care

Home Care is designed to develop a health care plan within the home so that seniors who may need some assistance can remain in the comfort of their own homes. A Home Care Specialist usually is trained to provide Activities of Daily Levels (ADL’s) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s). ADL’s include personal hygiene like bathing and dressing as well as regular meal preparation, exercise, taking medicine, etc. IADL refers to life errands like transport, medical appointments, paying bills, etc. In both cases, which normally overlap quite a bit, a Home Care specialist acts as a companion and is there to give physical as well as emotional support. Depending on the needs of the patient, Home Care specialists can be on a live-in basis or come by once a week.

Also Known As:

  • Home Health Care
  • Home Care Aide
  • In-Home Personal Care

Payment Optons:

  • Private Pay
  • Medicare/Medicaid via certified home health agencies

Price Range:

  • Typically an hourly fee

Adult Day Care

Similar to Respite Care, Adult Day Care programs are designed to give care givers a break from the mental and physical stress of taking care of an elderly patient, but on a less structured basis. While Respite Care offers week-long or month-long temporary stays with appropriate medical assitance, Adult Day Care is a place where seniors can go on a daily basis and return to their homes in the evening. Some facilities may have over night programs as well. This allows family members the freedom to work and continue with their lives while at the same time, providing care for a loved one.

While Respite Care typically takes place in a formal facility, often times, adult day care will take place in a local church or community center, although still monitored by trained elder experts. Typically, Adult Day Care programs are designed to provide companionship, cultural and educational activities, physical exercise, social interaction, meals, and much more on a daily basis. And while individualized plans for healthcare (medicines, limited mobility) are also taken into account, these programs generally do not provide in-depth medical services.

Payment Options:

  • Mostly private pay

Price Range:

  • Typically an hourly fee

Hospice Care

Hospice Care is a round-the-clock care system put in place for patients in need of palliative care. Simply put, it is end-of-life care provided by trained health care professionals. Typically, hospice care facilities treat terminally ill patients with the core objective of providing pain management and basic hygienic needs for elderly patients with a terminal prognosis. Additionally, hospice workers generally provide not only basic medical care, but work to ensure the patient’s comfort and dignity as well. Hospice care may take place in the home with a trained caregiver, but many families choose a hospice care center that is usually better equipped for palliative treatment. Some Nursing Home centers will offer Hospice Care, but this is not always the case. A terminal prognosis by a certified physician may be required for Medicare eligibility or other health care providers.

Payment Options:

  • Private insurance
  • Medicare/Medicaid

Short Term Rehabilitative Service

Short Term Rehabilitative Services are typically provided on a temporary basis for seniors who are in need of post-operative care or rehabilitation after an illness. In this situation, the patient is provided with all medical needs and three meals a day as well as personal hygiene care. An individual health care routine as well as the estimated time needed for residential stay is normally decided by the patient’s doctor and family.

Payment Options:

  • Private pay or insurance

 

Source: Genworth Long Term Care Costs

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