YOU AND YOUR PARENT HAVE SEVERAL OPTIONS
ABOUT HOME CARE. In recent years, home care agencies have become quite aggressive in promoting themselves. It seems like there is a home care agency on every street corner, and lots of franchises. Is it right for your loved one? There are two types of Home Care, medical and non-medical. The former would include visiting nurse associations with highly experienced staff. Their job is to help those who have returned home from the hospital or rehab and need substantial care during the balance of their recovery. It can often be covered by Medicare or Medicaid and is an essential service for short-term medical issues.
Non-medical Home Care is just that – it provides Aides to help in the activities of daily living, for example, bathing, dressing, walking, and perhaps light housekeeping. These Aides have little training. In some states, a person can become certified as an Aide by the state with less than two weeks of training. Pay is very low, not much more than at a fast food restaurant, and quality varies tremendously, but the cost is very high. It averages about twenty dollars per hour.
Ask-Carol! does not suggest non-medical Home Care for most families. Here’s why:
- They cannot accept financial assistance programs such as Medicaid
- The cost grows rapidly, quickly making it the most expensive form of long term care
- In an emergency, Aides cannot assist, but can only call 911 or the Agency’s nurse
- It provides a very low quality of life for your loved one, with no activities, exercise, or peer conversations
ABOUT NURSING HOMES. Nursing homes, which today call themselves Skilled Nursing Facilities, were once the only choice, and most parents remember the smells, hospital beds, steel closet, and tray table that were the hallmarks. Today, nursing homes are often of much higher quality, but they remain a refuge for the sickest of the sick, typically the bedridden, severe stroke victims, and those with substantial paralysis. Very few parents need a nursing home except for rehab. Nursing homes do often accept Medicaid, which can reduce the cost, but you can expect to pay over $10,000 per month in many areas.
ABOUT ASSISTED LIVING. Assisted living is only about thirty years old. Before that there were homes for the aged, often run by the state or a county, which provided some care for those who could not live at home or who were indigent. Assisted Living brought much needed change by introducing a very home-like environment with apartments with locking doors and kitchenettes, on-site nurses during the day and sometimes at night, activities, exercise programs, entertainment, trips to the doctor, and more.
Assisted living has expanded rapidly, and today over 1,000,000 seniors reside in one of about 30,000 Assisted Living Facilities around the country. Assisted Living is for those who need help with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. Some Assisted Living Facilities offer only basic care, while others offer services nearly at the level of a nursing home.
Here’s why Ask-Carol! prefers Assisted Living for most seniors:
- Your loved one will be with people their own age and interests
- They will be stimulated through exercise programs, activities, trips, and entertainment
- Someone will always be on hand in case of an emergency
- Parents retain as much independence as possible
- They will be monitored to ensure they take their medications
- They will have three good meals a day, often with a wide selection
- They can decorate then own apartments and bring their furniture
- Many facilities accept Medicaid for families that cannot private pay (varies by State)