Long-term care is a matter that elder law attorneys frequently counsel clients about. There are people who are looking ahead toward their own future in a practical manner, and they want to be prepared. Of course, we also speak with adult children who are concerned about their parents.
First, we should point out the fact that it is not a good idea to assume that most elders will be able to take care of their day-to-day needs on their own throughout their lives.
If you want to get a feel for the long-term care situation, you should certainly visit the government website LongTermCare.gov. This site is maintained by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and you can educate yourself if you take some time to explore this very useful website.
According to the site, the majority of people who attain senior citizen status will someday need help with their activities of daily living. The figure that they have come up with is 70 percent, so it is likely that you will require living assistance eventually if you live long enough to collect Social Security.
Many people think about nursing homes when they think about long-term care, but there are different levels of care that can be received. In an effort to demystify the matter, let’s look at the levels of care before we specifically focus on nursing homes.
Home Health Care Services
There are different levels of care that people may require. Some seniors can receive the care that they need in their own homes. Home health care can oftentimes be provided by family members, neighbors, and friends. There are also paid in-home caregivers that can be engaged; some are qualified to provide basic household assistance, and others have more extensive expertise.
When it comes to the costs involved, we should point out the fact that paid in-home caregivers are by no means inexpensive. We practice law in Hartford, CT, and the average annual cost for homemaker services in our state was $43,472 in 2015 according to a survey has been conducted by Genworth Financial. More extensive services provided by a home health aide averaged nearly $50,000 per year.
If you can receive the help that you need in your own home, you may be able to get financial assistance from the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) “waiver” program. This program is funded by Medicaid, and there are income and asset limits that you must meet to qualify. However, it is called a waiver program because the qualification criteria are less stringent than they are for for Medicaid coverage.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living communities are housing facilities that can be useful for seniors who are capable of living independently with a little-to-no actual hands-on assistance. These facilities may provide meals, laundry services, housekeeping and the like. The units can also include safety features that are useful for senior citizens who may have less than ideal physical capabilities.
Now we can get into the matter of nursing homes. This is the highest level of care that someone can receive. A very significant percentage of people are residing in nursing homes due to Alzheimer’s induced dementia.
How do you know if a loved one requires nursing home care? There are a few different indicators. If you find that a family member can no longer use the phone, shop, or handle his or her own medication schedule, a nursing home may be the logical choice.
When it comes specifically to dementia, there are signs that the condition has reached an advanced stage. Wandering, increasing agitation as the day progresses, aggression, and ever-increasing care needs could indicate the need for full-time residence in a nursing home.
If you would like some information that can help you choose the right nursing home for a loved one, you can visit the website of the National Institute on Aging. There is a lot of great information on the site, and it will give you the underpinning that you need to make an informed decision.
Paying for Nursing Home Care
Nursing home care is very expensive, and Medicare does not pay for it. If you would like to learn how you can prepare for these costs so that you can preserve your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones, we’d be glad to explain your options to you.
Our firm offers no obligation consultations, and we have helped countless Hartford families manage this eventuality. To set up an appointment, call us at 860-548-1000 or send us a message through our contact page.