You have finally tackled the difficult decision of going to or placing a loved one in a long-term care facility. Many individuals and families often struggle with this choice because they are uninformed of the opportunities and risks. It is an important decision about where you will live, who will be caring for you, the cost of these services, and with whom you will share your community. Below are steps to choosing a long-term care facility, and what you need to consider when doing so.
1. Determine your needs
Long-term assisted living facilities can offer many different services and care options so it is important to find a facility that serves your specific needs. Assisted living is for those who need help with a few daily living activities, like bathing or dressing. Skilled nursing is for those who needs a nurse on a daily basis, are bedridden, or are suffering from more complicated behavior issues. This does not include dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which falls under memory care.
Some long-term care facilities, like BRIA, provide many levels of care in one place. This is an exceptionally good option for people starting out in a senior-care residence and want to stay in place as their needs progress, instead of looking for a new home and caretakers as health conditions change.
2. Determine your price range
Assisted living costs vary as much as the services themselves. On average, long-term assisted living care can cost $3,600 per month, memory care is around $4,700 per month, and skilled nursing is usually from $6,700 per month and more. Health insurance and Medicare do not cover long-term care, but can be used to subsidize other costs, like medication. More than half of the states in the U.S. do not permit for Medicaid to cover long-term care costs, and in the states that it is offered, there are strict guidelines (like you have to be deplete nearly all of your money and possessions) and long wait times.
3. Start the search
Now that you have laid out your parameters and know what you want and need, it’s time to find the facility that will deliver.
Research the history
The facility you choose for your next home or the home of a loved one should have a good track record of providing care and supporting its residents. Staff members should be properly trained and have current certifications. Be sure to research any complaints against the facility and if they were recent. This is where safety red flags would pop up.
Visit in person
A virtual tour is lovely, but it is vital to visit in-person. You will be able to determine first hand the quality and convenience of the neighborhood, ease of mobility, and condition of the facility. This will also allow you to meet current residents and their families. Do they like the facility? What do they dislike about it? What are the problems, if any, with staff members? While you’re visiting, meet with the staff, as well. Look to see if the staff gets along, if they seems rushed or stressed. Are they friendly and attentive? How long have they worked at the facility? A high staff turnover or being chronically understaffed can have negative effects on residents’ care. Most importantly, ask a lot of questions!