Group of senior people looking at photo album at nursing home

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, roughly seven out of ten adults over the age of 65 are going to need long-term care at some point in their life.  The reason for this needing this type of care is due to cognitive impairment.  Half of the residents in long-term care facilities are cognitively impaired with dementia or Alzheimer’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Deciding to put your loved one in a nursing facility can be a tough decision it often is the best place for them to be safe and cared for properly.

Seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s are living with a difficult and challenging illness.  No illness is easy to deal with, but cognitive impairments are more challenging.  Forgetting to do basic activities of daily living is frightening. Over time they can become increasingly confused and frustrated.  At a certain point, it becomes unsafe for your loved one to live at home alone.  Many families initially opt for medical professional to live in the home with your loved one as the familiarity of their surroundings is comforting. Ultimately as the disease progresses, there are other options to consider.  As the level of cognitive decline continues, a skilled long-term care memory unit can provide the additional level of support required of the patient.  Memory care facilities can specialize only in memory care or can be part of a long-term nursing care where they have their own private apt or unit.  Either of these options will offer round the clock care provided by a highly trained medical professionals. Many facilities have security officers on site just to prevent inadvertent straying.  Doors are kept locked so residents can’t leave unattended, and no unauthorized entry occurs.  When you visit, you will show your identification and they will buzz you in so you can see your loved one.  Other services these facilities offer are social events and group activities like arts and crafts, pet therapy, musical performances, gardening and movie nights with popcorn.

Memory care is not the only option for your elderly loved one.  There are assisted living facilities for those that need help with their daily activities like bathing, dressing and medication reminders.  In these facilities, your loved one will live independently but with trained staff nearby all the time.  These facilities are usually not equipped to care for elderly patients that are cognitively impaired.  Nursing home care is another option for your elderly loved one.  These facilities offer more medical care than an assisted living facility.  Patients here are not able to live alone or care for themselves properly.  The care here is focused on medical and not memory care.

Depending on the level of care your elderly loved one needs, you have to make the proper choice for them.  Do they need help with daily tasks, medication help, or do they have dementia or Alzheimer’s?  Do your research to find the best facility that offers the type of care your loved one needs.  Request a tour of the facilities.  Speak directly with the administration representatives.  Does your loved one’s doctor have privileges at the facility?  A lot of elderly patients do not want to change doctors especially when they are this advanced in age.  Is the facility close to family members?  What are the visiting hours?  What services are offered and what services have to be paid for as extras or add on?  These are some pertinent questions you must ask the facility so you can make sure the fit is just right for your loved one.

When you are seeking assisted care for your elderly loved one, payment might also be a factor.  Depending on which state you live in, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, Social Security and cash will be accepted as payments for your loved one to stay there.  Medicare usually covers 80% of the costs associated with living facilities.  Medicaid is an insurance that you can qualify for once you have $2,000.00 or less in assets.  They will usually pay for the remaining 20%.  Private insurance varies from plan to plan.  You will have to contact your provider and get the specifics on what is covered.  You will usually have a co-pay or a deductible to meet.  Social Security benefits can get reassigned to the facility your loved one is in.  They will use that money to pay for their care and also give your loved one a monthly allowance to use as they wish. If you are responsible for the payment, you will pay a down payment and then be billed monthly directly from the facility.  They will work with you on a payment plan.  You just have to communicate with them.

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