Aging is a natural part of life. When the years start to catch up, most people lose the ability to do everyday basic tasks or at least don't do them as well. This could explain why according to the Administration for Community Living, a person reaching 65 has a 70% likelihood of needing long-term care, or LTC, services for their remaining years.
When looking for a care solution for elderly family members, note that not every facility will be a great fit. Some may not offer the services you're looking for, while others may not simply understand how to address the unique needs of your loved one. Here are some tips to help you find the right fit.
1. Narrow Your Search
You'll be happy to know that the days of needing to visit state regulatory agencies to look through paper files are long gone. You can do most of that research online, thanks to digital inspection reports and rating libraries. Medicare offers an online tool that helps citizens locate and evaluate local nursing homes, hospitals, and other care institutions. It employs a five-star ranking system. It details the staffing quality metrics, immunization rates, and inspection reports for each listed nursing facility.
2. Visit in Person
While online searches have made things easier, they can't replace in-person visits. You want to talk to everyone from the staff to the residents. For the staff, ensure you cover all levels. Speak to the administrators, culinary directors, and activity managers before making any final decisions.
Pay attention to the grooming of the residents. Look at their fingernails, teeth, clothing, and hair without being intrusive. Ask if you can sit in the dining room to try out the food and evaluate how the staff interacts with the residents. Make sure you have an idea of the activities your loved one will get to participate in, as they're key to ensuring they stay intellectually active and social.
While there, pay attention to the indoor temperature. It'll tell you if there's a working HVAC system. The Washington Post claims that a home without air conditioning may reach uncomfortable indoor temperatures of 80 or 90 degrees. This can make life unbearable for your elderly family members.
3. Inquire About Visitor Check-In
Although the structure must be safe, you'll also want the assurance that you won't have any trouble visiting your loved ones and providing them the companionship they need. Cloud-based access control allows for seamless and easy visitor check-in, making it possible to access the facility without waiting for help. You enter your details and relevant contact information into a digital form on your mobile device.
You'll get temporary access credentials after completing this form, enabling you to enter the facility and go to the guest area to meet with your loved one. It'll be easier to see your loved one more frequently when access is convenient. You won't have to worry about things like if you'll find a staff member to let you in and how long it'll take.
4. Consider Financing Options
The benefits of enrolling your elderly family members in a long-term care facility are undeniable. However, they do come at a significant cost. In a nursing home in New Jersey, a semi-private (shared) room typically costs around $11,000 per month, according to ElderLife Financial Services.
You'll want to think about your financing options. If you're not well off financially, you can turn to Medicaid, but eligibility requirements vary by state. Long-term care insurance may also be helpful. While these options are great, most people choose to sell their homes and use the proceeds to fund their long-term care services expenses.
While it may be a hard decision to make, enrolling your elderly family members in an LTC facility is beneficial for everyone. You still have your life to care for, which doesn't make you a bad person. Plus, you'll always know their needs are met, whether you choose a nursing home or assisted living facility.