Getting to Know Your Long-Term Care Options
three-quarters of the population over 65 will require some form of
care during their lifetimes and more than 40 percent of them will need
long-term care in a nursing home according to the Department of Health and Human
families and friends
usually try to provide long-term care needs for their loved ones, the
that care and the time-period over which it is given will depend on the
availability, capability and willingness of those
Most often, a professional caregiver of some
kind will need to be part of the long-term care plan.
What is long-term care?
care is care provided for a wide range of personal, medical and social
for an extended period-of-time. Determining needs for long-term care is
done by a health professional who can assess the level of disability
recommend the level and duration of care needed. The ultimate goals of
long-term care are to help an individual maintain his or her existing
health, avoid further decline, or to manage a deteriorating condition
level of care surpasses that which the family and friends can provide,
time to consider bringing in support from the outside. If there is a
progression and increase in the extent of assistance needed, family
have time to consider their options for how to proceed. If the decision
to be made quickly, finding the right kind of care with the right care
or facility can be even more difficult to navigate.
average costs for long-term
care in 2010
Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey
|Home Health Aide Services
|Assisted Living Facility
| Nursing Home
Assessing the need for care
step is to determine the appropriate level of care the individual may
A full assessment of what current daily needs are should be made.
daily activities that the person is involved with and see which ones
struggling to accomplish. A professional, such as your doctor, nurse,
care manager, or hospital discharge planner may be helpful in this
‘Daily Activities Assessment Form’ can guide you. Find one here.
the right company to
provide in-home care services
have determined which daily activities need support and that the
able to stay in the home, a few choices for care are possible. Family
friends can pitch in to cover certain needs and/or a homemaker service
health aide can come in and offer support for those areas.
services companies help seniors who are able to function in their homes
need some assistance with household duties such as cooking, cleaning
running errands. A home health aide provides more extensive personal
family and friends typically engage in. Assistance at this level is
help a senior with Activities of Daily Living such as bathing,
and transferring, among other support.
case, someone you don’t know will be coming into the home regularly and
for someone you love. Finding the right person or company takes lots of
research and many questions. Here are some to get you started:
the agency licensed by the state?
the agency certified by Medicare to meet federal requirements?
the agency provide references from doctors, hospital discharge
clients and their families?
qualifications and credentials does the care provider have?
the care provider supply references?
are the hiring practices of the agency? How do they find their care
What are their requirements for employment with the agency? Do they do
background checks on all applicants?
does the agency train caregivers? Do they provide continuing education?
the caregivers licensed in their fields and insured? Are they certified
and first aid?
do the supervisors monitor and evaluate the quality of care given by
the care provider?
you get to interview and choose the people/person providing the in-home
prior to them starting?
does the agency handle billing?
the agency provide a detailed written care plan before care begins?
is the procedure for changing caregivers should you feel uncomfortable
one that is assigned to you?
find more questions through the www.csa.us/homecarequestions.
Facilities that support long-term
alternative to the homemaker and home health aide is the assisted
facility. In this case, the individual moves out of his or her home and
apartment-style setting. The person has access to consistent support
Activities of Daily Living or some kind of supervision while still
a level of independence.
person needs more medical assistance, a nursing home is the next
Nursing homes offer shelter and care for seniors who have more serious
functional impairments or cognitive deficits. Services include personal
room and board, supervision, medication, therapies, rehabilitation, and
the right assisted living facility or nursing home, it takes more than
right questions. Tours of the facilities and talking to other
families are necessary to determine if that particular facility is a
for your loved one.
questions you should ask and the observations you should make include:
this facility Medicare/Medicaid certified?
the home and the current administrator licensed?
the staff for the latest Quality of Care report. If there are
mentioned, ask if all of them have been taken care of?
the home conduct background checks on all staff?
the home have abuse prevention training?
it easy for friends and family to visit?
residents have choices at mealtimes?
there water readily available at all times of the day?
nutritious snacks available at all times of the day?
residents make choices about their daily routine?
there enough appropriate activities?
there enough staff at night and on weekends to cover the needs of each
does the home respond to emergency situations? What is the home’s
with nearby hospitals?
residents clean, appropriately dressed and well groomed?
hallways clear of clutter and wide enough for wheelchairs and walkers?
the facility appear and smell clean, have good lightning, and is it
at a comfortable temperature?
the staff treat residents well? Are they warm, friendly and responsive?
the food look and smell good, and is it served at appropriate
to try some samples.
there handrails in the hallways and grab bars in the bathrooms?
exits marked clearly?
questions for care facilities can be found at www.csa.us./nursinghomequestions.
any long-term care situation, it is a good
idea to observe the caregivers in action, preferably before you hire
before a senior moves into a facility. Work with the company or
determine how to accomplish that. The more questions you ask and the
information you can get from the company or facility itself and from
have used it, the more the final decision will align with the senior’s
needs and provide a safe and comfortable living situation for the