Has your loved one reached the point where he or she needs more care than family caregivers are able to provide? The decision to move a loved one to a nursing home is a highly personal decision, often influenced by finances and community support. Some of the key factors for deciding whether you can continue providing care for a loved one include incontinence, problems with personal hygiene, wandering, aggressive behavior, and interrupted sleep. For many people with dementia, the decision to seek a higher level of care may be pushed to the forefront after a fall or health crisis that lands them in the hospital. At that point, it helps to know your options and rights when assessing care facilities and options. Here are some guidelines to help you when deciding whether or not to utilize a nursing home:

1. Review your health insurance program

Before reviewing any of the available care settings, it can be important to review your health insurance program, including any supplemental care insurance beyond Medicare. Many long term care options, if not all, can be very expensive and so a good starting point can be to review your coverage options.

2. Compare your expenses

Hiring a full-time caregiver or two, one for weeks and one for weekends, can be expensive. It may not necessarily be as expensive, however, as paying for two people to be in a nursing home. This often makes the most sense when a couple needs more supportive care.

Retirement residences with assisted living services can range from a studio to a self-contained apartment, and is best geared for people who want to remain relatively independent. Supportive care can include personal care, homemaking services, meals, activities, and emergency help. The size and type of facility will often determine the price. Larger, more apartment-like complexes close to amenities will be more expensive, whereas neighborhood homes with 4-8 residents will be more reasonably priced.

Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, often have both private and shared rooms, and provide 24-hour assistance with medical care and daily living activities. These are the most expensive, as the residents are the most dependent upon skilled care.

3. Review all of your options

Before making a decision about the care that your loved one needs, be sure to explore your options. Evaluate and then review those options in regard to location, size of the facility, quality of the staff, and the services available. Once you have explored your options, you will be in a better position to know what kind of care your loved one truly needs. 

Long term care can be a substantial expense, to say the least. You will likely need Medicaid planning to help cover the cost of a nursing home. Without planning, you and your family stand to lose most, if not all, of your assets, paying nursing home bills. Talk to your children so they understand that you want to plan forward and not have excessive nursing home bills. Contact our office today for help planning for the costs of long term and/or nursing home care.