Navigating Long-Term Care: A Guide for Caregivers
As your senior loved one ages, it becomes tougher to live at home, and eventually they may need the specialized and skilled care offered in senior living. If your family is facing a similar situation, one of the first steps you should take is to find a safe and compassionate community so you will know that your loved one will get the care they need. As you begin to make this transition, we hope the following tips and resources will also provide some peace of mind.
Considering the Cost of Long-Term Care
According to the American Institute of Stress, money has been a top source of worry and tension for families over the past year. If you’re like many of these Americans, you may be dealing with the loss of a job or business. Whether due to these losses or concerns about the cost of long-term care, focusing on what you can control and acceptance can provide relief.
In terms of care costs, it’s also important to be aware of what your loved one’s health insurance policy will cover. Medicare and Medicaid are two of the most popular healthcare coverages for seniors, but unfortunately, neither provides the level of coverage needed for assisted living.
Medicaid may help out with some of the costs associated with assisted living or a nursing home; Medicare typically does not provide any assistance at all unless your loved one signed up for one of the latest Medicare Advantage plans. So you may need to find alternate ways to pay.
If you’d like to put off the costs of senior care for a few years, you could have your senior loved one move into your home, but you may need to make some modifications to keep them safe. For example, if your loved one suffers from dementia, you may want to install alarms on doors and windows to prevent an escape. The same goes for outdoor areas; a fence could prevent them from leaving the property. If you’re planning on installing a fence, know that the materials you use will greatly affect the cost (e.g., chain-link fences run $13 per square foot, while aluminum fencing typically costs around $40 per square foot).
Selling a Home Could Pay for Senior Care
For seniors who own a home, the best option for covering long-term care costs may be to sell the home and then use the proceeds. Depending on how long your loved one has lived in the home, there could be some considerable equity built into it, which will increase the profits. You can also research the local housing market to get a feel for what similar homes are selling for right now.
Ask any real estate pro, and they will agree that now is one of the best times to sell a home, because you’re likely to sell it faster and for more money. Plus, virtual selling tools can make doing so easy and stress-free for seniors and caregivers.
Finding an Assisted Living Community
If you kept up with the news throughout the pandemic, you may recall that long-term care communities were some of the hardest hit. In addition to seniors and those with chronic health conditions being at a higher risk, several other factors made these care communities more vulnerable.
Fortunately, long-term care providers have learned quite a bit, and many of these issues have been resolved. If your loved one has yet to be vaccinated, signing them up could alleviate some of your concerns about their safety.
With their residents vaccinated, many communities have started to allow visitors again. This should ease your fears about senior and disabled family members feeling lonely or isolated during the transition into assisted living or long-term care. If you live far away from your loved one, you can also use technology to stay connected to seniors to help prevent feelings of loneliness.
Making long-term care decisions for someone you love is never easy, but researching your financial options and finding the right senior care home for your loved one can certainly help. Most of all, try to focus on what you can control.
Photo Credit: Pexels
Written By: Harry Cline