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Understanding Long-Term Care Options: Advanced Care Needs

Daughter thinking about care for senior motherLong-term care planning can be stressful, which is why we’ve put together a two-part guide on long-term care options that are best suited to you and your loved one’s needs and preferences. In this second installment, we feature long-term care options for individuals that require an advanced level of care. Read below to learn about the main types of services and communities that will help you make a well-informed decision for you or an aging loved one.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

CCRC’s are suitable for both independent individuals and those with advanced care needs. These communities offer a spectrum of care all within the same setting, including skilled nursing and memory care. However, this peace of mind comes at a hefty cost, averaging anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million to purchase a residence, followed by monthly fees ranging anywhere from $3000 to $5000, which may increase as needs change. Similar to independent and assisted living, residents will often hire supplemental home care for more personalized one-on-one help with activities of daily living.

Memory Care

Memory care, also known as Alzheimer’s or dementia care, is a long-term care option suited for memory-impaired individuals. These living facilities have 24-hour support and structured activities, which are important to ensure safety and quality of life for residents with memory difficulties. This type of care is often provided by skilled or experienced caregivers in an assisted living setting, nursing home or personal care home. Residents live in private or semi-private apartments that have access to outdoor walking paths or gardens within a locked or secured area to ensure residents don’t wander off of the grounds completely. This form of care can cost upwards of $3,000 to $7,000 per month and has the disadvantage of being an unfamiliar living arrangement, which can exacerbate the confusion and agitation an individual with dementia commonly experiences.

Hospice Care

Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support and spiritual resources for individuals and their families in the last stages of a serious illness such as cancer. Hospice services aim to improve quality of life and focuses on comfort instead of curative measures. Services are offered in the home or a hospice center and include basic medical care focusing on pain and symptom control, access to a hospice team member 24/7, medical supplies and equipment, support with meal preparation or errands and counseling for the client, as well as their loved ones. Hospice care helps friends and families manage the practical details and emotional hardships of caring for a terminally ill loved one. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies can work with families in need of hospice care services.

Skilled Nursing/Long-Term Care Facility

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock skilled nursing care for individuals who require a high level of medical care. Services vary between facilities but often include monitoring medication, personal care including bathing and grooming, assistance with eating, social and recreational activities and 24-hour emergency care. Skilled care is provided by licensed and registered nurses or specialized professionals trained in physical, occupational or respiratory therapy. This long-term care option is best suited for individuals with complex medical conditions that require routine check-ups and skilled nursing services. Residents in these facilities often share rooms and eat meals in a central dining area, with costs averaging around $4,000 to $8,000 per month.

Home Care

Home care services can help individuals with advanced care needs and allows the individual to stay in the comfort of home. Services include cooking and meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping and errands, transportation, personal care services including bathing, dressing and grooming, medication reminders, assistance with walking and transfers, and companionship, but can also provide a much more customized care plan tailored to the status, conditions, preferences, hobbies and lifestyle of the individual. Most important, older adults can choose the caregiver and level of service they currently need and then adjust their care plan as needs change. A home care provider like Home Care Assistance can provide a much more comprehensive and personalized solution with caregivers that provide one-on-one support. Services are offered on an hourly or 24/7, live-in basis.

9 out of 10 seniors prefer to live in the comfort of home. For seniors that require an advanced level of care, consider all of the options and choose the long-term care that will offer the most security and happiness for your loved one and the greatest peace of mind for your family.