Adults of every age should plan for and have a thorough understanding of long-term care options before you get to the point of needing care. Researching these options can be confusing and overwhelming but educating yourself is essential to planning for your or a loved one’s future care needs. We hope to alleviate some of the stress surrounding long-term care planning with an introductory guide, which will help you make a well-informed decision when it comes to your family’s unique needs and preferences.
In the first of a two-part guide, we feature a variety of long-term care options best suited for individuals that require a moderate level of care but are mostly independent. Read below to learn more about the communities and services to help you age well at home or in a different setting.
Independent Living Facility
This residential living option is appropriate for seniors who are fully or mostly independent and do not require much hands-on care, although they may benefit from other amenities provided. Independent Living Facilities may consist of apartments or complexes restricted by age, which is often 55 years or older, with rent or HOA fees going towards community services such as transportation or communal meals. Alternatively, this retirement community can be made up of homes, duplexes, or condos with an age restriction, and on top of a purchase price for the unit, there may be monthly fees of $1500 to $3500 per month for services. Residents may have to move to another long-term care facility if their health worsens over time as independent living facilities are not equipped to handle individuals with advanced care needs. Many seniors enjoy the community feel of independent living, but most prefer to stay in their own home at this stage.
Assisted Living Facility
For older adults who do not require a high level of care but need assistance to live safely, an assisted living facility can be a good option. These residences are typically made up of individual condominiums within a larger community and provide meals, housekeeping, assistance with daily activities of living, occasional nursing visits and staff available 24/7 for an additional safety precaution. Depending on the facility, seniors are often charged an upfront purchase for their living unit and/or ongoing fees ranging from $2500 to $9000 per month. Even in upscale facilities, staff members are spread across residents, meals are mass prepared at predetermined times and there is limited flexibility or variety in daily routine. At this stage, many choose to continue living in their home with the help of a caregiver, but home care can also support residents of both independent and assisted living for those that want or need extra one-on-one care.
Board and Care Residential Homes
These are private homes that typically serve residents who live together and receive care from live-in caregivers. These care services are appropriate for seniors who require moderate care and who want to be a part of a more private, home-like community. Services often include assistance with daily activities of living like grooming and dressing and amenities vary depending on the cost, which can range anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per month.
Home Health Care
Home health care agencies can provide nursing care and additional services in the comfort of home. This type of care is convenient for individuals recovering from an illness, injury or any hospital stay. Services may include wound care for pressure sores or surgical wounds, intravenous or nutrition therapy, injections, physical therapy, occupational therapy and bathing. This type of medical home care is often used to handle short-term needs such as recovery from a procedure. Doctors may recommend home health care aides and have them coordinate with non-medical caregivers to maintain and update a care plan, check vitals, monitor pain and other medical evaluations or reminders. Costs depend on the type and duration of care required but can range anywhere from $120 to $240 for a single six-hour visit. The Home Care Assistance care team helps coordinate caregivers and home health aides for individuals that choose to stay in their homes but need medical and non-medical support.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
This living option is optimal for individuals that are healthy and independent now but anticipate greater healthcare needs down the line. These communities offer a spectrum of care ranging from independent living or assisted living to skilled nursing home care all within the same location. This peace of mind comes at a hefty cost, averaging anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million in entrance fees with monthly charges of $3000 to $5000, which may increase as needs change. Similar to independent and assisted living, many residents will hire home care for more personalized help with activities of daily living.
Home care services help individuals who are mostly independent, as well as those with advanced level care needs. Home care is a great option because it allows the individual to maintain or regain their independence while staying in the familiar home environment where they are most comfortable. There are a wide range of home care services, including cooking, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping and errands, transportation, bathing, dressing and grooming assistance, medication reminders, assistance with walking and transferring, companionship and more. Home care agencies can provide hourly or live-in care services and are flexible in adapting to changing needs.
89% of seniors prefer to live in the comfort of home. Moving away to an unfamiliar environment can impact the individual’s emotional wellbeing, which can lead to physical decline, furthering the loss of independence. For seniors that require only a moderate level of care, consider all of the options before making a big move or financial commitment. Stay tuned for the second part of this resource guide on long-term care when we feature options best suited for individuals with advanced care needs.