If you’re starting to do your research on different senior care homes, but you’re feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of information out there, don’t get distressed. Senior Care Center is here to make your load lighter and clarify the need-to-know details about senior homes. Our advisors love to counsel you and guide you through the process of selecting the right home for your loved one. As you’re planning on moving your loved one to a senior home, here are some facts you should know before choosing a home.
1. Not All Homes Are Created Equal
In a perfect world, we would like to think that every senior care home has the full range of amenities to suit every senior citizen’s needs and wants. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Every senior care home is different–from amenities, to staff size, to housing type, community size, to pricing, as well as services offered. There are communities that are as big as hundreds of residents and staff members, to as small as 6 residents in a care home. The staff and senior resident ratio can also differ in each community. If your senior loved one requires heavy assistance, these are all factors to consider. For this reason alone, we would encourage caretakers to first write down a priority list of what your senior loved ones need. The top priority to look at are your loved one’s medical needs and concerns.
Once you are able to prioritize the type and amount of medical attention needed, then prioritize any dietary or nutritional needs. Also consider your budget and the location of the facility if you are planning to visit your loved one often. Other concerns that you can address include religious and cultural preferences. All of these factors are taken into consideration when you call in and ask a Senior Care Advisor for help. We simplify this process by asking you a few questions and help you determine which facilities are matched to your loved one’s needs as well as your concerns.
2. Not all Homes Provide The Right Support
We encourage our clients who call in to determine what kind of support their loved ones need. For example, you may need to ask whether your loved one needs specialized skilled nursing, around-the-clock medical attention, or very little medical attention. Your answers to these initial questions will help you rule out certain facilities that won’t provide you the medical services your loved one needs. This is because not all senior care facilities offer skilled medical staff who specialize in caring for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other chronic conditions that need qualified care.
Assisted living homes provide little to no specialized medical services; these homes emphasize personal care assistance in everyday functions such as getting dressed, bathing, eating, etc. However, nursing homes and memory care homes offer medical services and will have nurses on staff. Be aware that most facilities have doctors on call, but not on-site. While you are looking for a community that meets your loved one’s medical needs, we encourage you to ask specific question when you tour the facilities. If your loved one has a serious medical condition, ask staff members how fast it would take for a doctor to come on-site. Also ask about their emergency medical protocols and how they would notify you of any news should something happen to your loved one.
3. You May Need To Pay For Personal Care In Independent Living
Seniors in good health may consider moving to an independent living community or into senior apartments. However, in either case, seniors and their family members should be aware of the limited medical attention that will be provided on-site. Since it is assumed that senior residents are in good health, there will be less emphasis in providing medical attention and personal care services. Each facility will be different in how it manages medical emergencies, so be sure to ask questions of how the facility and staff operates in these scenarios.
Independent living communities and senior apartments may provide amenities such as 3 meals each day, linen service, housekeeping, and other general maintenance, but they do not offer personal care services. This means if you or your loved one needs some help in a daily activity such as walking, eating, getting dressed, or other functions, you will have to find a third-party to provide this service and pay for it out-of-pocket.
4. The Limitations of Medicare and Medicaid
Some people may be surprised to hear that Medicare does not cover the costs of assisted living facilities and other long-term care. Medicare is specifically for senior adults 65 years and older. It primarily covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing home facilities, as well as in-house care. Medicare will help cover expenses from a stay within a skilled nursing home for up to 20 days (following a 3 day stay in a hospital). On the other hand, Medicaid is distributed according to each state and could vary depending on one’s income. If one is approved for Medicaid, the program would cover certain nursing facilities, health aides, and long-term care. However, some senior care homes do not accept Medicaid. Therefore it is important to check with each senior community to see whether or not they accept Medicaid. Our Senior Care Center advisors are able to give you a hand if you need help finding the right facility that will accept Medicare and Medicaid.
5. Nursing Homes Are Federally Regulated, But Assisted Living Homes Are Not
Another important note about senior care homes is that not all care homes are regulated in the same way. Nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are highly regulated by federal law because of the distribution of Medicare, which covers the costs of nursing home stays. However, assisted living homes are not covered under federal regulations but by state regulations. The conditions of each assisted living home can vary according to each state’s regulations and laws. There is no consistent standard pertaining to an assisted living facility’s condition, quality of care, staff, amenities, and services offered. For this reason, we encourage our clients to ask detailed questions to the management team when visiting an assisted living facility. Each home will operate differently, and it is important to note the quality of management at each community.
If you are just getting started on finding the right home for your loved one, let us help. Senior Care Center is here to give you a hand when it comes to finding the perfect place that will meet your loved one’s needs. Give us a call today at (866) 518-0936 and our advisors will help you step by step through the process. For more information on how to select the right home for your loved one as well as what to look for on a facility tour, check out the articles on our blog.