How to Navigate Long-Term Care Decisions
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How to Navigate Long-Term Care Decisions
Making healthcare and long-term care decisions for an aging loved one remains stressful. If you are a caregiver currently facing these challenges, you need extra support and resources more than ever before. You can start with this guide to long-term care, courtesy of Barkley Properties.
Choosing the Right Care
There are many types of long-term care. Family Assets points out that caregivers should review the options carefully to see which would be best for their loved one. If, for example, you are caring for a senior parent who is struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a memory care facility may be most appropriate.
You can ask yourself the following questions to decide what sort of care your senior needs:
● What sort of help does the senior need immediately?
● What level of care will the senior need as time progresses?
● What are the costs of care and how will care be covered?
First, go online to see what facilities are available in your area. For instance, there are more than 20 nursing homes in Birmingham that offer skilled nursing care. Contact those that seem a good fit for you or your loved one, and set up a time to tour the property. You should get an accurate feel for each facility’s cleanliness and professionalism, and also check to see what social activities are planned throughout the week.
Paying for Long-Term Care
Answering the last question is very important for both seniors and caregivers. The unfortunate fact is that even if your loved one has Medicare or other health insurance, these policies rarely provide enough benefits to cover long-term care expenses. Luckily, there are other possibilities.
If your loved one owns a home, you could sell it and then put the potential proceeds towards long-term care and any other care-related expenses. You can use an online calculator to get a ballpark number for the proceeds, but you should also reach out to an experienced realtor.
When there is no home to sell or your senior prefers not to sell it, SeniorLiving.org notes that you could also get fundsby:
● Asking your loved one to cash out a portion of their life insurance policy.
● Talking to a realtor about renting out the property for extra income.
● Looking into government benefits from the VA or state programs.
If it’s necessary to act on behalf of your loved one, there are certain steps to take to ensure you’re legally able to do so. This includes completing paperwork to become power of attorney, create a living will, and possibly be assigned as a social security representative. It’s a good idea to consult with the family lawyer or other expert in this field to get all the procedures in place.
Getting Help With the Move
After you’ve reviewed long-term care options and costs, you may have determined that moving your loved one into an assisted living or skilled nursing facility is the best path forward. If so, you will want to begin planning this transitionASAP and you should also consider hiring help.
Some tasks involved with moving seniors into a long-term care home include:
● Downsizing their personal belongings and selling items to help with care costs.
● Packing the remaining household goods while avoiding potential safety hazards.
● Researching local moving companies.
There are also dedicated senior relocation and transition professionals who have the experience and compassion needed to guide seniors and caregivers through this sort of move.
Having Difficult Conversations
It’s a good idea to have facts and options lined up before you talk with your loved one. So do take care of the steps listed above first, especially if you will need to convince your aging relative to make the transition into long-term care. Pay attention to what you’re communicating with your body language. If you feel yourself becoming stressed, pause to take a breath. While it’s impossible to avoid emotions during such a conversation, having concrete plans can soothe some tensions and worries.
Because this can be such an emotional and stressful talk, it’s really best to have it sooner than later. If you begin to notice an aging loved one slowing down or struggling with health issues, try to bring up the topic of long-term care before there is an urgent need. This will also allow you plenty of time to schedule tours of potential communities, which can help put seniors at ease. Above all, remember to be patient and kind.