Wondering about senior housing options? I’ve been hearing this set of circumstances a lot lately: Mom is not doing too well and really cannot continue to live on her own. We think she needs to be in assisted living. Where is a good place for her that is within her budget and that she will like? While I can discuss the facilities in my immediate area, my expertise is in preparing the legal documents a senior may need and advising them of the programs that are available to help them pay for care. I leave the “placement services” to people like geriatric care managers or companies like “Always Best Care” and “A Place for Mom” who can help seniors find the right place to live. However, I can give you some tips to help educate yourself on the different options for seniors.
1. Independent living – for seniors who can live independently but would like to have access to assistance, if needed, this is an ideal option. Independent living communities provide residents with access to many things such as entertainment, dining, medical care, housekeeping and laundry services.
2. Assisted living – sometimes, seniors need help with certain activities of daily living. They may need help with getting dressed in the morning, bathing, transportation or meals. At assisted living facilities, seniors can enjoy an independent lifestyle, but have the regular support of help with daily activities. Such services are included in the monthly rental (such as housekeeping, laundry, utilities, meals, and transportation). Assisted living facilities also have lots of activities, out-door trips and other social amenities. With assisted living, you have someone who can also provide limited medical care and ensure that you are taking your medication correctly and at the right times. Assisted living can be offered in communities that have apartment style housing or in a more residential setting (where there are 4 to 6 bedrooms in a home-style environment).
3. Skilled Nursing care – for those who need around-the-clock skilled nursing care, nursing homes can provide short term rehabilitative care or long term care for someone who has complex medical conditions. Seniors typically share a room with another person, but you can also have private rooms. In addition to the 24/7 medical care, meals are included along with some activities.
4. Alzheimer or Dementia care – these are very similar to assisted living in that there are usually lots of structured activities for the residents, and like skilled nursing in that there is 24/7 care available to help ensure the senior is safe and has quality of life. This type of care can also be given in a nursing home environment. Most of the facilities have secure or locked areas to ensure that residents do not wander off, although residents usually have access to outdoor walking paths and gardens.
5. In-Home care – this allows individuals to stay in their home while receiving assistance with their activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation. It can also include help with transportation to appointments, helping to pay bills, or companionship. In-home care can be structured however the senior needs it to be from once per week to 24/7 care.
6. Respite care – this allows the caregiver to have a break from caregiving by placing the senior in assisted living or nursing home care for a short period of time. Many assisted living communities have respite care programs and the resident can stay anywhere from a week to a month, depending on the situation. The senior receives all the same services that other residents in the community receive.
Next week, we will discuss the cost of care for these types of living options, and programs available to help pay for them.
If you have any questions about estate planning, please call the Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation. Contact me today at (813) 438-8503 if you need estate planning, elder law, probate or guardianship assistance.