Life crises happen to young and old alike. But when seniors experience ill health or an injury, the consequences are far more dire. An elderly parent suffers a debilitating stroke. An aging aunt breaks her hip after a fall and is no longer mobile. Events like these can force seniors into a long-term care facility.
In many instances, life-changing events are far from anticipated. Cognitive impairment can sneak up on an elderly person. Physical disabilities can also appear without warning. Rather than wait for a life-threatening condition to compel families to find long-term senior care solutions, plan ahead.
What is long-term care?
Elder care at home is one form of long-term care. Typically, a family member or professional caregiver provides assistance to the senior who requires help with the activities of daily living. Support is provided during bathing, grooming, meal preparation and transportation.
Long-term care may also be provided in a facility designed to provide senior healthcare. Nursing homes are most familiar to families who consider long-term care for an aging loved one. Adult day care is a daytime solution, since centers operate during business hours each week.
Senior housing is an appropriate long-term care solution, as some places provide the essentials, like transportation, meals and housekeeping. Or, assisted living facilities staffed with professionals who help with bathing and medication reminders may be right for certain elderly individuals.
When do seniors need long-term care?
Heart attacks and strokes are common, leaving seniors without the ability to remain independent. When an illness strikes, the senior will require around-the-clock supervision. Long-term care facilities offer constant monitoring and the healthcare services required to sustain the individual’s well-being.
Most often, however, older people experience gradual decline. Frailty or immobility may get worse over time. As the senior seeks more help with daily activities, like using the bathroom or dressing, qualified help in an appropriate healthcare setting becomes increasingly necessary.
Seniors who fail to exercise regularly or who consume a poor diet are likely to require extra support as their health declines. Long-term care also is foreseeable for seniors who have a family history of severe illness. Seniors who are single are at a greater risk for needing long-term care.
How do seniors choose the right long-term care facility?
The required level of care, such as nursing care, plays a major role in deciding upon a long-term care facility. A place close to home may be preferred. Some seniors may desire living in a single room, while others prefer communal living. Costs, too, weigh heavily in the decision.
When should discussions about care start?
People who already have a cognitive condition, like Alzheimer’s disease, should be prepared sooner rather than later to discuss entering a long-term care facility in the near future. Seniors should have conversations about long-term care with family, friends and their lawyer.
What actions help delay long-term care?
Seniors might consider talking to their doctors about ways to delay entering a long-term care facility. Upon reviewing the senior’s family history and health, physicians may recommend actions that can improve the senior’s health. Nutritionists also help the senior plan nutrient-rich meals.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, avoiding smoking and reducing alcohol intake. Seniors who often participate in social activities also stay healthy. Regular doctor’s checkups and a safe home immensely contribute to a senior’s health and well-being.
How do seniors finance long-term care facility stays?
While delaying long-term care is possible, elderly individuals may at some point have no alternative but to enter a long-term care facility. Researching methods to best finance long-term care is critical. Costs vary from state to state and are based on the services required.
Seniors and their families should be aware that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Rather, this government health insurance is available only for seniors’ short nursing center stays, hospice care and home health care. People who need assistance with daily activities are not financially supported by Medicare.
Adequate planning for long-term care facility stays should factor in long-term care insurance. Older people will ideally purchase this insurance in their mid-50s, when costs are more affordable. Additional means of financing long-term care include life insurance and personal income.
Are advance directives necessary?
Individuals who have plans to relocate to a long-term care facility may at some point become incapacitated due to declining health. Making medical decisions about healthcare near the end of life can be a near impossibility. Advance directives empower these seniors when they are incapacitated.
Family members and seniors should discuss putting into place an advanced directive. Upon admission to a long-term care facility, the document is filed into the patient’s chart. If the elderly individual is unable to communicate, the advance directive fulfills the senior’s preferences regarding healthcare.
What are warning signs that long-term care is needed?
Certain behaviors can indicate that extra, ongoing caregiver support will be required. Seniors who lose a large amount of weight may no longer be strong enough to cook meals. Household bills go unpaid as a result of forgetfulness. Clothes remain unwashed, because the senior is in disarray.
In Home Care
While long-term care facilities are often the last resort for some, many opt for care in the comfort of their own home. When electing to age at home, professional caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care provide the necessary in-home support elders need to sustain their health and well-being.
As a licensed, bonded and insured senior care agency, Assisting Hands Home Care is experienced in offering the most compassionate long-term elder care in the western suburbs of Illinois. Our skilled caregivers arrive at the senior’s home to help with meal preparation, light housekeeping, toileting and dressing, among a host of additional personalized, non-medical services.
Whether your loved one requires support for a few hours per week or 24-hours a day, Assisting Hands Home Care is prepared to meet the senior’s care needs. Families and their elder loved ones in Batavia, Bartlett and Aurora, Illinois, rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to help seniors live with dignity.