How to Select a Senior Living Arrangement for Your Elderly Loved One
Moving an older loved one into a new living arrangement is an emotional process. However, feelings aside, there are many practical steps we must take before a decision is made. From how to pay for custodial services to the kinds of help they need now, and in the future, there are lots of details to sort out. This guide, presented by the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog, can help you navigate this process.
Paying for long-term care
Even if your loved one is still perfectly capable of caring for themselves, there is never a wrong time to think about how money matters will play out. Medicare does not cover custodial services, only medically necessary and just for a short time. Although all states do have indigent Medicaid programs, your loved one likely does not qualify if they have any cash or liquid assets. For many seniors, the equity in their home is at least part of their nest egg. To find out how much you can expect, research local home prices (houses in Jacksonville sell for an average of $235,000). It’s also helpful to know the average cost of skilled nursing, assisted, and independent living. If you have obtained guardianship, you may need to look into selling their home if they are no longer in a position to care for it for themselves.
Types of elder care
When it does come time for your loved one to leave their home, you typically have three options: skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living. This is assuming you don’t plan to move them into your house.
A skilled nursing facility is meant for individuals that need social, mental, physical, and daily living support. If your loved one needs incontinence care, takes many medications, and cannot do this on their own, or has significant mobility limitations, skilled nursing is a wise choice. Many skilled nursing facilities also double as memory care units for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.
Assisted living is a step down in medical services but is an excellent option for those who still need help with daily needs, such as cooking and taking their medicine. In an assisted living center, your senior loved one can stay active, and they will be offered many opportunities for exercise and off-campus experiences. AssistedLiving.org explains that most centers provide privacy and are not equipped to cater to seniors with dementia.
Independent living offers the most freedom and flexibility out of the three. Most independent living arrangements are set up like apartments, homes, or townhouses supported by a staff of medical and nonmedical professionals. Seniors in independent living usually keep their vehicles and have the option to cook their meals or not. They may be provided housekeeping services and have many on-site amenities, such as a beauty salon and fitness center, to use.
What to look for in a care facility
Regardless of the type of center that you and your senior choose, there are a few things to look for before you make your final selection. These include:
- Price and included amenities. Costs vary even among similar facilities, so do your diligence to find out what’s included. You may find that the least expensive doesn’t include things like food and activities.
- Resident happiness. Make a point to take at least two in-person tours of the facility you choose. Look to see if the residents are happy and if the staff is interacting with them. You’ll also want to pay attention to cleanliness in all of the common areas, including the cafeteria and hallways.
- Location is crucial, particularly for active seniors who plan to continue driving themselves around. Even if the cost is a bit higher, look for a facility that puts your seniors near essential things. Aging.com also notes that your loved one should be close to you or another trusted family member.
When choosing an assisted, independent, or skilled-nursing center for your aging loved one, do your research. Know what you can afford and how much money is available. But, don’t look at price alone. Finally, don’t be shy about asking for recommendations. Your friends and family will be happy to share their experiences with senior care centers near you.
David Goldman, Esq. is a Jacksonville, Florida-based attorney. He practices asset protection, elder law, estate planning, living wills, and much more. With a 9.8 Justia rating and membership in the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys, Goldman has the experience and integrity to handle your family’s concerns.
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