Long Distance Caregiving

Senior Cell Phone

 

Choosing an assisted living facility for a loved one can be a tough time for many aging parents and their grown children alike. Placing a loved one in someone else’s care can be difficult, but sometimes it is the most necessary option for a family. It is wise to hold some kind of family meeting ahead of time, before it becomes a matter of urgency.

 

Sometimes a senior care resident may live a couple hours drive or a plane ride away from the rest of their family; but that doesn’t mean that children still can’t play a role in being a caregiver. As a child living a good distance from your loved one in eldercare, even if you cannot serve as the primary caregiver, you can still keep an eye on them from afar.

 

If you live an hour or more away from your loved one in senior care, then you can be classified as a long distance caregiver. Even if you can’t be around all the time to help with daily tasks, there are still some important roles you can play in their lives. Some tasks of a long-distance caregiver include finance management, making arrangements for in-home care, providing emotional support, or being an emergency contact.

 

You don’t have to merely be the natural child of the senior in order to serve as a long distance caregiver. You can simply be someone dear to them who has a stake in their well-being— regardless of your own age, gender, relation to them, or income.

 

Being a long distance caregiver doesn’t require you to drop everything and come running whenever your senior loved-one has a need, but it puts you in the position to at least be ready to listen to them and set some time aside to prioritize them at some point during your week/month. It can be helpful to establish a routine for having check-ups over the phone, Skype, or visitations over a time period that works for the both of you.

 

Long distance caregivers should have a plan to expect the unexpected. Sometimes a social phone call to check up on them and share family news can turn into a more serious discussion of finances, medical needs, or other dining/living arrangements. Sometimes your senior loved one will ask for help, as certain circumstances or health developments make assistance needed. However, when you love far off, they may feel like they don’t want to burden or concern you. In this case you may have to do some detective work to discover whether they have some un-communicated needs.

 

A simple phone call to their facility may not be enough to tell whether an elder needs better help handling their daily activities. A senior may be having trouble preparing full meals or getting their level of needed attention at their facility. If they aren’t telling you about what they may consider to be burdening problems, it may be up to you to call in and ask some higher-ups about how meals are being prepared for residents or how much attention is being given.

 

If you get the impression that the facility is feeding you an insincere report and that your elder is not communicating their true needs, it may be necessary to come by and have a look for yourself. Visits can be a friendly and social matter, without creating drama. But it is wise to keep your eyes peeled for any odd indications or potential trouble areas in your senior’s living conditions. To avoid overlooking any important issues, it may be smart to draft up a list of potential problem areas to check out while visiting the facility.

 

It is not good to be overly suspicious of mistreatment, as most facilities and staff truly are doing their jobs well and looking out for the best interest of their residents. However, it is important to be attentive to the details and subtle messages being communicated by your senior, just in case. The resident you trust the facility to care for will is most precious, dear, and personally loved by you; so it is up to you as a long distance caregiver to keep a place for them in your schedule and your thoughts, even from afar.

 

Decorating Your Nursing Home Room  

Senior Citizen

Many nursing homes allow for a good amount of freedom regarding your decorating of your room and living area. However, it must be kept in mind that space is often limited in assisted living facilities. Whether you have one room or are situated in a suite, you will have to make some decisions about what to bring with you and what will fit into the living space allotted to you. Nursing homes give you more space to work with than your college dorm room did, but you still won’t be able bring everything with you.

 

Here are some tips for you to tap into your inner interior designer when making the best of what you have to work with and make it feel like home:

 

Find Out What You “Can” Bring

Before you start envisioning what your perfect room arrangement will be, it is important to check in with your senior care facility and ask about its policies regarding how you are allowed to decorate.

 

Ask questions about their policy regarding what you can hang on the walls, whether you can change the window treatments, if they provide their own pillows, what plants or pets are allowed, and what electronics are permitted.

 

Once you have a grasp on how free you are to change things around, then you can gleefully get started on arranging your space the way you like it.

 

 

Ideas For Customization

 

Here are a few suggestions for how you might customize your space. There are certainly probably many more creative things you can think of, but use this list as a way to get the ball rolling.

 

  • Be sure to start with the essentials before moving onto the less important decorative things. There are certain practical items that every room needs, like a clock, calendar, mirror that may be easy to forget when you are focused on bringing in the fun extra things. Establish a place for these basic utilities first, then organize the rest of your room around them.

 

  • Select a theme when decorating your room. As you bring in any special wall paper, photo frames, bedding, rugs, flowers, or furniture, it is nice to have a theme of commonality that ties it all together. Although, a hodgepodge “can” be a theme if you want it to. Be aware of everything’s place and position in respect to each other, and give the room a rich consistent atmosphere.

 

  • Have some extra seating available for your guests. Hopefully you will anticipate friends and family from outside and inside the facility to pay you a visit from time to time, so make the room inviting and comfortable by having some extra chairs or sofas around conducive to socialization.

 

  • Keep yourself entertained. Whenever there is not company around or tasks to do, you will have time to yourself. Make sure that you have some items around to keep your brain stimulated. Books are great ways to pass time, and although you can’t carry a whole library with you, it is a good idea to bring some of your favorites to revisit, a religious text, or that novel you always meant to start on. A T.V. can provide some great entertainment for surfing the channels, as well as using a DVD or Blu-ray player to watch some of your favorite films. It might be smart to have some movies around that visiting grandchildren may enjoy watching.

 

  • Displaying mementos can add meaning and fondness to your room. Family photos, heirlooms, cards, and letters will bring an element of nostalgia and homeliness to the environment. Your treasured memories can provide a nice conversation piece to visiting families or residential friends who want to get to know you.

 

Keep these ideas in mind when organizing your living space at your nursing home or senior care facility and you will be on your way to enjoying your stay.

 

Detecting And Preventing Elder Abuse / Neglect

Respite Care

 

Elder abuse or mistreatment includes intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver with harmful effect on a person 60 years of age or older. Although there have been vast improvements to assisted living and senior care facilities over the past decades to ensure senior residents are cared for and accommodated properly, senior abuse is still a problem that some seniors face on a daily basis. All 50 states have laws in place to protect seniors from abuse, and the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force is working to improve the methods in place for screening and inquiring to detect abuse and neglect among seniors.

 

Laws and policies are in place to enforce the rights of seniors and protect them from all the various forms of abuse, including but not limited to:

Physical abuse: Causing pain or injury to a senior.

Emotional abuse: Causing mental pain/distress to a senior by verbal or nonverbal acts.

Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual acts of any sort.

Neglect: Failure to provide food, shelter, or medical attention to a senior.

Abandonment: A caregiver deserting the senior for whom they are responsible.

Self-Neglect: Failure to provide self-care tasks that endangers senior health.

 

Signs of Elder Abuse

 

In circumstances where abuse has occurred, a senior may attempt to keep the abuse a secret due to fear, shame, embarrassment, dependency on their caregiver, or other psychological reasons. The senior may also be incapable of expressing or realizing their abusive situation due to a mental condition that is being taken advantage of. There are however, some basic signs to look out for in order to discover some possible abuse that is taking place. The warning signs of elder abuse can be physical or behavioral.

Physical indications of abuse may include: bruising, burns, dehydration, malnutrition, missing medications, scalp swelling, unexplainable fractures, poor medical condition in spite of proper medical access to medicine, patterned injuries (like slap or bite marks), as well as evidence of sexual abuse.

Emotional indications of abuse may include: frequent arguing or tension between an elder and their caregiver, unaccountable changes to the elder’s mood or personality, depression, or a general state of unease.

 

Preventing/Detecting Abuse

 

In order to prevent elder abuse, it is helpful to review the testimonies and reviews of any prospective assisted living facilities when doing your initial research. Meet with the staff and get a feel for the quality, atmosphere, and community of the facility, as well as what resources are available to senior residents who are experiencing problems.

 

To detect abuse that is already taking place, be sure to listen to your loved one and monitor their behavior when in their presence. Also listen to the caregiver and gauge the vibe you notice from the interaction between the two. Intervene if you suspect that any abuse is taking place. And educate your senior loved one about what they can do if they are experiencing abuse.

Professional resources for handling elder abuse include:

  • The Administration of Aging
  • American Medical Association
  • National Clearing House On Abuse In Elder Life

 

Researching the websites and phone numbers for these facilities will equip you with your options for how to handle any dangerous situations.

 

 

Tips That Help Keep Couples Together In Assisted Living

Alzheimers Assisted living

Life expectancy has steadily increased over the recent decades in America, and marriages are lasting and going strong well into couples’ golden later years. As a result, when it comes time to decide upon a needed assisted living arrangement or relocation, fewer seniors have to enter into this next phase of life alone.

Senior couples may have to decide together where to situate themselves in order to live comfortably and get the medical care they need. This can also be tricky as both spouses may have very different health care requirements or varying requirements for assistance. Both spouses will surely want what is best for the other, but sometimes that becomes complicated when one spouse suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, and the other has taken it upon his or herself to stay and assume a care taking role.

Here are a few helpful guidelines for couples selecting the most appropriate assisted living option available.

Do Your Research Early

Couples can save a lot of stress by getting ahead of the game by doing a little research before assisted living becomes a pressing issue, talking it out and agreeing on a place. Knowing what you’re getting into and having a secure plan before any sudden accident or unexpected problem forces you to think fast or limits your insurance options can make the idea of assisted living much less scary or confusion, and might even give you something to look forward to as a couple if you find somewhere that seems to meet all of your mutual requirements.

Managing Finances

Having a long-term plan for security is part of being prepared and thinking ahead. This entails planning in advance, maybe setting aside some money, saving, or doing whatever else you can to be in a financially secure position to be ready for any possible future adjustment to assisted living.
Residential couples are often charged for one room, with fee lodging for the second person. The average cost per month for room and board is around $1500, plus charges for any extra care as needed. And many senior care communities allow couples to receive and be charged only for the care they need on an individual basis, instead of charging an overall blanket to cover both spouses. Pricing levels are tiered, with lesser-needed assistance on the lower pricing tier. For those seeking a more high-end lodging experience, private one-bedroom apartments for assisted living go for a median rate of $2,575 a month according to the Assisted Living Federation of America. Two-bedroom apartments and multiple bedroom suites are offered at some more luxurious facilities as well for those with greater space needs who can afford an upcharge.

Prepare For the Changes

Making the transition as a couple, to a new life at a senior care facility will require mental preparation and some lifestyle adjustments to anticipate. Modern assisted living communities aim to preserve a sense of independence for their residents, however there will certainly be some changes to adapt to with new routines and social spheres present in this next phase of life. It is imperative to become versed in the routines, regulations, and rules of the land for your prospective senior care facilities when doing your research. A senior couple may enter a facility knowing no one but each other, so socializing and making friends will be necessary to budding into the community. Most senior care residents are widowed, so couples starting a life in assisted living together are fortunate to have someone to have to talk to from the start. But senior care communities are generally quite friendly and sociable with people entering from all walks of life to share rich stories of life’s well lived.

Consider Both Partners’ Needs

When researching prospective facilities, a senior might discover one that’s perfect for him—but maybe not his wife so much, or vice-a-versa. Selecting an arrangement (like every other major decision in a marriage) may require some compromises on both parts to accommodate the preferences and comforts of both partners to call a place home. Please be considerate of the personal and shared needs (emotional, physical, privacy, hobbies, relational, sociable) for both spouses. It is also helpful for couple to look into finding activities or things they can do together, like fitness programs or available interest-clubs.

Range of Senior Living Options 

There are several types of senior care options that vary in the degree and extensiveness of care and independence available for residents. Overview these terms when doing your research regarding the sort of assisted living you as a couple are looking for.

  • Independent Senior Living – An option for couples who require little-to-no assistance with daily activities (driving/medicine/food).
  • Assisted Senior Living – An option for couples looking for a maintenance-free life-style, but can see they might need a little help now or in the future. This option is a combination of amenities and hospitality services, along with basic care services such as medication management and personal assistance with daily activities such as dressing or showing, as well as basic nursing and dementia care.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community– allows seniors to live independently in single-family homes, apartment, condos, and then transition into a assisted living centers when it becomes necessary.

 

While it may for the moment be a touchy subject, and a little inconvenient it is best to be prepared and educated on assisted living options for the future. Try not to leave the responsibility of relocating entirely in the hands of your children, so you can have some say in choosing a living arrangement that is better suited to your preferences and level of comfort as a couple.

Luxury Assisted Living

If you have found yourself fortunate enough to enter retirement financially sound enough to start weighing your options for high-end senior living, then take a few moments to investigate some of the benefits and details are included in more luxurious senior care with this article.

A senior, or a senior couple, who has made a good living and grown comfortable being accommodated with the finer things in life, may find it important to know that senior/assisted living doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the finer things behind. There are tiers of senior living options for all financial standings, and toward the upper tiers, there is what is called “luxury” assisted living.

The Investment

For initial payments typically ranging from $300,000-$1,500,000, senior care communities bearing a resort feel are available around the country. These facilities are especially hospitality-oriented, forgoing all semblances of the old stereotypes of senior living as boring and restrictive. Luxury assisted living strives to provide a living experience closer to that of staying at a four-star hotel or a cruise ship by being accommodating and conducive to the wants, needs, comforts, and preferences of its esteemed residents.

The difference adds up as luxury assisted living is comparatively bigger and better, with more offerings and attentive service than more basic, functional offerings. Residents soak in beautiful ambiance as they go about their day among the grounds, utilizing a large variety of provided activities and conveniences. Below we will outline what to expect from a higher-end senior living community, outlining the housing, cuisine, and activity accommodations common to luxury assisted living.

The Difference

Rooms and lodging are characterized by spacious apartments with high ceilings, typically furnished with a full kitchen equipped with marble or granite countertops. This is an upscale contrast to the majority of conventional assisted living facilities, which often offer a quaint kitchenette with little more than a mini-fridge and microwave.
• Many luxury assisted living facilities provide the convenience of concierge services like those of a hotel, available to help senior residents plan flights, hotels, concerts, and other aspects of travel.
• The dining experience at a luxury assisted living facility is a gourmet delight, offering a variety of high quality food options prepared by experienced certified chefs. To further diversify their cuisine offering, some facilities have two or more restaurants additionally available in the senior care community for residents to frequent.
• There is little excuse for boredom at luxury assisted living facilities, where there are numerous programs catering to the wants and needs residents have for activity, entertainment, and education in the community. Atria Kew Gardens in New York schedules over 200 events every month. The Belmont Village facility in Westwood, CA hosts an annual fashion show for residents. Activities and specialties will vary by facility, be sure to investigate what is fun or unique about the facilities in your area or your desired retirement destination. But apart from activities, luxury assisted living offers a variety of classes on a number of subjects as well as training on how to use current technologies to keep residents in touch with the modern outlets for communication and socialization with their friends and families.
• Additionally, luxury facilities often provide more personalized care and assistance in the form of therapy services. Personal therapy, pet therapy, counseling, and other offerings are available for residents to get any personal help that they desire.

Luxury facilities also offer money return and redistribution policies to residents who choose to leave or pass on while under the facility’s care to assure an asset base for the resident’s children or inheritance. After gaining admittance, it may relieve many seniors to know that many such luxury senior living facilities have policies that assure anywhere from 70-90 percent of the initial payment may be returned if the resident chooses to leave, or will be returned to the inheritance upon death, to ensure that the financial wishes of the resident are ensured and satisfied.

When to Move Your Parents into a Nursing Home?

nursing HomeMoving your parents into a senior living home can be a difficult decision, and one of the main questions people end up asking is, When is the Right Time to Move Your Parents to a Nursing Home? While there is no single definite answer, there are certain things that occur that can help you decide when the time is right. Moving them into a home too early or late can actually pose a few issues, such as them being unable to care for themselves and not getting the care they need for an assisted living facility. This guide can help you make the decision, and ensure your parents move at the right time during their senior years.

First things first

Before it’s time to move your parents into a nursing home, you need to start the search. It can take a while to find the right nursing home, and there’s a lot of details you’ll need to work out such as covering the cost of care, and visiting different facilities to find the one that’s right for you.

Ask for their opinion

Obviously, you have to do what’s right for your loved one in certain situations, but asking them how they feel about moving into a nursing home is important. When you decide without including your parents in the process it can lead to feelings of anger and possibly regret on your end. Your parents may be just fine with going into a nursing home, and if they’re not you can outline the positive aspects of going into a nursing home, with emphasis on how it will benefit their life.

Watch out for red flags

Most adults are unable to care for their parents around the clock, that’s why nursing homes are available. In some cases being without around the clock care could actually pose a risk, so moving into a nursing home is important. The following red flags mean it’s time to start the transition into the home you chose with your loved one.

Recent accidents or close calls

If you encounter a situation where your loved one has a fall, a serious medical scare, or something even more serious, it may be time to start looking into a nursing home. You also want to consider additional factors such as who responded to the accident and how long did it take for help to arrive.

Read: Skilled Nursing Facility or Nursing Homes

Consider their recovery

If your parent was injured due to the accident, you also want to consider their recovery time. Was the recovery quick and they were able to care for themselves in no time, or are they going to need extensive care that may be better provided in a facility run by professionals?

Are any health conditions present?

If your loved one has a current health condition that means frequent trips to the doctor or problems with their memory, such as dementia, this should be factored into the equation. In some cases, these types of problems are better addressed in an assisted facility.

Are they experiencing difficulty with activities?

Is your parents or parent able to perform activities in the same way they once were, such as making breaking, getting ready for the day, or taking their medications? If they experience difficulty performing tasks on their own, this issue may best be remedied through the care provided in a nursing home.

Are you able to provide enough care?

In some causes the elderly will move in with their children if they’re no longer able to provide care for themselves in all areas. The level of care needed can change as time goes on, and it’s important to determine how much care is needed. For example, if your loved one once needed help only with administering medication, but now needs help dressing, bathing, and even assistance going to the restroom, but you’re unable to provide that care, it may be time to look into a nursing facility.

7 YouTube Videos Every Caregiver Should Watch

As a caregiver, you have many responsibilities. You may have been positioned as a caregiver at the last minute, with no formal training on taking care of your senior loved one. Taking care of the elderly, you should have a visual demonstration of how to handle their needs, for their safety and yours. Here are seven YouTube videos that every caregiver should watch.

1. Understanding and Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you may have a limited support system. Family and friends may help out initially, but their support gradually fades away. They are busy supporting their family. Their finances are tied up in their household needs. They don’t understand that even one hour a day provides you with much-needed relief.

You’ll notice signs of caregiver burnout such as having anxiety, restless nights, or are easily frustrated. You may avoid social interactions as well. Second Opinion has a health care team addressing caregiver burnout and what can be done about it. It’s important to address your health and emotional needs before you can assist others.

2 . Feeding a Senior While in Bed

Feeding a senior is not as easy as you would think. There are a lot of concerns, such as if they can sit up properly to swallow food, if they can chew their food, and what foods they can eat. A senior can easily become malnourished due to special dietary concerns of dysphagia. So it’s important that you understand how and what foods to feed your senior loved one. Caregiver Minute presents this video that shows you step by step instructions on feeding a senior while they are in bed.

3. Simple Modifications for Senior Home Safety

85-90% of seniors want to stay at home, and it is recommended they stay home for their mental well-being. Were you aware that the majority of household accidents seniors are involved in occur in the bathroom? Certain accidents such as falling over objects, falling off ladders, or slipping in the bathroom occur often, but can be avoided. Home Instead reviews their Home Safety Checklist. In this video, you will learn simple and inexpensive tips to modify your senior loved ones home for safety.

4. How to Transfer Your Loved One

As your senior loved ones primary caregiver, you are going to need to transition them from a laying down position to a sitting up position. You may need to move them from the bed to a chair. Moving them around often helps prevents bed sores and their muscles from tightening. It also exposes them to other areas of the home so that isolation and loneliness does not set in.

Transferring your loved one around is not easy at all. It is far more difficult than moving a heavy object because you must be careful not to cause physical injuries to yourself or them. Watch this video by Family Caregiver Alliance to learn how to transfer seniors around safely.

5. Managing Medications

A very tough job for caregivers is managing medications. It’s a difficult enough task getting a senior to take just one prescription, but when you have a host of them, it’s confusing as well. Doctors do attempt to prescribe the least amount of medications for a patient. When they are on multiple pills, they then attempt to let the senior take as many as possible together. This is not always safe to do. So in those situations, you, as their caregiver take on the immense responsibility of ensuring they take their medications on time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an outstanding video reviewing various tips on proper medication management.

6. How to Monitor Blood Sugar

Your loved one’s blood sugar should be carefully monitored. If it’s too high or too low, the senior could become very sick. Knowing where their blood sugar levels are at is important to treat them immediately if something should occur. It’s also important to track it so your senior loved one’s doctor will know if their diet should be adjusted or prescriptions changed.

Monitoring your blood sugar is not as simple as poking one’s finger. There are precautions and proper procedures that should be followed. Watch this video from the Mayo Clinic that shows you step-by-step instructions on how to monitor your loved one’s blood sugar levels. They also have this important video demonstrating how to administer insulin using an insulin pen.

7. How To Measure Blood Pressure

High and low blood pressure levels can alert you to a serious problem in your loved one. Too high or low blood pressure could be an indication of neurological or heart disorders. The symptoms include dizziness, thirst, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. However, it’s not always apparent, especially in seniors with diabetes. As a caregiver, you should monitor your loved one’s blood pressure levels to ensure they are safe. Cal Poly’s PolyFit students give an excellent overview and demonstration of how to measure blood pressure.

These videos will help ease your transition into the role of caregiver for your senior loved one. Best of all, they are always there for you to refer to if you get nervous or forget.

Activities of Daily Living

As our parents age, we often try not the think about the worst case scenarios. However, the truth is, your parents will age and come to a state where they depend on us to handle their financial, legal, and emotional matters. It’s important for you to know their wishes and how to obtain important documentation. Here are seven questions to ask your aging parents before it’s too late, and things become complicated.

1. Do You Have Someone to Make Health Care Decisions for You?

In most cases, aging parents are expected to make health care decisions for their spouse. However, decisions can be prolonged or go in the opposite direction of what a person wanted. This is because family and close friends are too emotionally attached, thinking of their own wants and needs. Your aging parents can select a health care proxy who will handle all their health care decisions. Before they designate one, they need to be sure this person can carry out their wishes.

2. Do You Have an Idea of the Type of Medical Care You Want?

Having a health care decision maker only works well if they know your medical care wishes. That’s why it’s important to discuss with the decision maker exactly what they want, especially when faced with the end of life decisions. Comfort levels, pain management, life support decisions, these are all important as your parent does have their own views.

3. Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?

The fact that both of your parents are alive and well does not mean they shouldn’t have a will or living trust established. Typically, when a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse automatically receives the assets. However, what should happen if they become incapacitated or pass away soon thereafter? It’s important that both of your aging parents establish a will or living trust so their possessions can be passed on as they wish.

4. Do You Have Your Long-Term Care Plan in Place?

Some parents believe they will stay at home until they pass on. They don’t think about how they will be able to remain at home and be comfortable. There are costs involved, such as an actual caretaker, medications, and supportive equipment. They may, in fact, not be able to remain at home and need to go to a supportive facility such as an assisted living or nursing home.

The costs of these communities are rising so having a long-term care plan in place, especially insurance, is going to be helpful. If they do have long-term care insurance in place, set up an appointment for you, your parents, and the insurance agent to discuss the policy in full. You need to make sure you understand it and the coverage options.

5. Where Can I Find Your Important Documents and Are They Current?

If you are not familiar with where your parents keep their important documents, it’s time to find out. If something were to happen to them, you don’t want to waste time searching their home for insurance documents, medical paperwork, financial statements, or proxy designation forms. Any documents kept in a safe deposit box should have a designated family member assigned a key. Ensure these documents are up to date as well.

6. Do You Have All Your Doctor’s Listed in One Location?

Should an emergency happen, it could be critical for attending physicians to talk to your parent’s primary care physician (PCP). There could have been a recent appointment that uncovered important information about your parent’s medical condition. You should know who their physicians are and how to contact them.

7. What Are Your Current Medications?

As your parents age, you can expect that sooner or later there may be medication management problems. They may get confused regarding what prescriptions they take and why. They may mix up their dosage. Having a clear understanding of their prescriptions could save your parent’s life should they become confused.

If your parents are comfortable and open with you, go over these 35 questions that AARP has compiled together. Sometimes the best way to be there for your aging parents is to ask them the hard and uncomfortable questions.

Discover 10 things you should never say to your aging parents. http://bit.ly/1DsAmGV

Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Homes

skilled nursing facility The next step for an older patient once they leave a hospital or are no longer able to be cared for at home is a nursing facility. It’s a difficult decision to place your loved one in a facility, and often, families are confused on the most appropriate care needed.  There are, in fact, two types of facilities. One is a skilled nursing facility and the other is a nursing home. These two terms are often used interchangeably. However, there is a major difference between the two.

Skilled Nursing Facility Defined

A skilled nursing facility provides custodial care as well as around the clock licensed medical professionals. There also are physical and occupational therapists available on site so the patient would not need to be sent to another facility for care. A nursing facility cannot be labeled as “skilled” unless Medicare covers them. Medicare ensures the skilled facility meets certain criteria. A few criteria include:

• The facility must have an agreement in place with a hospital in case the patient needs transportation for emergency or rehabilitative care.

• The staff manages, observes, and evaluate the patient care needs such as giving physical therapy and intravenous injections on site.

• Examples of the staff on site of a skilled nursing facility include a medical director, registered nurses, audiologists, and licensed practical and vocational nurses.

• The facility provides on-site laundry services, laboratory services, and respite care.

Nursing Home Defined

A nursing home is a place a patient or resident can receive help with daily living needs. These homes may or may not have certified professional staff members, but it’s not required. Medicare and Medicaid do not govern these facilities. A charitable organization may, in fact, operate the home.

Nursing homes usually are permanent homes for those with emotional, physical, or cognitive issues. They receive daily living assistance. Examples of what you’ll find residents needing assistance within a nursing home include assistance with:

• Bathing, getting in and out of bed, meal preparation, or using the restroom

• Receiving oxygen

• Taking their catheters in and out

Making the Decision to Place Your Loved One in a Home

If your loved one is in need of assistance, it’s often difficult to place them in a home. You may feel guilty as you feel placing them into one is deserting them and not taking care of them. However, consider the instance of your loved one getting hurt at home if you don’t have the strength to lift them in and out of the tub. What should happen if they get up in the middle of the night confused and hurt themselves? Skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes have trained staff to help with their daily care and medical needs. You would be neglecting your loved ones if you did not give them the help they truly need.

Determine What the Best Level of Care Is

In general, you’ll want to start with a nursing home. For instance, a nursing home may be a great start as your loved one can still feel independent. They may have their own apartment of which they’ll have a kitchenette and living room area. Placing your loved one here means they can do light care on their own or may need slight assistance. They can get meals, have housekeeping services, and transportation when needed. There are activities they can choose to participate in such as gardening, playing board games, and working on art and crafts.

Placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility means your loved one requires around the clock care. Your loved one will need assistance with taking medicine, being transported, and help bathing. Their original caregiver is no longer able to care for them properly in the home. Or, if you’ve used the help of a home health agency or private duty nurse, the expense is too much to keep up with.

Think about the safety of your loved one. If they have memory issues, such as constant confusion or forgetfulness, a skilled nursing facility is for them. Does your loved one get up in the middle of the night and wander through the neighborhood? Would they start cooking and leave the stove on? These are more than just custodial needs that need to be met. Their lives are at stake and need professional assistance 24 hours a day.

Before your loved one is discharged from the hospital or while you are determining which move is best for them, a formal assessment may be necessary by their doctor. This assessment helps clarify if a skilled nursing facility or nursing home will best fit their needs.

5 Ways Baby Boomers are changing Long-Term Care

Long-term careAbout 75 million people born between the year of 1946 and 1964 comprise the baby boomer generation and they would be approaching retirement in the coming ages. With aging of baby boomers there will be an enormous impact on long-term care for the elderly. The growth in the number of seniors will significantly change how health care is provided to this large amount of aging people. Further, with loss in boomer-age providers there will be further pressure on the already stressed health care industry.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, almost 12 million people will need long-term care by the end of 2020. The rising concern is not just about the health care facilities but also about the cost of Medicaid and financial preparedness of the baby boomers. Significantly, there are 5 ways in which baby boomers are changing health care industry and you must know about the same to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the coming years.

1. Baby Boomers Live Longer

The first basic concern of the baby boomer population is that they live longer. This directly impacts the long-term care requirements for the aging population. Although the seniors are aging but they tend to live longer due to advancement in medical technologies. Further, since baby boomers are living long past their retirement age, their need for health care and support is significantly high.

2. Baby Boomers Wish to Live Independent

Most of the baby boomers wish to live independent since they have been working independently. After retirement, most seniors do not want to depend on their children and it is their need for independence that drives them to care centers. Most of the seniors would look for health care centers and residential care centers which will significantly impact the long-term care industry. Sometimes, baby boomers also wish to stay at home and require in-home care and assistance.

3. Lack of Insurance

Most baby boomers have the capability to buy insurance but they are not buying enough insurance that is required for long-term care. The services offered by health caregivers are not usually included in comprehensive health care plans and unless enough insurance is bought by the baby boomers, there can be a huge financial impact on the health industry

4. Increasing Government Aid Options

All baby boomers are not eligible for Medicaid and Medicare facilities but they can seek assistance from several government aided options, such as the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program that is exclusively available for federal employees. Seniors can also seek guidance from long-term care ombudsmen to understand medical care options that would be suitable for them.

5. Diverse Health Care Options

Baby boomers will impact the long-term care industry as they would create a lot of opportunities for out-of-home care facilities as well and in-home care services. There will be huge demand for qualified professionals in the coming years and this will significantly boost the healthcare industry.