Making Sense of Senior Living Options

Are you concerned about an older relative’s ability to live independently? You’re not alone. This is the time of year when many of us discover that our elderly loved ones aren’t doing so well on their own. Google the term “senior living options near me” and you could get more than 2 million search results.

How do you make sense of it all? One of the first things to do is to think about senior living options as a continuum. As you move through this continuum, the level of support increases—and so does the cost.

The first point on the Senior Living Continuum is aging at home. This is a very real possibility for many older adults, thanks to home modifications and the many medical and non-medical home care service providers now available. In some states, Medicaid home care benefits can help offset the cost, but the benefits vary greatly from state to state.
Independent living is the next point on the Senior Living Continuum. This is a good option for a mostly healthy senior who doesn’t want to live at home or for someone for whom safety is a concern. Many independent living facilities offer communal meals and activities. Few accept Medicaid.

The next point on the Senior Living Continuum is assisted living. These facilities vary greatly, with some offering little in the way of services and others offering extensive assistance with activities of daily living. Few accept Medicaid.

The final point on the Senior Living Continuum is skilled nursing care—also known as the nursing home. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals provide round-the-clock care. Nursing home care is expensive, but it is often the only option for older adults who must rely on Medicaid to pay for care.

It’s worth noting that Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer all these points on the Senior Living Continuum—independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care—in the same facility.

How do you choose? It vital to get the right guidance, and that’s where working with an elder care coordinator in a Life Care Planning Law Firm can help.

An elder care coordinator:

  • Guides families through the many residential decisions during the long-term care journey
  • Helps reduce the amount of time family members spend researching senior living options
  • Mitigates the risk of choosing an option based on inaccurate information. For instance, a family may choose an assisted living facility based on the recommendation of a doctor, sign the admission paperwork, and move the parent in only to discover that that there’s not enough money to cover the costs and the facility doesn’t accept Medicaid.
  • Reduces the chance that family caregivers will make a housing decision based on fear, obligation, or guilt. These strong emotions can make it difficult to take the right actions, which creates unintentional risk.

An elder care coordinator’s expert guidance is invaluable throughout the process of deciding where an elderly loved one will live. If you assess the older adult’s needs early on and get the right services, you can minimize and even eliminate risks. Older adults get what they need, and the adult children can go back to being kids.

Find a Life Care Planning Law Firm near you.