Choosing Assisted Care
Choosing Assisted Care
As with most decisions in life, a better choice is often made when based on sufficient research and first-hand knowledge. When selecting care and lifestyle options, it is advisable to investigate and to evaluate the many different options long before a final decision is absolutely necessary. Obviously, most towns and cities have so many choices available that making a decision can seem overwhelming. For many regions of the country, this type of information has not been available in a centralized data base, at least up until now.
In addition to reading about the different care options, one should visit the different facilities in-person and online, interview the staff members and residents, try the food and amenities, and discuss the facility with reliable references. Preferably, the prospective client will be involved in all phases of this process. Highly desirable facilities may have waiting lists, so advanced planning is essential. Often, the decision to enlist additional care-giving support comes after a healthcare crisis, but for many different reasons, this can be the least optimal time to investigate options and to reach a decision.
When considering the cost of long-term care options like independent living, assisted living, or board and care, it is important to recognize that these prices (typically a monthly fee) often include rent but also include food, utilities (electrical, gas, cable or satellite television, garbage and waste disposal, water, etc.), and even transportation. Additional services may be offered a la carte or as packages. These residential options can free an individual from the encumbrances of owning or renting a home, making household repairs, preparing meals, among many other factors. Equally important is the fact that these facilities offer increased social interaction and extracurricular activities for their clients, often an improvement from the isolation of living alone. For those who prefer privacy, independent living and assisted living residences can offer as much seclusion as living at home. Most facilities can accommodate couples with varying needs, and some even welcome small pets.
For most people, the cost of care can be a tremendous challenge, and advance planning is of paramount importance in reducing the financial and emotional burden of making these decisions. Long-term care insurance can be an excellent option to help offset the cost of caregiver expenses, but this form of insurance should be purchased long before these services become a necessity. Other than medical treatment provided by a licensed healthcare professional, health insurance providers such as Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance companies do not pay for most types of long-term care. For health insurance to reimburse for assistance with activities of daily living, the patient typically must also receive higher-level nursing services. On the other hand, preventive healthcare is critical to averting health problems, and hopefully these policies will eventually evolve.
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