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Posted: 03/28/2017 Posted by:

Senior Care and Nursing Home Considerations

Categories: Uncategorized

Senior care has undergone some significant changes and restructuring in the modern era. In the past, there were really only two solutions: taking care of an elderly family member at home, or sending them to a nursing home. And because everyone’s individual financial situation is unique, it was rare that either of these two very different solutions would “fit perfectly.” Today there are many ways to modify senior care, and to tailor care to an elderly family member’s needs.

Is Power of Attorney set up?

Setting up and enforcing a Power Of Attorney (POA) document can offer critical assistance. This essential tool can help aging adults and families gain peace of mind regarding future care. Being appointed as a Grantee under a POA allows input concerning medical care, housing, financial decisions, etc. for your loved one.  A “Durable” Document will also withstand possible future incapacity, and remain valid when the senior becomes incapable of making decisions for themselves.

Long-Term In-Home Elder Care

Many seniors don’t want to leave their family home. They want to remain around their family, especially when they are ill. Though long-term in-home care is possible, it has to be done with the right training and under the right guidance. Otherwise the senior may suffer from a lack of proper medical care when they direly need it.

Long-term in-home elder care is extremely expensive. Either a round-the-clock nurse generally has to be hired, or one of the adults living in the home will need to quit (or curtail) their employment. Often the issues associated with long-term in-home care are not merely financial ones, but also psychological in nature. Individuals tasked with taking care of their elder family members will often find themselves experiencing what is known as “caregiver fatigue.” Over time, this situation could lead to additional stress and sometimes outright resentment.

In recent years, there has been the development of some new services that can provide care on-demand. Unfortunately, these services are really only available in major metropolitan areas, and can still be very expensive. In-home care is something that many families will cooperate to provide, but it’s generally a transitional period leading toward assisted living or senior care homes.

Assisted Living Communities

Nursing homes are not of a single mold. Instead, they span the gamut from assisted living facilities to more serious hospital functions. Depending upon your elder family member’s needs, an assisted living facility may provide help without taking away from independence. Assisted living centers are designed for elders who need the option of care but don’t necessarily want to give up their day-to-day lives. In an assisted living facility, a senior will be able to take part in community events, enjoy their neighborhood, and get the medical care that they require.

Paying for Nursing Home Care

Apart from not wanting to leave their home, one of the major reasons many seniors shy away from nursing home is the cost. Nursing home care can be very expensive, though it is generally less expensive than care at home. There are a few financial options open for those who want to invest in nursing home care:

  •      Insurance:  Many types of insurance may offer some assistance for long-term care. Some life insurance policies have additional long-term care insurance riders, in particular.
  •      Asset liquidation: If necessary, the assets of an elder family member may need to be liquidated to pay for nursing home care. At this point, an individual may need to acquire legal documentation or power of attorney in order to deal with the elder’s financial activities. If a senior is choosing to liquidate their assets on their own, they may also need to show that they are still sound of mind.
  •      Reverse mortgages can be dangerous. The often complicated terms should always be reviewed with legal counsel before signing.  Reverse mortgages can sometimes be used to essentially cash out of a home that an individual has already built equity in. This “last resort” type of procedure will allow the senior to pay for in-home care, while remaining living in their home, in addition to providing for medical care until they pass.  The reverse mortgage lender will automatically become the owner of home upon the death of the senior, and thus caution is always recommended.

When it comes to paying for nursing home care, it’s important to realize that it’s often not an option. Nursing home care is less expensive than round-the-clock professional at-home care. Inexperienced at-home care is often found to be generally not sufficient for a senior, especially if they have substantial health issues. If you’re currently caring for a senior, and you are uncertain as to  the best financial and legal decisions, you may want to consider consultation with Covelli Law Offices.