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Choosing a nursing home offers some challenges

Every day until 2030, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 and 7 out of 10 people will require some type of long-term care in their lifetime. At some point, considering nursing home care for a loved one could be one of the most difficult decisions an adult child or other family member must make. The emotional toll on the family members who must consider nursing home care for a parent or sibling could cause division within the family, especially if not all members of the family agree on nursing home placement.

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one presents several challenges for the person making the selection. The decision can be made only after careful assessment of the needs of the person entering a long-term care facility. It is important to match the person’s needs with services provided by the home. An acceptable nursing home for one person may be completely inappropriate for another.

For example, for a person with Alzheimer’s who is known to wander, a nursing facility that does not lock its doors and allows its residents to come and go as they please would not be an acceptable choice. There are specific facilities that provide memory care supports and services. As another example, there are few long-term care facilities within Texas that care for ventilator dependent residents, and even fewer of them that accept Medicaid.

Most people prefer to “age in place” – to stay at home as long as possible before moving to a retirement community or facility. Different types of facilities exist to meet the range of needs. For example, assisted living facilities assist residents with their “activities of daily living,” such as dressing or bathing. Some facilities, including Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), allow residents to move to a different part of the facility or campus equipped to handle increasing needs. Most of these facilities or living arrangements accept private pay only and require large deposits to be admitted to the community.

While these types of facilities may be preferable for those still enjoying a higher level of independence, the facilities may not be affordable for many families. The monthly cost of an assisted living facility can range from $4,500 to $7,500 or more. Nursing home care can cost about $5,500 to $10,000 per month, or more. Even families who start out with a substantial nest egg could easily deplete their assets within a few years.

Long-term care costs are borne by individuals, long-term care insurance, Medicaid (for skilled nursing care), or a combination. Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care. An experienced elder law attorney can assist in obtaining various types of funding for your loved one’s care, to try and preserve as much as is allowable under law and Medicaid rules. An elder law attorney can also be an important resource in one’s search for an appropriate and affordable nursing home.

Make a list of nursing homes that appear to meet your loved one’s needs, check to see whether they accept Medicaid (if relevant), and check to see each facility’s ratings as determined by the State. Importantly, you should visit the facilities on your list to help make your own personal decision.

Careful planning with the help of an elder law attorney could help lift the burden of finding the best suited place for your loved one and help them qualify for long-term care benefits.

You may visit our website at www.wrightabshire.com. Nothing contained in this publication should be considered as the rendering of legal advice to any person’s specific case but should be considered general information.