Contrary to what you might have heard, Obamacare doesn’t cover long-term care insurance.
If anyone should win an award for being too pushy, it’s probably me. I can’t seem to take “no” for an answer, and I don’t mind throwing all of my powers of logic and persuasion into the argument to help make it harder for the other person to deny my position. But, when it comes to senior housing, trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to move is a bad idea. Here’s why:
- Their stubbornness isn’t based on logic. Well, at least not the type of logic that you’re probably employing. The problem with arguing about a person’s safety and comfort is that they don’t view the decision in those terms. A large number of seniors view the move to assisted living or a nursing home as an admission of weakness, or worse, that the end is near. Giving up one’s home and autonomy isn’t something that they want to do because it implies that they’ve lost relevance. So, any arguments you make, no matter how persuasive, will likely fall on deaf ears.
- For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more you push, the more they’ll push, the more they’ll hate you. Your best bet is to help them discover senior housing on their own.
- Do you really want to be “that” person? There is a fine line between being a crusading child who cares about a loved one and being a crusading child trying to push through his/her own agenda. While you may see yourself as the savior in the situation, you might also be turning people off with your tactics.
If you feel that there are safety concerns associated with your loved one staying home alone, then you have some options:
- Begin documenting health and behavioral problems. The more data that you can bring to the table, the better prepared you’ll be for future discussions. Having a demonstrated pattern of behavior or health problems can help convince otherwise reticent family members that there is truly a problem.
- Call a family meeting. Inevitably, there will be one family member who says, “Everything is fine, Mom’s just a little confused.” There will be another family member who wants to send Mom to a nursing home as soon as possible. The trick is to lay out all of the information and craft a plan so that everyone feels more comfortable with the situation.
- Considering hiring help. The easiest way to delay a move to a nursing home is to hire someone to come in and help on a daily basis. This has a few benefits: not only will someone be there to report back on Mom’s progress, but Mom will also have someone making sure that she eats and bathes on a regular basis.
- Focus on quality of life. Being able to prepare your loved one for life in a new community is your greatest asset as a caregiver. Having scheduled transportation and an active social calendar can help give seniors back some of the independence they may be losing by staying at home. Focusing on the benefits of such an arrangement is to your advantage. Another option, especially for seniors who have had surgery or need short-term help, is to emphasize how temporary the move can be. Once they regain their strength, they’ll head back home.
While almost all seniors have qualms with giving up their independence, most will eventually realize when they can no longer live on their own. Unfortunately, that realization may take longer than you would like. Rather than try to force someone to move when they aren’t ready, take time to understand why they’re reluctant to move. Don’t try to reach a conclusion in one sitting. Instead, focus on small changes that can improve your loved one’s quality of life and help give you peace of mind.
Note: This post originally appeared at Cariloop.com.
When most people think of retirement communities, they are actually thinking of nursing homes, which are a specific type of facility that cares for people with very high needs. If you think that your loved one needs to move into a nursing home, here are some things to know before you start your search:
Nursing homes provide nursing care around the clock. Compared to an assisted living or independent living where residents receive some services, nursing homes are staffed with nurses who have experience working with people who need high levels of care like wound care or special therapy.
Most nursing home visits are paid by Medicaid. Medicare will cover the first 100 days following hospitalization, but after that, you’ll need to apply for Medicaid, tap your long term care insurance policy, or pay out of pocket.
Nursing homes cost about $75,000 per year. The cost varies based on location and room configuration (private or semiprivate rooms), but nursing homes aren’t cheap.
Medicare and Medicaid rate nursing homes. Want to know what a professional inspector thought of the community? Check out Medicare’s site: Nursing Home Compare. It’s got ratings for every nursing home in the United States. It’s free to use, and you can search by city.
Nursing homes are only one type of retirement community. There are several other options (like independent living, CCRCs, assisted living, and memory care), but nursing homes provide the most care and are most suitable for patients with advanced diseases who need skilled nursing care around the clock.
Note: This post originally appeared at Cariloop.com.
I get asked all the time if there are things that someone should watch for during their visits to senior housing facilities. While some communities can hide poor management or bad staffing, it’s very likely that you’ll notice some signs if there are any. Here are the top things to watch for during your visit:
Foul odors. Bad smells are a bad sign, especially in assisted living or nursing. You should be concerned if you can clearly smell urine or feces. If it’s enough to make your stomach unsettled, there’s a good chance that you should leave.
Unhappy staff. Ultimately, a retirement community is only as good as its staff. Disgruntled worker can cause all sorts of problems, including stealing money or abusing residents. If the staff aren’t happy, then get out while you still can.
Empty apartments. It’s not always a warning sign, especially in new communities or during recessions. But, retirement communities that cannot keep their apartments full likely lose money. You don’t want to move in, only to have the place close six months later. If a facility has 50% vacancy, ask them why. If they are the only ones in town with that many vacant apartments, then you should do extra research to make sure that there aren’t problems or skip them entirely.
Lack of maintenance or attention to detail. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal to let the shutters go an extra year without being painted, delaying regular maintenance is a sign that management might be fine with waiting an extra day to bathe nursing home patients or brush their teeth. Do extra research before moving into a facility where the small items are not fixed in a timely manner.
I wish that I could say that every single retirement community in America was safe, but that’s simply not true. The truth is that consumers have to be wary of their senior housing choices. While I hope I’ve drawn attention to some typical problems, the best thing that you can do to stay safe is simply to pay attention to your gut feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable, then get out.