Often the holidays provide families with the opportunity to spend much needed time together. It is during this time that we may notice some family members may not be receiving the best level of care for their current health needs. The proper level of care necessary for an individual can range widely and depends on the person’s physical capabilities, mental capacity and ability to pay for different services.
In Home Care – Non-medical care that assists a person with his or her daily needs at home can include the preparation of meals, administration of certain medication and assistance with household chores. The in home care provider does not need medical certification. Medicare does not cover this care; however, some may qualify for VA benefits.
Independent Living Facility – Designed to provide housing for the disabled and elderly, independent living facilities typically provide housing only, though some may offer transportation, recreation and support services. In order to qualify for independent living, the person must be capable of maintaining his own safety. A person must pay for his facility rent, as well as for a sitter, if one is needed.
Assisted Living Facility – Assisted living facilities (ALFs) provide supervision or assistance with daily activities and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Such monitoring would include coordination with health care providers and administration of medication to aware patients. Patients must be able to pay the facility charges, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 a month.
Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities – Because Alzheimer’s or dementia make a person ineligible for ALF care, Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities or SCALFs are available to provide such care. SCALF staff are trained to handle the issues that arise when a person suffers from these mental diseases, but otherwise medically qualifies for assisted living care. SCALF care costs $4,000 to $6,500 a month and must be paid by the resident.
Skilled Nursing Facilities – Skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes are available for a patient who is unable to provide for his own safety or welfare. A patient who is a fall risk or is unable to administer and understand his own medication would fall into this category. Medicare and Medicaid are available to assist with payment for this level of care. However, it is important that a family carefully plan and follow the Medicare and Medicaid guidelines for eligibility.
Hospice – Hospice care is designed to maintain quality of life and comfort during the natural dying process. Hospice care may take place wherever the patient is comfortably residing. Generally, Medicare will assist in payment for hospice care.
The above are general guidelines for care level available. However, each individual’s entire circumstance must be considered when planning for and financing long term care.