Learning The Lingo of Long-Term Care

A couple weeks ago, the oldest man in the world, aged 113, died in Japan. You can read about it here. Luckily for him, he died at home. No one ever says “I want to be in a nursing home!” but, for some of us, that will be the only viable option as we age.

A lot of folks I’ve talked to over the years confuse the term “nursing home” with other types of long-term care, so I want to use my article space to lay out the different types of care and services that could be provided. 

Home Care: Home care could include family caregivers, in-home nurses, aides, or a combination of all three. It’s rare, but you can hire 24/7 round-the-clock professional care at home. That is very costly. Keep in mind that if your family is doing caregiving for you, they may be entitled to compensation, which could later help with Medicaid eligibility. Get in touch with me if you want to learn more about Caregiver Agreements.

Independent Living: In this setting, you have your own apartment attached to a larger community. This is ideal if you are able to primarily take care of yourself, but no longer want to worry about the upkeep of your home. Now, you are able to rely on others if something breaks. If you don’t want to cook, the community likely has three meals per day. If you need care, some communities may have a doctor or nurse on site. Example: https://www.brightviewseniorliving.com/types-of-living/independent-living

Assisted Living: Often times, there is a blur between an assisted living facility and a nursing home. But here’s how you can usually tell the difference. First, an assisted living arrangement will cost less (anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per month). A facility like this would work for you if you are able to live somewhat independently, but need assistance. A nurse or caregiver will check on you several times a day, to administer medicine, help with certain personal care needs, etc. Usually, there is a doctor or nurse on site at an assisted living facility. The key difference from a nursing home is you’re not receiving round-the-clock care. 

Skilled Nursing/Nursing Home: This is the most expensive form of long-term care because, in a nursing home, you’re receiving constant care. A nursing home is for individuals who are unable to care for themselves and need help most or all of the time. There are specialized nursing homes as well—for instance, ones focusing just on dementia. Nursing homes can run over $100,000 per year in our area. 

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC): A CCRC is a great option for those who want peace of mind about the future. In a CCRC, all levels of care are available. You typically start in your own apartment (independent living) as part of a vibrant community. You have access to activities, trips, meals, etc. If you need higher levels of care down the line, the CCRCs have assisted living and skilled nursing right on site. You typically pay for an apartment, a monthly maintenance fee, and must show you have a certain level of assets to pay for more advanced care if you need it. 

Deciding what type of care you need can be difficult. A lot of us think we can manage things ourselves and stay at home. Sometimes, that works. Other times, more advanced care may be needed. It is important to have people around you who you trust; who can help you make decisions that best suit your needs. It’s also important to properly plan for any future long-term care needs. An experienced elder law attorney who is well versed in Medicaid planning and asset protection can help you do this in a careful, money-conscious manner.

If you have not yet considered how to plan for future long-term care, contact our office today for your consultation at (215) 706-0200.