Have you or a loved one started thinking about long-term care for both health and personal reasons? Well, you likely don’t know where to start.
To help you know more about what long-term care is like, read through this article to find out more.
What is Long Term Care?
Long-term care is a set of services provided to people of all ages centered around health and overall personal care.
People often associate long-term care with the elderly. However, everyone who needs long-term (or even temporary) care can make arrangements for long-term care.
There are different types of long-term care, which will depend on your condition and needs. A person’s age, lifestyle, health and family history, marital status, and even gender can determine the likelihood of needing long-term care.
Depending on the reason for long-term care, the arrangements can either be temporary or permanent.
Different Types of Long Term Care
There are different types of long-term care that one can choose from, and each has another characteristic to it. If you are looking for the type of long-term care you want, you have to consider which of these types of long-term care suits your needs the most.
That said, here are the different types of long-term care.
When it comes to any long-term care, the most common type is at-home care, where the long-term care services are given in the person’s home.
The people providing the at-home care can be family, friends, or paid professionals. They can stay at home with them or come to the house at a set time and are available for contact at any time.
The range of services and type of care will also differ depending on the need. Unless the patient’s needs exceed the capabilities of the facilities available in the house, they’re likely to opt for at-home care.
Not only is at-home care convenient, but it’s also the best way for the person in need not to feel disconnected socially from family and friends.
Independent Living Communities
Another popular form of long-term care would be independent living communities.
Independent living communities are a home arrangement that is more for those in their retirement and over. The type of housing differs per community. It can range from apartments to detached homes, so it’s best to research beforehand if you prefer one over the other.
Independent living communities are more for older adults who require little medical attention. Thus, many independent living communities might not provide medical staff. However, one can easily hire one for themselves as a separate service from the independent living community.
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
A skilled nursing facility or SNF is an in-patient type of long-term care. This is where people get medical treatment from professionally trained staff. SNFs are also for people who need rehabilitation.
Although SNFs qualify as a type of long-term care, they are also usually not permanent situations. A person needs to fall under specific eligibility to be able to enter an SNF as a resident. For example, the patient suffered a major health-related incident that disables him to take care of himself to some extent.
SNFs are usually mistaken for nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Keep in mind that the latter can be a more permanent type of residency, unlike SNFs.
It’s undeniable that professional long-term care costs money. Those who cannot pay for that constant medical attention most often rely on family caregiving instead. However, that’s not the only reason why people opt for family caregiving.
Aside from cutting costs, some patients do not necessarily require medical attention. Another is that the family can help provide whatever medical or health needs they need. It can help make medical caregiving more personal too.
You can also opt for family caregiving services if everyone in the household is employed and no one is left to look after an elderly loved one. That way, you can continue working and earning an income to provide for a senior family member’s needs.
Assisted Living Program (ALP)
Assisted living programs or ALP are a great alternative to people who might need the 24-hour care that a long-term care facility has.
ALP is great for those who still need help when it comes to accomplishing daily routines. The residents here are also for those who can be mobile without assistance, unlike many individuals in a long-term care facility.
There are different living arrangements associated with ALP, and the term ALP can also differ in meaning per state. Therefore, it would help to do your research on local ALPs before committing to anything.
In the state of California, assisted living programs are handled by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Assisted living facilities are given a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) license and when the facility complies with all government requirements. An assisted living facility licensed to operate in California will be listed in the CDSS database with a page like this
Residential Care Homes
Another long-term care arrangement is residential care homes. There will be people who don’t necessarily need constant medical care. Still, they will need ongoing personal assistance when bathing, eating, and taking medication.
For these cases, residential care homes might be a better choice. And while they do not have a medical facility or staff available 24/7, there can be a visiting medical professional every so often. Therefore, people who have particular struggles or disabilities that prohibit them from accomplishing daily tasks but don’t need medical attention can benefit from this.
The difference between residential care homes and at-home care is that the former requires you to move into a separate living facility whereas you stay at home with the latter.
Aside from that, there is more freedom with at-home care, wherein family members can visit any time. However, there are residential care homes such as Huntington Manor that allow flexible visiting hours. Regardless, it would be best to look for a long-term care facility that provides a sense of familiarity to the residents.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing care retirement communities offer several different long-term care arrangements within its community.
Those advancing in various levels of care needs can move from one level to the next without leaving their residential community. That’s what continuing care retirement communities are about.
They can have an independent living community, a long-term care facility, residential care homes, and others in one place. Given the number of services and amenities available, continuing care retirement communities can be expensive.
How to Choose the Best Types of Long Term Care for Your Loved One
Given that there are several long-term care options to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which type to choose. To help you narrow down your choices, here are the factors that you need to consider before selecting the long-term care that’s good for you or a loved one
Assess the needs of your loved one
The first thing you need to assess would be the needs of your loved one. If they can manage their day-to-day activities just fine, then residential care can be suitable.
However, it would be best if you also thought about what the future holds. If they have a condition that can increase their daily living needs over time, but they are fine now, you have to learn to accommodate that in advance
Check your budget
Many of these long-term care facilities have excellent services and amenities.
However, the more comprehensive the facilities are, the more expensive they’re likely going to be. Therefore, you should ensure that you check your budget.
Talk to a financial advisor and a lawyer to help you deal with the budgeting that comes with planning for long-term care.
Check the quality of care
No matter what long-term care you choose from, make sure to double-check what the quality of care of a particular facility is like. Talk with other residents and caregivers to know whether the quality of care a facility provides is enough to ensure that the person’s quality of life is at its highest.
Visit the facilities to assess cleanliness
When visiting these long-term care facilities, one thing that you should be keeping an eye out for would be the cleanliness. These facilities often offer tours, so make sure you take them up on that offer before committing to anything.
The first signs to look out for are if you smell something terrible. Keep your eyes peeled and your sense of smell sharp.
Ask about staff qualifications
When it comes to long-term medical care, make sure to ask for staff qualifications. Ask for references even if you want to be thorough. After all, you are leaving a loved one in their hands in your place, so you should know who the people are that will be responsible.
You should also observe the staff as you visit the facilities. This is to see whether these seem like the type of facility to hire people who know what it takes to care for individuals that need long-term care.
Check online reviews
Ask the patients what it was like to stay or currently stay in said facilities. There are no better people to tell you what treatment is like there other than them.
Aside from that, check for reviews about these facilities online. That way, you have a better idea of where you’re going to commit a loved one.
Now that you know the different types of long-term care and how to choose between each one, you should be able to make smarter decisions for you or a loved one’s future.
Don’t skip the planning phase, and remember to discuss this with your loved ones. Get them involved in the process if they can.
If you’re looking for an assisted living program, Huntington Manor specializes in hospice care, respite care, as well as short and long-term rehabilitation. You can contact us here or give us a call at (858) 748-3381. We can also refer you to our trusted partners for any services outside of assisted living.