Article written by Lydia Chan, Alzheimer’s Caregiver
If your senior loved one lives at home but you worry that he or she may be struggling to keep up on personal care and daily household demands, you might choose to bring in a home healthcare professional — or you may begin to wonder if your loved one could be ready for an independent or assisted living community. For some advice on determining whether your loved one could be ready for the transition into residential senior care, read on.
Danna & Associates offers personalized legal services for elder law, estate planning, and special-needs planning. To schedule an initial consultation, call 718-273-0300.
Indications Your Loved One May Be Ready
Knowing whether to move a senior loved one into residential care is rarely simple, especially when your parent, friend, or relative has made it clear that he or she wishes to live independently at home. If your senior’s health and safety are a concern, or your loved one can no longer keep up with tasks such as bathing, cooking, and cleaning, however, it may be time to consider the benefits of transitioning him or her into a care community.
To help you decide whether your loved one could be ready for a senior living community, Dr. Jami Barnett of ConsumerAffairs recommends asking yourself the following questions:
- Has your loved one fallen one or more times at home?
- Are your senior’s activities of daily living (ADLs) becoming more of a struggle?
- Does your loved one frequently forget to take his or her medications?
- Is your loved one suffering from depression, isolation, or loneliness?
If you feel that your senior loved one could be happier, healthier, and safer in an assisted or independent living community, it may be time to talk to your parent, friend, or relative about the benefits of residential care. To have a productive conversation with your loved one, try to introduce the topic as naturally as possible — and listen carefully to your senior’s anxieties about the transition. Give your senior some time to consider the idea, tour multiple communities, and make the decision for him or herself.
If you need help with legal issues pertaining to long-term care, you’d be wise to consult a capable attorney. Danna & Associates offers their clients compassionate legal guidance to help deal with these complicated issues.
Choosing Between Independent and Assisted Living
Once you’ve talked to your senior parent, friend, or relative about the benefits of residential care, you’ll need to determine whether an independent or assisted living community will be best for him or her. There are some major distinctions between these two types of communities, and it’s important to understand these differences before making a decision. Assisted living communities, for instance, are best for those who need help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and taking medications. Independent living communities, however, offer senior-friendly housing, on-site fitness centers, social activities, and other amenities that can help to make life easier and more enjoyable.
Paying for Residential Care
When choosing the right type of residential care community for your loved one, you’ll also need to consider the cost of residing at an independent or assisted living facility (assisted living costs an average of $4,000 per month). Expenses vary by facility type, location, and the specific types of amenities that are included, but assisted living facilities usually cost more than independent housing communities. Many seniors choose to pay for long-term care through selling their homes, but you’ll need to consider the local real estate market (Staten Island home sales average $580,000).
You need not become impoverished in order to obtain government benefits to pay for long term care for your spouse. There is a law that protects the spouse of a person who is in a nursing home or assisted living facility. An elder law attorney can advise you on what options are available to you, and help you determine how to protect your assets. If you are single and own real estate, an elder law attorney can advise you on whether or not the real estate will need to be sold, and if so, the appropriate timing to avoid complications and delay in obtaining benefits that may otherwise be available. See a competent elder law attorney before liquidating assets to pay for long term care.
Moving your loved one into an independent or assisted living community is a difficult decision to make, but it could be vital to your senior’s health, safety, and happiness. If possible, however, it’s best to introduce the topic of assisted living early on so that your loved one has plenty of time to consider the idea and select the right community for him or her.