Five Benefits and Different Types of Long-Term Care Services

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Posted on: 07 September 2018 by Brooke Bowman

Long-term care facilities are designed to help aging seniors get the most out of life, maintain their independence, and receive the medical care they need. Yet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Here are five different types of services and what you can expect from each.

As we age, there may come a time when we deem it appropriate or necessary to make the transition from independent living to a long-term care facility or service. These centers are designed to provide everything senior citizens need, from meals and entertainment to lodging and nursing care.

Though nursing homes are one of the most common types of long-term care facilities, they are not the only option. In fact, the amenities and services provided at each facility vary by need and there are myriad types to fit almost any lifestyle. Today, let’s take a look at five different types of long-term care services and what you can stand to gain by joining one.

In-Home Care

In many cases, a senior citizen will desire to stay in his or her home as long as possible. When this is a viable option, family members might pitch in to help cover the caregiving role. This role can be either paid or unpaid, and is often preferred by those who wish to keep their care as personal as possible. Alternatively, a patient might opt for paid, professional in-home nursing care administered by experts in the healthcare field.

How much time the caregiver will need to spend at the place of residence, what levels of nursing and medical care will be provided, and what activities the caregiver will perform (e.g. grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry) is determined on a case-by-case basis. Today, there is even the option of home telehealth, in which a patient can communicate with a medical professional in a long-distance capacity via video and non-video technologies.

Community-Based Services

In almost every community, there is a host of resources available to assist the local aging population. From adult daycare to volunteer-based meal delivery programs and transportation services, check with your local non-profit center to learn more about what types of programs are available in your area. In most cases, this long-term care is supplemental to additional nursing care that a patient is receiving at home.

This is a broad category that even includes community-centric retirement homes, which often feature clutsters of homes together in one common area to encourage socialization. These can be especially valuable services to personal caregivers who may need a break or simply an additional pair of hands. There are home care agents who can help out with household tasks as well as respite providers who do just that -- step in when needed the most to help takeover routine duties.

Federal Housing Programs

Sometimes, senior citizens might require financial assistance to keep living independently for as long as possible. When this is the case, they can research programs provided through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Designed to support those with low to moderate income levels, the HUD program affords low-cost housing options to those who cannot undertake the burden of a mortgage in a higher tier. As an added bonus, most these HUD communities for seniors also include help with basic household tasks, including meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry care.

Assisted Living and CCRCs

Maybe you are able to live on your own, but need a little extra help carrying out routine chores, including medication management, house cleaning, laundry care and more. In this case, an assisted living facility might be an ideal match for you. These units are set up to allow residents to live as autonomously as possible, though most offer 24-hour supervision to ensure patient safety.

Assisted living homes can also be an excellent way for seniors to meet others, find new friends, attend social events and cultivate a new hobby, as most provide a full schedule of activities and programs to keep residents physically, mentally and emotionally fit. As needed, residents can also join what’s known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), where service levels are adjusted as medical needs progress. Within such a program, a resident will typically transition from independent living to assisted living to nursing home care.

There are also specialized long-term care facilities that fall into this category, designed to focus on a specific type of patient need. One such example is a memory care facility, designed to provide focused care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or related diseases. You can read more about these facilities to see if they’re a good fit for your situation.

Nursing Homes

If a senior citizen requires around-the-clock, skilled nursing care and is unable to live independently, a nursing home is often the natural choice. These facilities are managed and staffed by licensed providers and provide a range of comprehensive services for those who require 24-hour attention. Though these can be the most costly long-term care facilities, there are many programs in place to help offset the costs for eligible patients.

Choosing the Ideal Long-Term Care Facility

Deciding which type of long-term care facility is best for you requires analyzing your specific condition, your current needs, and your plans for the future. Do you enjoy living independently in your home, but just want a little help with grocery shopping or driving to and from appointments? If so, an in-home family caregiver or community-based support provider could provide the services you require.

Are you managing OK on your own, but want to enter into a community that will help you thrive socially while also preparing you for the care you’ll require down the road? If, take the time to tour local assisted living communities to find one you “click” with. By taking the time to explore your options and understand your vision, you’ll be better able to make that next step (or move) forward with confidence.

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