Monday, August 10, 2009

How do I remain independent in my home without being a burden on my loved ones or having to get assistance?

For reasons ranging from acute illness to long-term health conditions, more than 7.6 million Americans receive in-home care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But that number is far greater if you include care given by family members. Informal care is given to an adult family member in 1 in 5 American households, according to the 2004 survey Caregiving in the U.S. The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman, who spends about 20 hours a week taking care of her mother, according to the survey, which was paid for by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

Failing to Plan

Long-term care is not high on the list for most people. It is difficult to imagine you or a loved one aging to the point where intervention is required. In fact, many people do not give it consideration until it happens.

But…I have a will.

Ironically, a will is not enough protection. Long-term planning is referred to as estate planning and it will not only protect you and your loved ones, but it will guide the process for situations that you may not want, or expect.

While in our profession it is difficult to understand why more people do not take the time to learn about estate planning and the benefits of it, is saddens us to see the crisis situations that could be avoided.

I do not want to ever be put in one of those “homes”

Today in the United States there are over 16,000 nursing homes. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, are for seniors who require constant medical care and need significant assistance with the activities of daily living. The goal of care in a nursing home is to help individuals meet their daily physical, medical, social, and psychological needs. Nursing homes are generally stand alone facilities, but some are operated within a hospital or an assisted living community.

Residents of nursing homes generally have high care needs and complex medical conditions that require routine skilled nursing services. Due to the constant care needs of its residents, nursing homes are required by federal law to have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Residents typically share a room and are served meals in a central dining area. Residents should have the opportunity to be involved in activities that provide mental, physical, and social stimulation. Be sure to ask about activities offered when you tour the facility.

The average cost of care for nursing home care ranges on average $8000 per month. Cost is determined by the level of care needed, the setting where the care is provided, and the geographic location. Due to the high cost of care, many residents use supplemental funding from the government in the form of Medicare and/or Medicaid.