You may have concerns about being able to live at home after cancer treatment. Perhaps you have a temporary or permanent physical change or a broader need for assistance with health and personal care. If home health care is not an option, it may be time to consider assisted living or nursing home facilities that provides care in a residential atmosphere.
Many people are opposed to the idea of moving into an assisted living or nursing home facility. You may feel too young or fear the thought of giving up more control. Remember that the move may be temporary. Also, in a good care facility with a supportive environment, you may actually feel more empowered by letting other people assist you with tasks.
- Physical health: Limitations caused by chronic diseases or physical disability may cause difficulty performing activities of daily living (ADLs) such as walking, dressing, bathing and preparing meals.
- Mental health: Diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis or dementia may result in confusion, disorientation or isolation.
- Concerns about medications: Inability to take medication as directed or a possible need for intravenous (IV) drugs or dialysis.
- Support systems: Lack of a support system, such as key friends and family who can be called in an emergency and are able to assist when you need them.
- Finances: Difficulty managing your own financial affairs or inability to meet present and future care and home maintenance needs with current income sources.
Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes:
Some long-term care facilities provide both assisted living and nursing home care. This allows a resident to start out in an assisted living environment and move into the nursing home level of care later if medical needs change. Ask for more information from your health care team or contact care facilities directly.
Here’s an overview of assisted living and nursing home services:
|Assisted Living Facilities||Nursing Homes|
Paying for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care
Payment may come from your insurance coverage, Medicare or Medicaid, from personal funds or from a combination of both sources. However, if you want to truly protect your assets, we can assist you to secure entitlement benefits that will pay for your skilled care without spending down your assets. Contact us to receive an evaluation to determine if you qualify. Be prepared with:
- Your Social Security number.
- Information about your health condition.
- The reason an assisted living or nursing home facility is necessary.
- Information about your current insurance coverage.
Other good sources:
- Elder care advocates, such as through an area agency on aging.
- Hospital discharge planners.
- Hospital or care facility social workers.
- Doctors or other members of your medical team.
- Local and national cancer organizations.
- The Joint Commission (for reports on facilities).
You can also check with your local Department of Consumer Affairs or Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against a facility.
Factors to consider:
- Licensure and certification: Is the facility licensed, certified and does it have a good record of providing quality care?
- Cost: How will the costs be covered for this living arrangement?
- Assistance: Does the facility provide the medical and personal assistance you need to manage your daily needs?
- Facility philosophy: What goals does the facility have for residents? For example, does the facility encourage residents to be active and independent?
- Medical care: Does the facility have reasonable access to medical care, treatment centers and a hospital if necessary?
- Life in the facility: Are social or learning opportunities offered along with medical and practical care?
- Residents: Would you be comfortable living in the same environment with the residents of the facility?
Visiting a Facility:
The best way to find out whether the facility appeals to you is to visit the facility on multiple occasions and at different times of the day. Be sure to talk with both residents and staff. First, call the facilities that are of initial interest to find out if they accept your type of payment plan and if they have space available. Next, arrange for at least one visit to the facility and if possible, make two or three visits.
Tips for your visit:
- Try to visit at least one time unannounced, during a meal time and on a weekend. This will allow you to see the food they serve and how many staff members are available on the weekend.
- Speak with residents and staff members to find out what life is really like in the facility.
- Make a list of what factors are most important to you, such as:
- Level of independence given to you.
- Comfort of the environment.
- Cost and insurance coverage.
- Convenience to family and friends.
- Bring a friend or family member with you so you can get their impressions.
Preparing for the Change:
Many placements made directly from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility are temporary–an average of four to six weeks. However, even in temporary situations, such a major change in your life can bring up feelings of loss or fears about the future. You may experience grief about having less independence and feel anxiety about leaving familiar surroundings. Such feelings and concerns are understandable and many people have them.
Consider sharing your feelings with trusted family, friends and other people who are in your situation, such as a support group. If your feelings about this decision become overwhelming, talk to a professional such as a hospital social worker, psychologist or counselor.
Contact us today to discuss your Skilled Nursing Facility needs. We can help and you can protect your assets and choose from virtually any facility in California.