Page 22 - Senior Times South Central Michigan September 2020 - 27-09
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Page 22
Senior Times - September 2020
 THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF CARE SETTINGS
By: Donald A Haney, Administrator, Thornapple Manor
  Choosing the right care setting should be balanced between the setting costs and needs of the elder as well as the needs and abilities of the caregivers. Many different terms are used to iden- tify care settings. A long-term care facility and a retirement community are two of the most com- mon terms and can represent many different care settings. A long-term care facility could be used when referring to a skilled nursing facility or even an assisted living facility. Two very different types of facilities that even many healthcare pro- viders confuse.
can be limited. Veteran’s have additional options for assistance.
 Cost for 24-hour in-home care can reach $13,000 per month for just the caregiver’s time. And to be clear, this is a caregiver, not an RN, LPN, or even a CNA. They may or may not have training to provide care. That cost can be reduced or completely eliminated if the elder has a strong family of caregivers and community support.
But as the elder’s care needs progress will the family caregivers be able to provide all the care that is needed? Often the choice to keep an elder at home is done out of duty and cost concerns. When care needs are minimal and manageable this is not a problem and certainly a preferred care setting for everyone. But as the care needs become more demanding the strain on the family increases until in-home help may be required. Those costs will grow as more and more care is needed.
does? Could she help him up after a fall? Even the most dedicated caregivers may reach a point where in-home care is simply no longer manage- able and need to find a more suitable care setting.
Skilled nursing facilities do accept Medicare and Medicaid, which can cover the majority of the $10,000 a month cost for care. They are regu- lated by both the State and Federal Governments and have minimum staffing requirements that include having sufficient staffing. In fact, facility staffing and RN staffing are two of the five quali- ty measures used by the Nursing Home Compare website to help when selecting a facility. In addition, they provide activities and most, if not all, have a restorative therapy program. These programs identify declines in mobility or range of motion and treat the elder keeping or maintaining the highest level of functioning possible. If more therapy is needed skilled nursing facilities have
a therapy team that can provide more extensive therapy under a Medicare program.
In-home costs may be partially offset with a PACE program (Program for the All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) or the MI-Choice Medicaid Waiver program but may still require significant care support from those in the household. And not all caregivers may be comfortable or capable of providing the care that may be required. For example would a son-in-law truly feel comfort- able assisting his mother-in-law with toileting and bathing needs? What if the primary caregiver is a wife whose husband weighs twice as much as she
Assisted living is an option and is generally about half the cost of skilled nursing. Assisted living centers are more flexible and can provide more housing options than a skilled nursing facility. Units can range from studio to one and two bedrooms. They are often more residential in nature and residents have much more free- dom. Staffing and services can vary widely from one facility to another. The type and amount of activities provided can vary and they likely do not have a restorative therapy program. Assisted living centers also require sufficient resources to pay for the care because Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of care. Should the elder out-live their financial resources then alternate accommodations would be needed. Assisted living facilities that are a licensed HFA (Home For the Aged) may participate with the Medicaid Waiver program, which may help but availability
Finally, there are communities that provide a life-care system. These are often called CCRC’s (Continuing Care Retirement Communities). They offer an entire array of services from inde- pendent senior living to assisted living to skilled nursing. Perhaps the greatest benefit of these communities is knowing exactly where the elder will go well before those services are needed. The elder stays within the community as their care needs progress through each level of care. Many of these communities require a substantial upfront buy-in commitment. This amount can vary.
Some require buying in, while others operate on a monthly rental basis that increases along with care needs.
Choosing the right option requires a visit or two to see if the feel and culture is right for the elder. Doing some homework on the quality of the care and staffing levels is important as well. Planning ahead and discussing the options and preferences of the elder well in advance will make the decision process much easier and less stressful when the time comes.
      CARING
“The admission’s gal helped me find the care I needed for my mom, and it wasn’t even with Thornapple Manor, yet! Thank you so much for helping me find the perfect place for my mom’s needs.” Specializing in short-term inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, 24-hour skilled memory and long-term care. 269-945-2407 www.thornapplemanor.com
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