Options to Consider Besides a Nursing Home

Long term care.  This can prove to be an enormous decision facing many families. The choice does not have to be a nursing home.  Social workers, home health agencies and especially the staff at Kabb Law can help you find the options to nursing home care.
First there are continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), and senior-oriented apartment complexes. These communities combine independent living, assisted living and nursing services.   In the CCRCs there are usually housekeeping services, congregate meal rooms and Meals-On-Wheels, lawn and garden maintenance and 24-hour security. Some of these communities provide recreational activities, and social events. Also, there are different kinds of housing (apartments and houses) and different levels of care.  Many CCRCs require an entry fee as well as monthly fees. Often this includes a legal agreement providing housing and services for life.
Another option would be to order home care services.  This is a prime choice for a senior whose medical needs are small.  More and more seniors in the USA are choosing to “age in place”. The senior can get meals delivered to him/her.  This is an excellent choice, although in some cases, home modifications will be necessary. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than a third of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year. To keep a senior living at home, some of the modifications that might be necessary would include bathroom grab bars, handicapped showers, stair railings and ramps.  Malene Smith Davis, CEO of Capital Caring has said, “Most people really want to be at home.  They enjoy hearing their dog barking outside, smelling food from the kitchen, and having the familiar quilt on their bed.”
There are a number of community services which can help in keeping a senior at home. They would include:
• Adult Day Care
• Friendly visitor programs
• Help with legal questions, bill paying, or other financial matters
• Help with shopping and transportation
• Meal programs such as Meals-On-Wheels
• Senior centers
If the senior “aging in place” needs help with some personal chores like laundry, shopping cooking and cleaning, there are volunteer groups as well as family members and friends that can help with these activities.
Another option, if space and building codes permit, would be for a senior in a single-family home to add an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), sometimes called an “in-law suite.” It is a separate living space within the home or on the home’s lot with its own living, sleeping eating and bathing spaces. With the help of an architect, a home’s existing basement, attic or space over a garage could be turned into an ADU.
Still another option is Senior Housing.  These are apartments and condos for people age 55 and over.  Service vary, and they rarely include meals or personal care. But, they do offer social activities, transportation, movies, etc.
Independent Living Communities is an option.  These are maintenance-free homes and apartments which the residents furnish themselves. The communities offer community centers, pools, 24-hour security, fitness centers and other services. They do not have 24-hour health support.
A sixth option would be assisted living facilities. In here the senior would receive help with daily activities such as bathing and using the bathroom as well as dressing. These additional services carry an extra charge and are not included in the monthly rent.
Another option would be board and care homes, sometimes called group homes.  These are homes that are for people who can’t live independently but are definitely not in the nursing home category. They are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid and are charged at a percentage of the resident’s income.
Finally, the option of hospice care is a viable alternative for people who are terminally ill. The goal of hospice care is to provide comfort for the patient and the families, it is not to cure the illness.
To learn more about nursing home options, call Kabb Law at 216-991-KABB (5222) to speak with one of our social workers to help you in the decision-making process.