Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Choosing Where to Go for Nursing Home Care

It’s expected that by the end of the year 3.3 million elderly Americans will be living under nursing home care. This means that of people aged 65 and older, 1 in 7 will live in nursing home care, while 1 in 5 of those over the age of 85 will live under nursing home care. For the millions of Americans requiring such care, it’s important that they know where the best nursing homes in the country are located.

This past January, 3,036 of the nation’s nursing homes received the highest possible rating of 5 stars from the United States’ government. Residents of larger states might not have the best luck finding a quality nursing home, despite the number of choices. For example, Tennessee has over 300 nursing homes, although only about a sixth of those nursing homes received 5 stars from the US government.

California has the most 5-star nursing homes with a staggering 312. Rounding out the top five are Pennsylvania with 160, Illinois with 156, Florida with 141, and Ohio with 137.  5-star ratings are given to nursing homes which excel in State-conducted health inspections, nursing and physical therapy staffing, and quality of medical care.

When choosing a nursing home, you should put the quality of the home at the forefront of your search. Make sure you’re getting your top dollar when it comes to paying for care, as sending a loved one away doesn’t come cheap. If it makes sense to send your loved one further away for better care, make sure it’s at least to a facility you can trust.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Growing Number of Nursing Home Residents

There is a startling reality in the United States that over 1.3 million seniors are living in nursing home care. This number is growing every decade, as medicine gets better, and people are living longer than ever. At the price tag that averages nearly $83,000 a year per resident, it’s no wonder why the nursing home industry is as big as it is.

The largest generation of Americans is the “baby boomer” generation, made up of post World War II babies. This period extended all the way from 1946, up until 1964, and consisted of nearly 76 million babies being born in the United States.

While many would prefer not to live in nursing home care, the truth is that at a certain age, many Americans need such care.  Pretty soon, America’s greatest generation will be filling out nursing homes, as more baby boomers are becoming senior citizens every day. In fact, nearly 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 years old every day! At the price tag of about $83,000 per resident, the future for the nursing home industry looks bright.

Not only are these baby boomers becoming seniors in droves, they’re also living longer. The average life span is currently about 83.8 year old. That’s almost 19 years of being a senior citizen. It’s no wonder why the number of people living in nursing home care is higher today than it ever has been in the past..

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care

There’s a very good chance that at some point, someone in your family will need to be placed under nursing home care. In fact, most people over the age of 65 will require long-term care at some point during their life, while 40% will need a brief period of care at the very least. Unfortunately, paying for a nursing home isn’t always easy. The cost of such care can be a serious financial headache to you, and your family. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help ease your burden.

Planning for future nursing home care is not unlike planning for college. You should start saving well ahead of time, and have a plan in place. A long-term care insurance plan, such as Medigap, or a plan provided by your employer can really help offset the costs of living in a nursing home. Usually these plans have to be in place before any kind of event that would send someone to a nursing home, and is impossible to attain once a serious accident, or health problem has occurred. This needs to be considered, as the price of a private room in 2012 was estimated to be as much as $248 a day.

Check to see if Medicare will help cover the costs of sending your loved one to a nursing home. Medicaid provides coverage for short-term, or rehabilitation stays, but does not cover long-term care. In fact, Medicare will only cover up to the first 100 days of care, so keep that in mind when the need for a nursing home arises.
Medicaid can be a better option for some of those who don’t have the funds to provide nursing home care for a loved one. However, there are several different qualifications for Medicaid, as the program is meant to benefit those who truly need it. Make sure you qualify before seeking Medicaid assistance.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Good Questions to Ask a Nursing Home Staff

In addition to asking your loved one some questions to find out if they are receiving the best possible care, you may also want to consider asking the staff some questions.  These problems are even more important if your loved one has a pre-existing medical condition, such as dementia, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s. 

Ensure that your loved one appears happy.  Make sure they aren’t showing any signs of being depressed, and are making the adjustment to living in a nursing home facility smoothly.  If there are problems, talk to the staff about what they are planning to do to resolve these issues.

Here are some good questions to ask the staff:
  • Is your loved one being social, and regularly interacting with the staff and other residents?
  • Are they getting their medication as prescribed?  Make sure your loved one is receiving his or her medications at the proper times to avoid complications, and unnecessary risk.
  • Are they eating the right meals?  Make sure the staff is keenly aware of any medical conditions, and has adjusted your loved one’s diet accordingly.  For example, if they have a heart condition make sure they are kept on a low-sodium, low-fat diet.
  • Have any of their medications changed?
  • Is your loved one getting enough exercise?  Make sure that they are getting out of their room, and staying in good physical condition.  This can help them work through some of the stress that comes with living in a nursing home facility, and help promote a healthier lifestyle.
Keep up-to-date with your loved one’s time in the facility.  If they had a recent accident, health issue, or behavioral problem talk to the staff and make sure that the issue was resolved properly. 

Lastly, make sure you’re doing your part.  Be a reliable resource for the staff.  If they have questions about your loved one’s medical history or personality, make sure you’re available to answer all of their questions.  The best way to ensure that your loved one is getting the care that he or she deserves is by working with them, as well as the staff to better understand their needs.