If you find yourself in a caregiver position for an aging parent or parents, you may face the prospect of choosing a nursing home or other long-term healthcare solution for them. With the proper resources and a careful selection process, you can maximize the quality of life for your loved ones.
Skilled Nursing Facilities Provide a Home When They Can’t Live By Themselves
Skilled nursing facilities provide an option when it’s not possible for your loved one to live by themselves. These facilities are typically designed for different “levels of care,” a formal designation that reflects the level of disability or illness they can accommodate. Some facilities are best for those who simply need a minimal level of assistance and who can live more independently, while others are better able to work with residents who are profoundly disabled or bedridden.
Make sure that the facility you select maintains a nursing home MAR (medication administration record) and a TAR (treatment administration record). The facility should consistently keep up with these records and you should be kept abreast of developments in your loved one’s care.
Home Care Is Often an Option
If you have the financial resources or long-term care insurance, you can keep your loved one at home in many cases. Even in many situations involving serious illness or disability, your loved one may experience equal or better care in a home environment.
An at-home care plan will often involve at least two agencies, and it’s important to understand the distinction. Home health organizations provide skilled nursing, physical therapy, and even doctors who make “house calls” to coordinate your loved one’s health care. The cost of these organizations is often covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid programs.
Home care organizations, by contrast, provide non-medical caregivers who can help people with daily functions which they may no longer be able to do by themselves. Everything from assisting with errands and driving your loved one to medical visits to bathing and grooming can be performed by these agencies. They can also provide companionship. However, the cost of these organizations, while much lower per hour, is less commonly reimbursed by insurance plans.
Whichever route you take with your parent’s care, you should keep them informed to the extent that their cognitive functions permit, and encourage them to participate in making decisions with you. For most of us, our parents took care of us before we were able to care for ourselves, and it’s time to return the favor.