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Nurse with Senior February 6, 2015

Long-Term Care for Seniors: Understanding the Basics

Some of the most frequently asked questions that our Senior Care Experts receive have to do with affording senior care. When people begin their research, navigating the maze of long-term care for seniors can seem daunting. We have compiled some resources to help.

What is long-term care?

Technically speaking, the US Government’s Department of Health and Human Services defines Long-Term Care as a broad range of services that a person may need to meet his personal care needs, including:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Meals
  • Toileting

Within the senior care industry, long-term care is usually defined as Skilled Nursing. At Country Meadows, we offer this service at two of our locations Allentown and Bethlehem. Skilled nursing facilities (sometimes known as nursing homes) provide care for people who are in need of rehabilitation or suffer from serious, chronic health issues and need 24-hour supervision by a nursing staff.

How do you pay for long-term care?

Skilled nursing can be covered by Medicare for a period of time. Long-term care for seniors who meet certain income requirements may qualify for Medicaid. Seniors who require long-term care beyond what is covered by Medicare often have to pay out-of-pocket, or through a previously purchased long-term care insurance policy.

Other types of care, like personal care or assisted living, are paid for out-of-pocket or “private pay.” There are many ways to fund this kind of care, and once the ongoing costs of home maintenance are calculated, retirement community living can be more attainable than most people think.

What services are usually provided in skilled nursing care?

Long-term care for seniors in the form of skilled nursing typically includes 24-hour attendance by a nurse who will supervise:

  • Care of post-operative wounds and IV medications
  • Physical therapy to regain mobility and strength
  • Speech therapy to regain the ability to communicate and swallow after a stroke
  • Occupational therapy to improve independence related to dressing, hygiene and eating

What is the best way to plan for future long-term care needs?

Most people who turn 65 can expect to need some form of long-term care at some point in their lives, but fewer than 33 percent of Americans aged 50+ have begun to save for long-term care. Long-term care can be very expensive, and it is not always covered by Medicare or health insurance. There are many ways to cover the costs, but, as with most things, having a solid financial plan in place is one of the best ways to be prepared.

If you have questions about the skilled nursing services provided at Country Meadows’ Bethlehem or Allentown locations, please contact us today.

 


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