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Monday, Feb. 15, 2016


Exploring the different types of support

Exploring the different types of support

It’s official: The “Silver Tsunami” has hit.

In 2011, the “graying of America” officially began as the first wave of Baby Boomers turned 65. The most dramatic increase in the percentage of our population over the age of 65 will occur during the next 18 year period. Every day for the next 15 years,10,000 people will turn 65 every single day. That’s a lot of gray hair.

According to Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care Survey, an estimated 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care during their lives.

Navigating the world of long-term care can be a daunting task. Hopefully, this information will provide some direction and clarity as you take this journey.

Long-term care is the support and assistance needed for hands-on care called activities of daily living, which include assistance with bathing, dressing, using the restroom, grooming, transferring, ambulation and eating. However, it is often hands-off care called instrumental activities of daily living that is needed and may require the start of care. IADLs are tasks such as housekeeping, meal preparation, companionship and incidental transportation.

There are many long-term care options available. The most common are facility care, adult day care and home care. Understanding your options can help make an informed decision for yourself or loved one. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare does not cover the cost of extended long term care. Long-term care insurance, veteran’s benefits and private pay are the main resources utilized in paying for long term care.

With facility-based care, physical, mental and social activities are available, as well as opportunities to get out into the community. However, facility care requires moving away from familiar surroundings and giving up some independence.

Nursing homes provide on-site nursing care 24/7. Some updated facilities have home-like atmospheres, gardens and more choices on activities and dining than in the past. A nursing home can be used for rehabilitation stays or for those needing skilled nursing care. Shreveport-Bossier median rate, private room: $167 daily; semi-private room: $159 daily.

Assisted-living communities often provide a more home-like atmosphere and a lower level of care than a nursing home.

Assistance with activities of daily living are offered, sometimes with additional a-la-carte pricing. In-room call buttons are provided for emergency assistance and situations. Shreveport-Bossier median rate: $2,955 monthly.

Adult day-care is a similar arrangement to daycare for children. It allows family caregivers to drop off loved ones at a facility during the day for enriching activities, socializing and appropriate care. They allow family caregivers a break during the day but may have limited skill capabilities or hours. Shreveport-Bossier median rate: $63 daily.

Home care provides an option to remain at home in a familiar setting, close to neighbors, surrounded by precious memories, while maintaining a sense of independence. Home care also allows loved individuals to keep beloved pets and maintain a flexible schedule. There are two basic types of home care: Homemaker care (hands-off care) and non-medical home care (hands-on care). Home care services can also be provided in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities for added individualized care and one-on-one companionship.

In Louisiana, homemaker care agencies, often called sitting services, are not regulated or required to be licensed.

According to state statutes, they can only provide instrumental activities of daily living hands-off care such as spending time with an individual, accompanying on trips and outings, preparing and delivering meals or providing housekeeping services. They cannot legally provide any hands-on care. Shreveport-Bossier median rate: $15 hourly.

If hands-on care is required, then a nonmedical home care agency is needed. In Louisiana, non-medical home care agencies are required to be licensed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, ensuring a higher standard of care. In addition to providing sitting services, a licensed agency may perform activities of daily living which include assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, transferring, ambulation and eating. Shreveport-Bossier median rate: $16 hourly.

Even though the process of learning and navigating the world of long term care can be overwhelming and stressful, there are many nonprofit organizations and businesses available to assist you to make better informed decisions.

Scott H. Green is a certified senior advisor and president of Preferred Care at Home. Green can be reached via email at scottg@preferhome.com. Rates are according to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

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