Transitioning to Long-Term Care in 2021: What Caregivers Should Know
November 19, 2021
Making long-term care decisions for a loved one is never easy. After all, the need for long-term care is usually brought on by a serious injury or illness. This means that in addition to figuring out the best care options for your loved one, you may also be slowly watching their sense of health and self decline. That’s a lot to handle, but trying to accomplish this task during the days of COVID can be even more intense. If you find yourself in this unenviable position, David’s Refuge provides a few key pointers to keep in mind.
Your Mental Health as a Caregiver Matters
As you navigate long-term care choices during the current pandemic, it’s important to be mindful of an ongoing mental health epidemic among family caregivers: caregiver burnout. If you consistently feel stressed and anxious about your loved one’s health and well-being, you may be suffering from caregiver burnout. Aging Care points out that seeking relief for your symptoms in the form of self-care and stress reduction is absolutely essential for preventing the more acute compassion fatigue.
Burnout becomes compassion fatigue when those feelings of stress cause you to feel trapped, hopeless and simply disinterested in life. Properly caring for another person is impossible when you are feeling burned out or fatigued yourself, so know that there are times when transitioning a family member into long-term care really is the best option for everyone involved. So if you are experiencing any guilt about your decision, try to keep this in mind, and reach out to David’s Refuge for support.
Assisted Living Can Give Seniors a Second Chance
If the thought of moving your loved one into assisted living is filling you with guilt, it may help to understand the differences between assisted living and nursing homes. Although many people think these two long-term care options are identical, seniors who transition into assisted living can maintain their independence.
Unlike nursing homes, which are designed to provide more dedicated health care to seniors, assisted living communities are generally set up to simply give seniors help with tasks of daily living. This can include preparing meals, taking care of the home and getting dressed. Seniors who have this extra bit of support tend to feel like their quality of life has improved, plus assisted living can be less expensive than more concentrated forms of long-term care.
Of course, your loved one may need more specific care in order to stay healthy and safe. For example, those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s can benefit from living in memory care facilities, where their special care needs can be addressed.
You Need to Come Up With a Practical Financial Plan
No matter which long-term care option you choose for your loved one, it’s also important for you to think about how you will cover the associated costs. Most healthcare insurance plans do not cover long-term care and this can take many seniors and caregivers by surprise. Seniors who rely on standard Medicare plans may be especially disappointed to learn that there is typically no coverage for assisted living or retirement homes. Medicaid does provide some long-term care benefits but even these are minimum at best.
Before you let these Medicare and Medicaid facts cause you distress, however, you need to know that there are other financial options. To pay for long-term care without relying on insurance, Next Avenue suggests checking first to see if your loved one is eligible for any benefits that can help. You can also do some homework around selling your loved one’s home to help with care costs. While COVID-19 has impacted the real estate market, you can still safely sell a home using 3D walkthroughs, virtual open houses and video chat tours.
If you are making long-term care decisions for a loved one right now, you should definitely keep COVID-19 in mind. Still, it can be even more important to focus on your emotional well-being and that of your family members. So make mental health a priority and seek help if needed.
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Article written by Charlene Roth