Moving a loved one to a nursing home is never easy, but when caring for the person at home is more than a family can manage, there's often no other choice. In the case an individual needing memory care due to Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, skilled nursing care might be required for the individual's safety and well-being. And from a financial standpoint, the average yearly cost of nursing home care is more than double the cost of in-home care, but Medicaid covers the cost of nursing facilities, making them the only option for families with limited means.
Nursing homes have a number of services that make the transition easier for your and your loved one and, once your family member is settled in, help to ensure the highest level of care. Here are three you might not be aware of that are worth seeking out.
1. Moving Assistance Program
Not all nursing homes have a moving assistance program, but if yours does, taking advantage of it can lift a huge weight off your shoulders when your loved one is moving to the nursing home from his or her own home. These programs help you manage the individual's belongings and then provide assistance with getting the house ready to list for sale.
2. Asset Preservation Counseling
Some nursing homes provide asset protection counseling to help make your loved one's money and other assets last for as long as possible. Although this counseling doesn't take the place of the services a financial planner or attorney offers, it's free, and it might be all you need to avoid costly mistakes that could delay Medicaid coverage or leave the individual's spouse in an unnecessarily difficult position.
3. Hospice Care
Many people associate hospice care with the last weeks or days of life, but entering your love one into the program as soon as he or she is eligible can improve their quality of life and get you the services you need to best help your loved one. Medicaid covers hospice if the individual's life expectancy is 6 to 12 months, depending on the situation, with comfort care rather care designed to cure. In the case of an Alzheimer's patient, signs pointing to the possibility that the time is right for hospice include the individual being bedridden, unable or mostly unable to speak, and reliance on caregivers for all personal care.
Entering a nursing home is a life-changing event for the individual needing care and his or her family. Choosing a facility with a wide range of services can ease the transition and help put you and your loved one at ease with the decision. Talk to different nursing homes that offer memory care services to see which programs are the best fit for your loved one.