One of the many consequences of the elderly population explosion is the corresponding increase in the need for healthcare services aimed at seniors. Specifically, the need for long-term care has increased dramatically in recent years. Most seniors, however, would prefer to put off, if not avoid completely, the need for nursing home care. Fortunately, as the Indianapolis elder law attorneys at Frank & Kraft explain, there are alternatives to a nursing home for those seniors who qualify.
- Community Services. Most medium to large communities offer a variety of community-based services that might help you with your personal care and activities. Some services are free while other may be low cost or may ask for a voluntary donation. Examples of community-based services that may be available in your community include:
- Adult day care
- Meal programs (like Meals-on-Wheels)
- Senior centers
- Friendly visitor programs
- Help with shopping and transportation.
- Help with legal questions, bill paying, or other financial matters.
- Home Care. Depending on your needs, you may be able to get help with your personal activities (like laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning) at home from family members, friends, or volunteer groups. Medicare will pay for home care if you meet certain conditions. In addition, the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance program may be able to help with home care if you, or your spouse, are a veteran.
- Assisted Living Facilities. These facilities provide help with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. They may also help with care most people do themselves like taking medicine or using eye drops and additional services like getting to appointments or preparing meals. Residents often live in their own room or apartment within a building or group of buildings and have some or all their meals together. Social and recreational activities are usually provided. Some of these facilities have health services on site. In most cases, assisted living residents pay a regular monthly rent, and then pay additional fees for the services they get.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). CCRCs are retirement communities that offer more than one kind of housing and different levels of care. In the same community, there may be individual homes or apartments for residents who still live on their own, an assisted living facility for people who need some help with daily care, and a nursing home for those who require more care. Residents move from one level to another based on their needs, but usually stay within the CCRC. Your CCRC contract usually requires you to use the CCRC’s nursing home if you need nursing home care. Some CCRC’s will only admit people into their nursing home if they have previously lived in another section of the retirement community, like their assisted living or an independent area. Many CCRCs generally require a large payment before you move in (called an entry fee) and charge monthly fees.
- Hospice Care. Hospice is a special way of caring for people who are terminally ill (with six months or less to live), and for their families. Hospice care includes physical care and counseling. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort for terminally ill patients and their families, not to cure illness. If you qualify for hospice care, you can get medical and support services, including nursing care, medical social services, doctor services, counseling, homemaker services, and other types of services. As part of hospice care, you will have a team of doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, and trained volunteers to help you and your family cope with your illness. Depending on your condition, you may get hospice care in a hospice facility, hospital, or nursing home.
- Respite Care. Some nursing homes and hospice care facilities may provide respite care. Respite care is a short inpatient stay given to a hospice patient so that the usual caregiver can rest. Medicare covers respite care for up to five days if you are getting covered hospice care. Room and board are covered for inpatient respite care and during short-term hospital stays.
- Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). PACE manages all the medical, social, and long-term care services for frail people to remain in their homes and to maintain their quality of life. PACE is available only in states that have chosen to offer it under Medicaid. The goal of PACE is to help people stay independent and living in their community as long as possible, while getting the high-quality care they need. To be eligible for PACE, you must be 55 or older, live in the service area of a PACE program, be certified as eligible for nursing home care by the appropriate State agency, and be able to live safely in the community. To find out if there’s a PACE program call the State Medical Assistance Office.
- Home and Community-Based Waiver Programs. If you are already eligible for Medicaid, (or, in some states, would be eligible for Medicaid coverage in a nursing home) you may be able to get help with the costs of some home and community-based services, like homemaker services, personal care, and respite care. States have home and community-based waiver programs to help people keep their independence, while getting the care they need outside of an inpatient facility.
Contact Indianapolis Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about nursing home planning, contact the experienced Indianapolis elder law attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.