Long-term care does not always mean nursing home

When your grandmother was aging, she had few options. She could hope that one of her children could care for her, or she could go into a nursing home. It was not unusual for an elderly person to spend the last decade of life in a nursing home with other residents in varying stages of decline. This is not so today.

If you are planning for the future, you should know that you have many more choices than your grandmother did. In fact, you have options for many stages of life and levels of care. The challenge is to prepare yourself financially so you can pay for the type of care you need and the quality of care you deserve.

What are my options?

Unfortunately, too many people fail to plan for the potential that they will need extensive or long-term care as they age. This means their families must make quick decisions in a moment of crisis, such as after a fall or serious illness. More often, however, Pennsylvania seniors recognize when they have moved into a new stage of life that may mean a progression of change. Some options you may consider include the following:

  • In-home care can include aides who assist with household chores and medical professionals who tend to treatment plans or therapy.
  • Retirement communities allow you to remain independent with activities and other services on site.
  • Assisted living comes with different levels of independence but provides supervision and medical staff to manage your personal and health care needs.
  • Traditional nursing homes now house only those who require medical care and supervision around the clock, such as those who have chronic or terminal illnesses.
  • Skilled nursing facilities are similar to nursing homes but may also offer other resources, such as physical therapy or speech therapy and are typically reserved for those who are bedbound.
  • Memory care facilities, which are often a separate unit within a nursing home, provide more intense care if you should develop Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.

You may also look into a continuing care community, many of which have each of the above options to allow you to move from one to the other as your needs change. Of course, you can imagine the cost of any long-term care, and saving for such an expense may be an impossible goal. However, with careful planning and the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to achieve peace of mind by preparing effectively for your future needs.

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