Can you afford assisted living?
Please give serious thought to “when.” If you have a parent of spouse with dementia or Alzheimer’s eventually they will need more care than you can provide at home—their home or yours. Hospice may be able to offer help. If finances aren’t an issue, certainly you can have home care or nursing care but remember that 24/7 protection and care will be needed. Since wandering is a common issue as if safety in the home, a care facility is often the best thing for them.
It is true that assisted and memory care homes can be costly. Please don’t let that stop you from looking. You can ask the facilities what funding is available in your state. They are usually happy to give you names and numbers of people you can contact for details. You may be surprised. Every state is different, but most will provide funding aid for residential care if needed, subject to their requirements. And many facilities accept medicaid. If they do, usually they must keep a percentage of rooms for residents that need the assistance. Many have waiting lists, so early consideration can be important.
Find your local offices
Should you need state funding, your local social services office can provide you details. The rules and requirements vary by state. Another thing we learned that encouraged assisted living was that if the folks moved in while able to pay, they would be able to stay should state funding be necessary (if their funds ran out). Since they would be in place, they wouldn’t need to move or be on a waiting list.
The VA or the PACE program (Program for all-inclusive care of the Elderly)may offer assistance toward care as well. I know our dad was pleased and relieved when he found they could afford to live in an assisted living home. Knowing Mom would be safe and settled too, was very reassuring to him. It’s definitely something you should check into further. Once you know your state’s requirements, I suggest you contact your accountant and/or attorney for financial and legal issues that may be involved.
In the back of my mind and many years ago, I’d always thought Mom would live with us if Dad died first. We were always very close. When I see the care she now needs, I know it would have been beyond my capability. I love my mother dearly. Even with a loved one that is easy going, the stress from intense caregiving is great.
Physically it may be too difficult to provide the assistance they need. Often it takes two aides to lift a resident up from a sitting position. For that reason, I hope you will consider Assisted Living. For our parents, Dad was concerned about mom’s care should something happen to him. That probably made him more open to assisted living to begin with.
Stop by Assisted Living Homes…
I’d suggest you contact a few assisted living residences early on. Visit a few. Most will allow you to bring your parent or spouse to lunch there. It’s a good way to see the facility and what their “apartments” are like, to see what the other residents are like, and get comfortable with the idea. Tour several if you can. Many will have an assisted living section and a separate, secure memory care section. You might be surprised too at how lively some homes are, with ongoing planned activities scheduled.
They aren’t nursing facilities. Check out the calendar of events they have for the month. Depending on the size, most offer an array of activities to interest their residents. Card games, trips, shopping excursions, movies with popcorn, readings, book groups, bingo, crafts, cooking, Bible studies. Something for everyone. They can be involved in as much or as little as they choose. It’s an excellent way to see what it could be like. Having friends and others around to play with, people looking out for you, meals prepared (many still have kitchens in their rooms as well), laundry done, rooms cleaned. Most times, that sounds pretty good to me even.