Caring for an Ill or Elderly Parent

This month we are covering the subject of caring for our elderly parents.   Whether your elderly parent suffers from illness or if they are just getting older and need assistance, these steps will help you organize and care for them. This newsletter continues where we left off last time.   We discussed helping ill or elderly parents and loved ones. We ended our discussion after in-home care options. If you are interested in catching up on our newsletters they are all available on our blog. Now we will cover what are your choices when in-home care isn’t a viable option.

If the option to stay in their home is not viable for an elderly loved one you will need to start considering assisted living facilities.

Assisted living facilities are suitable for people who can generally take care of themselves independently but may need some help with routine tasks such as preparing meals, housekeeping, and getting around. These facilities are the most “like home.” They have the least restrictive living environments outside the home. Outside transportation and recreation activities vary widely depending on the facility. Visiting or requesting tours is a good idea to get a better sense of what they are like.

Nursing homes are designed to house and care for very frail or disabled people who are not capable of caring for themselves. This may be a good option if your loved ones needs help at mealtime or has trouble getting around.

Remember to take into account the atmosphere and quality of life concerns for assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • The size and general layout of the facility. Look at living quarters, the dining area, recreational facilities and group activity spaces.
  • The overall cleanliness of the facility.
  • The physical location of the facility. Being on a busy main street may make visitor access easier, but the noise may bother residents.
  • Proximity to friends and family. Loved ones may be more likely to visit if the facility is close by and conveniently located.
  • Research if the facility has organized activities for residents.
  • Safety features. Are there adequate lighting, smoke and fire alarm systems and clearly marked exits? You can request proof that the facility is up to code and safety inspection standards.
  • Proximity to a hospital or urgent care clinic.
  • Proximity to outside resources. Easy access to parks, libraries, theaters and stores can be important for your elderly loved ones quality of life.
  • Pets can be meaningful companions or a source of allergens and other irritations. If pets are important, looks for a facility that will accommodate a pet.

Next thing to consider is the financial factors for assisted living and nursing homes. Obtain a detailed list of all fees and costs. The documentation should indicate what services are covered by the base payment as well as the cost for additional services. It should also indicate any costs that may be contingent on a particular circumstance.

Understand the billing arrangements. You may be expected to make regularly scheduled payments without receiving any prior notice or statement. You may also be expected to set up a cash reserve to finance any optional costs or services.

Rate adjustments may be a factor for indefinite arrangements. Ascertain how frequently rate adjustments can be made and how much advance notification of changes you can expect.

We understand this may be overwhelming for you and your loved one. Talk to an Estate Planning attorney if you have more questions and concerns. Hornstein Law Offices has over a decade of experience in this industry and we can help. Our network also includes elder care professionals we can talk to and refer. 818.887.9401