While there are plenty of myths about long-term care communities, here are the top five we hope we can debunk for you.
Myth #1 – Long-term care is just for elderly people
Skilled nursing communities carry a license that allows them to provide much more than just geriatric care. After a surgery, stroke or other health incident, many people do not need the hyper skilled care offered at a hospital but also aren’t ready to care for themselves at home. A skilled nursing community offers a bridge where there are caregivers in the facility around the clock who can provide assistance and also provide therapeutic teams in the community who provide rehabilitation services to get us strong enough to go back home. Skilled communities provide an invaluable bridge to help get people well and get back home. As a result, they can be filled with people of all ages who just need the extra support to reach their health goals.
Myth #2 – My family will take care of me
While many people believe their children or others will take care of them when they grow old, the reality is out health conditions may become much more complex that they can manage. If we need ventilator care or more full-time assistance, it could be beyond what our family can do without professional training. In addition, if we need full time support around the clock, that can put a strain on our relationships with our family members. Not only will they juggle their own priorities, but they also will be concerned they can provide the adequate care we need.
A long-term care facility allows us to maintain our own world and our family to maintain theirs. In addition, we can keep our daughter and not our round-the-clock caregiver. Family still will be a vital part of the care planning process, but the duties of administering that care can be in the hands of people who are trained and skilled to do this every day.
Myth #3 – People go to nursing homes to waste away
Most people will tell you they want to live out their lives at home. However, the reality of that actually could be much darker than we realize. At home alone, many seniors begin to skip meals or forget to take medications. Without social interaction, we can become more isolated and lonely. Long-term care communities give an older adult a place to belong. They have planned activities, and meals and medications are monitored and offered at the appropriate times of day. In addition, there are others who will be in the same stage of life we are, which can help us navigate life’s challenges together at this point.
Myth #4 – Someone else will help pay for long-term care when I need it.
Long-term care in a skilled nursing community costs can vary widely – typically from $5,000 to $10,000 per month depending on the services we will need. Medicare actually only covers skilled care for up to 100 days as the goal of that program is to get us rehabilitated and back home. You may be able to qualify for Medicaid funding, but the financial restrictions are pretty stringent as all other resources must have been exhausted before you can qualify for Medicaid. Skilled communities have a more restricted number of beds they can offer to Medicaid patients. Selection will be limited. The best option would be to plan financially for long-term care to help ensure you have the resources needed to fund this.
Myth #5 – All nursing homes are alike and are depressing.
While all skilled communities have the same stringent guidelines and oversight, each one has its own personality. Even within the same community, there could be different halls or sections that care for people with similar health challenges, which can add to the sense of belonging for both the patient and the family members who are walking the same journey. Producing fun and engaging activities will be a core priority for most skilled communities as they also strive to provide the highest quality of life, and making sure patients and residents are engaged in activities of interest serves as a key pillar of their service. If you still are skeptical, tour several different communities at different times of day to see how they match your own personality and needs.