CHICAGO, IL – Making the decision to move your loved one to a long-term care facility is never easy and finding the right facility is even tougher. Families worldwide agonize over which facility will be the right one for their loved one and their needs.
If your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, that person may someday need to move to a long-term care facility that specializes in this type of care. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Alzheimer Association, 75% of people diagnosed with the disease will be admitted to a nursing home by the time they’re 80.
Step 1: Determine you or your loved ones needs
Before researching long-term care facilities, it’s best to identify what you or your loved one needs. There are several levels of senior care to consider, such as:
- Assisted living for those who need assistance in one or two activities of daily living, like dressing or bathing.
- Skilled nursing for those who need attention from a nurse daily, that are bedridden, or have more complicated behavioral issues.
- Memory care for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Some facilities offer varying levels of care under one roof. This could be a good option for those who want to move to a senior-care residence when they’re starting to require more assistance, then stay in place as their needs progress.
It’s also important to consider where your loved one wants to be. Would they rather prefer to live in a city or a suburb? Do they want to stay in the same town that they live in or be moved closer to family? Do they need a facility that accommodates pets or their dietary needs? These are all questions that should be addressed at the beginning of your search.
Step 2: Assess your ability to pay
Your options for long-term care facilities may be limited if your loved one does not have long-term care insurance or other financial resources to pay for care.
In Illinois, the median cost for a private room in a nursing home is $81,030 annually while a semi-private room is $70,993. The median cost for a private room in an assisted living facility costs roughly $48,360 per year.
It’s important to note that skilled-nursing facilities cost more. The average cost per day in Illinois for skilled nursing is $178 per day, which is higher than the national average.
Health insurance and Medicare do not cover nursing home care, as Medicare coverage for long-term care is very limited. Many long-term care insurance policies can help pick up the tab, but very few people purchase it which leaves Medicaid which has become a very common source of funding for long-term care.
There are strict rules for Medicaid eligibility for long-term care in Illinois, including qualifying financially and medically. Medicaid rules vary by state, but the general rule is that Medicaid pays for long-term care services.
If you’re a veteran, you may be able to get assistance for long-term care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Step 3: Begin your search
After identifying your loved ones needs and assessing your ability to pay, you can now begin your search for a long-term care setting, like a nursing home.
Ask doctors, family, and friends for recommendations. This can help shallow out the bad facilities by word-of-mouth, or in turn, help you find the right facility quicker.
There are several resources available that may narrow down your search:
- Nursing Home Compare tool: a tool created by Medicare that allows you to compare skilled nursing facilities based on the quality of care they provide, special services they offer, and results from health and safety inspections.
- ElderCare Locator: service offered by the U.S. Administration on Aging. This provides links to Area Agencies on Aging that offers a list of facilities and information about long-term care options in your area.
- A Place for Mom: the nation’s largest senior-care adviser service. Its directory is compiled of roughly 19,000 senior care properties, including facilities that specialize in dementia care. Its advisers provide free assistance in finding care options.
An alternative is to utilize the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Manager’s member directory to find a care manager in your area. Professional geriatric care managers help families evaluate their care options and select a senior-care residence for your loved one. They typically charge $100 an hour, on average.
Begin to create a list of properties that best suits your loved ones wants and needs. Make sure that each facility is licensed by checking with your state’s health and human services department. You can also check on Medicare’s website. You can also call your local ombudsman to ask if there have been any citations at the facilities you’re looking. Information for Illinois long-term care ombudsman program can be found here. It’s also important to ask if the facilities have recently had a change in ownership or management.
Step 4: Visit prospective facilities
While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed how our world works, it’s likely nursing homes aren’t offering in-person visits to facilities yet. Some facilities may offer tours over a video sharing site like Zoom or Skype. It’s important to inspect at least 3 facilities so you have facilities to compare and contrast.
Linda Fodrini-Johnson, executive director of Eldercare Services, says to try to make a plan to make an impromptu visit on each weekend to see how the facilities operate when the administrator isn’t there.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer in Chicago, Illinois
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in their long-term care facility, please contact one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys of Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. Our skilled attorneys have the resources and knowledge to fight for justice for your loved one. Call our office today for a free consultation at (312) 384-1920 or visit our website for more information.