The majority of us will need long-term care at some point or will need to help arrange it for a family member, but it can be difficult to determine which of the various types of care is the right one and the best place to receive that care. The good news is, you can take pressure off yourself and your family in the event of a future need for long-term care by educating yourself about your options now. Once you have a better idea of the resources available to you, you can make connections with aging services providers and share your preferences with your loved ones.

It’s important to understand the different types of care available — here are some descriptions to help you navigate the options that are out there.

Assisted living and supportive living

Assisted living communities provide support in daily tasks and personal care needed by each resident, but not round-the-clock care. Assisted livings provide a variety of social and recreational activities and programming that encourage the development of friendships and help prevent isolation. Generally, assisted living communities  are designed so that people with a variety of physical needs or challenges can be comfortable, safe and continue to enjoy life with the support they need. Assisted Living residences typically include both studios and one-bedroom apartments and are smaller than most condos or houses because those that live there benefit from having less space to manage and not having to walk as far from one room to the next. Unlike the on-demand care in a skilled nursing community, care in assisted living communities tends to be scheduled. Care is always available in an emergency at either type of community.

In Illinois, supportive living is a special type of assisted living in which Medicaid can step in to help with some expenses if a person becomes unable to pay for the services they receive while they are a resident there.

Memory care

Care for people with memory loss is shaped by their individual needs. Communities that specialize in memory care often offer a wide range of engaging activities that can be tailored for the individuals who live there, and have staff with specialized training in memory care. Most memory care communities are licensed as assisted living, and are appropriate for those with mid-stage memory loss. For those whose memory loss requires more substantial care, skilled nursing communities can provide assistance with all daily living needs. Some skilled nursing communities, such as CMSS’ Wesley Place, offer special memory care with a skilled nursing license. This specialized memory support includes a dedicated staff team and programs shaped to benefit those with memory loss.

If you or a loved one has a family history of memory loss, or has begun to experience early symptoms, you should seek out information about local memory care communities and support services now. Talk to your physician about your concerns as well.

Skilled nursing

At a skilled nursing community, care from registered nurses is available around the clock. Skilled nursing is available as both short-term and long-term care, depending on the community and each individual’s needs. You may wish to talk to your doctor about the best skilled nursing communities for you depending on your specific health concerns.

Some skilled nursing communities are specifically tailored for people with memory loss. CMSS’ Wesley Place offers skilled memory care as well as regular long-term care and short-term rehabilitation.  Memory care at Wesley Place, is a state-designated special care unit. This designation recognizes that Wesley Place offers a high staff-to-resident ratio, that all staff members are specially trained to work with people with memory loss and that activities are specially designed for people with memory loss.

Adult day wellness programs

Adult day wellness programs are ideal for people who live at home but could benefit from spending time at a community during the day. Adult day wellness programs are a great option for those who  need some personal assistance during the day, or find themselves feeling isolated. If you are caring for a loved one, adult day wellness programs can also provide a break for you as the caregiver when you cannot be with them during the day.

In Chicago,White Crane Wellness Center’s day program (a program with which we partner) offers meals, a variety of activities and health screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure and more.

Home care

Like a day wellness program, home care is ideal for those who have long-term care needs but do not want to or cannot move to a care community. Home care providers offer a wide range of services, from assistance around the house to personal care. This care is non-clinical, unlike home health care, which we’ll take a closer look at in a moment.

Another advantage of home care is the ability to choose the schedule you need. For example,Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes (SASI), in collaboration with Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services (CMSS), offers home care from a few hours a day once a week to round-the-clock assistance. If you choose to employ a once-weekly home care aide now to help with household tasks, you are building an important relationship you can draw on later should you need more extensive assistance in the future.

Home health care

Home health services offer clinical care, provided by a nurse, therapist or other medical professional. Home health may be recommended or prescribed following surgery, and illness or injury. Unlike home care services, home health may include the administration of injections and intravenous medication, and wound care when necessary. Home health care following a hospital stay may be covered by Medicare for a limited time.

Who’s providing the care? The non-profit difference

In addition to the type of care you need, it’s important to consider who is providing it. Does the community have a good reputation and track record? How long has it been established? What do those who live there and their family members have to say?

As you look into future care options, you will also find that some providers are for-profit organizations and others are non-profit organizations. At CMSS, we believe strongly in the not-for-profit difference, which you can read more about from LeadingAge, “an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to grow old.”

According to Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare data, non-profits provided more nursing home staffing hours per resident day in most staffing categories, and received higher ratings overall, averaging 3.9 out of 5 stars in comparison to for-profit organization’s 3.2 out of 5 stars. In fact, we feel that our non-profit mindset and approach to aging services contributes to Wesley Place’s five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which evaluates nursing communities.

Unlike for-profits, which may be accountable to corporate investors, non-profits are accountable to voluntary boards of directors charged with ensuring “ethical management, financial integrity and quality services.” Since non-profit finances are a matter of public record, there is an added layer of oversight checking that these organizations really are reinvesting their money in the people they serve.

Would you like to talk to someone at Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services about the care options that would be best for your needs? Contact us.

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