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Tips for Making Long-Term Care Decisions During a Pandemic

By June Duncan

Caring for an elderly or disabled loved one requires that you make a lot of big decisions together. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it may disrupt your loved one’s plans for long-term care. With health concerns in many assisted living facilities, you will want to weigh your decisions carefully. Below, find out how you can choose the best option for your loved one in light of the pandemic.

What Options Are Out There?

COVID-19 has changed just about everything in our daily lives, but it hasn’t changed the fact that vulnerable people need safe places to live. There are numerous types of facilities that provide daily care for people who need help. Assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and continuing care retirement communities are just a few options.

AARP says that assisted living might be the right choice if your loved one needs help with daily activities but doesn’t require round-the-clock care. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and nursing homes, on the other hand, typically provide a higher level of care.

Although the terms for nursing homes and SNFs are used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing. Not only are these facilities run differently, there are also differences when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare coverage.

Instead of assisted living or nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) provide the best of both worlds for some people. These facilities provide all levels of care a person may need as their health changes. However, you’ll have to weigh the costs carefully. Kiplinger explains that a stay in one of these facilities can be pricey.

Health Concerns with Assisted Living

COVID-19 has raised all kinds of new concerns for people in assisted living, as well as their families. Even if your loved one would benefit from a greater level of care, you might be worried about whether it’s safe to move right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic does present a threat in these facilities because most residents are already at a greater risk of getting sick due to their age or existing health conditions. However, asking a variety of questions before choosing a facility can give you more peace of mind.

For example, it’s important to ask what a facility’s plan is for preventing infection. Checking up on the general cleanliness of a facility and looking for past complaints can provide helpful insight as well.

Can You Move During COVID-19?

If you’ve decided on a long-term care facility, you might be wondering if it’s even possible to move during the pandemic. In most cases, you can still move despite the pandemic. However, you may want to consider whether it will put your loved one at greater risk to move now or wait until there are fewer new cases of coronavirus.

Keep in mind that assisted living facilities may also have different policies for admitting new residents during the pandemic, such as screening residents or requiring a period of isolation from others in the community.

In-Home Care Options

While many people find that their loved one will benefit most from moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home, it’s not the only option. In-home care is also a possibility. With the pandemic going on, many families are finding this to be a safer alternative.

Home health aides can provide assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, or taking medication. You can also hire a homemaker to help with laundry, cooking, and other household tasks.

If your loved one chooses to stay at home, it’s a good time to take a look at their homeowners insurance policy. Not only does a policy cover your loved one’s property, it also provides liability protection. This coverage is always important to have, but it matters even more if you will have a home health aide providing services.

Choosing between assisted living and in-home care is always a tough decision, but the COVID-19 pandemic complicates matters even more. There are many safe facilities that provide the care your loved one needs, but in-home health care is a good alternative if you have concerns about your family member moving into a communal setting during the pandemic.

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