Caregiverlist Senior Care Guide

Senior care needs may arise suddenly and require a quick education on services available and the costs of senior care. Other seniors may decide to plan ahead to organize their preferred senior care providers. Either way, when the need arises, seniors and their family members must learn about the local senior care options and costs. The Caregiverlist Senior Care Guide assists you to find quality senior care in your area.

Step 1: Identify the Senior’s Financial Resources

Seniors and their family members or closest relatives must first determine the senior’s financial resources. This is important because based on a senior’s financial assets and monthly income, they will either qualify for Medicaid or Medicare health insurance. At age 65, all seniors in the U.S.A. receive Medicare or Medicaid health insurance. Each provides different benefits. Medicaid health insurance is for very low-income seniors and Medicare health insurance is for all other seniors. These government administrated health insurance programs make sure all American seniors receive health insurance during their retirement years.

Identify Senior’s Financial Assets

  1. Determine Assets Owned Including House and Car
  2. Establish Power of Attorney for Finances
  3. Establish Power of Attorney for Health Care
  4. Establish Trust or Will and Assign Trustees or Executor

Note: a separate Power of Attorney for health care and finances makes sure the person responsible for maintaining any ongoing life support systems for a senior is not someone who will have a conflict of interest due to inheriting financial assets.

Step 2: Determine Senior Care Options for Medicaid and Medicare

Medicaid: this senior health insurance for very low-income seniors, with few assets, is administered by each state, in conjunction with federal funding. Because of this, the financial qualifications to determine “low-income” status will vary slightly in each state. Usually the senior must have no more than $2,000 in assets. Seniors should review the Medicaid qualifications in their state, even if they currently have substantial financial assets. This is because if a senior should suddenly require around-the-clock nursing care, which can cost as much as $80,000 a year, they could spend down their assets and transfer from Medicare to Medicaid. Married couples may activate the “spousal impoverishment” rules, allowing one spouse who needs long-term care to “spend down” their assets and qualify for Medicaid while allowing the other spouse who does not need long-term care to maintain the home, car and some financial assets. Medicaid health insurance will pay for ongoing senior care in a nursing home and in a few states provides for senior caregiving services in the home. As technology advances, it is predicted more and more states will offer nursing care services for seniors in their homes, not just in a nursing home. Medicaid pays for ongoing senior care in a nursing home. Medicare does NOT pay for ongoing care in a nursing home.

MEDICAID SENIOR CARE OPTIONS:

Nursing Homes Accepting Medicaid as Payment

Senior Home Care Visits in a Few States If you are a Veteran, you do have access to specific veteran senior care options

MEDICARE SENIOR CARE OPTIONS:

Nursing Home Care: Up to 100 Days (Fully Reimbursed for first 20 days, with Medical Doctor Approval) in nursing homes accepting Medicare health insurance for reimbursement.

Skilled Home Health Care: Short visits for therapy by a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist for rehabilitation while senior is showing signs of improvement or Registered Nurse when critical vital signs or open-wound monitoring is necessary.

Hospice Care: Caregiver to relieve primary caregiver and Registered Nurse and Certified Nursing Aide to monitor care and assist when senior qualifies for hospice based on having 2 years or less to live.

Seniors on Medicare must privately pay for all other senior care through private funds or long-term care insurance.

Step 3: Determine Veteran Status for Veterans and Veteran’s Spouses

Veterans of certain foreign wars receive status as a Veteran and qualify for Veteran’s senior care benefits

Veteran’s Senior Care Benefits

  • Veteran’s Nursing Homes
  • Veteran’s Continuing Care Assisted Living Home
  • Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Senior Home Care

Note: some veteran’s nursing homes are for men only.

Veterans and their spouses who qualify may receive a senior caregiver to come to the home to assist with Activities of Daily Living. This part-time senior care in the home assists veteran’s and their spouses with bathing, meals, exercises, light house cleaning and monitoring of medical conditions. Licensed senior home care agencies implement an improved care plan and receive reimbursement for hourly caregiving services from the government. Both veterans and their spouses qualify for senior home care, based on medical doctor preapproval and may contact a senior home care agency near them to begin approval for benefits.

Step 4: Determine Type of Senior Care

Type of Senior Care: does the senior want to “age-in-place” in the home or relocate to a senior living community? If the senior decides they would like to move, will they stay in the area where they are currently living or move near adult children or nieces or nephews? The cost of senior care varies based on the area of the country where the senior will be living. It is also important to learn about the medical doctors and hospital care that is available in the area.

Senior Home Care: seniors who prefer to remain in their own homes may hire a licensed senior home care agency to provide caregiving services. Licensed senior home care agencies will provide a professional caregiver who will follow a customized plan of care and maintain daily care notes. Worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance are provided to protect the senior and all payroll taxes are also provided. An active care manager makes sure the caregiver has customized training and a backup caregiver if they need days off. Costs are between $16 and $26 per hour or $180 to $350 per day, depending on the care needs.

Assisted Living: seniors who would like to relocate may consider an Assisted Living community or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) which will allow them to receive care at all levels, as they “continue” to live in the community as an active senior, or as they require more nursing care. Assisted Living communities offer many additional services and as the process of find the right one can be as complicated as finding the right home, most seniors rely on a senior living expert to help them locate the right assisted living community. Costs for assisted living are from $2,500 and up with most assisted living communities in major metropolitan areas requiring a minimum of $4,000 per month to pay for all food and additional services.

Nursing Home Care: seniors usually do not opt for nursing home care until it is a necessity. Nursing homes are rated on quality factors during a health inspection which takes place at least every year and a half. However, as the health inspectors change, it is still advisable to visit a nursing home and review the top nursing home ratings which Caregiverlist ranks as:

  • Overall Medicare Star-Rating
  • Percentage of Short-stay Residents with Pressure Sores
  • Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.) Hours per Resident per Day
  • Percent of Long-term Residents Whose Need for Help with Daily Activities has Increased
  • Overall Rating
  • Costs of Nursing Homes: nursing home costs vary widely based on private or shared room and percent of beds occupied by Medicaid patients. This is because Medicaid reimbursements may be lower than private pay fees. Review the nursing homes in your area along with the daily costs of nursing homes for private and shared rooms.

    Compare Nursing Home Costs and Ratings
    Compare Assisted Living
    Compare Home Health Agencies (must be referred by a Medical Doctor to these Medicare Agencies)
    Compare Hospitals
    Compare Veteran’s Administration Hospitals
    Compare Medicare Suppliers
    Compare Medicare Plans
    Compare Medicare Providers