Choosing senior care for you or your loved-one is an intimate, involved process. There are so many senior care options, each offering a wide variety of different benefits. When investigating the different senior care options, there are several important factors to take into account. The most crucial factor is the individual needs and wishes of you or your loved-one. As you explore the range of senior care options, placing great weight on the medical needs of you or your loved-one, you will want to measure the pro’s and con’s of all the options, including long term care facilities. It is important to be informed on the distinct services and settings each care option has to offer.
For this post, we want to investigate the particular pro’s and con’s of long term care facilities. Long term care facilities have boomed in popularity over the last decade–with all the benefits and comprehensive care they provide, it is easy to see why. However, there are several aspects of long term care facilities that (once further assessed) may not seem as positive. It’s important to see both sides of the coin: the positive characteristics of long term care facilities as well as the negative. When you compare these pro’s and con’s of long term care facilities, you can better see how the services they offer align with your own wishes and needs.
The Living Spaces of Long Term Care Facilities
With long term care facilities, you are provided a fully-serviced living environment that cares for your every need. Staff will manage your housekeeping, keeping both your intimate space and shared space clean. Long term care facilities are specifically designed for the elderly. There are ample hand railing and ramps, meaning all spaces are walker-friendly and wheelchair-friendly. Even for those with extremely limited mobility, the design and layout of most long term care facilities greatly enhances mobility. Most care facilities offer private residences, and those that don’t will partner you or your loved-one with a compatible roommate. Long term care facilities usually have extensive grounds with beautifully landscaped surrounding, perfect for afternoon strolls. There are activities centers, fully-staffed kitchens, and convenient stores on site. The well-maintained living spaces of long term care facilities are comprehensive and unmatched in the services that can offer you or your loved-one.
Long term care facilities are known to be incredibly expensive. In fact, over the past 5 years the cost of long term care facilities has increased 3.5% annually. When you pay to live in a long term care facility, you are essentially paying rent at a grossly-inflated rate. Yes, these costs cover everything from food and cleaning, to medications and emergency care. Still, the average American family cannot afford the rental rates of the average long term care facility without some form of financial assistance. After paying these ever-growing costs, you may not even have the option of an individual living space. If you do have the option for an individual space, it will usually cost more.
For some seeking senior care, one of the biggest negatives of long term care facilities is that they simply are not home. You or your loved-one may not want to leave the comfort of home. Some may not be able to even move past the idea of leaving such an intimate space, after so many years, and moving into a bustling facility. For those who wish to remain at home, but still require medical assistance or assistance with Activities of Daily Living, in-home care may be the ideal option. It is important that you compare the varied living spaces that different long term care facilities provide to your own personal needs and desires.
Food at Long Term Care Facilities
Long term care facilities offer fully-staffed kitchens and dining halls. The food prepared is healthy, nutritious, and fresh. You or your loved-one will not have to worry about stocking the kitchen, preparing meals, or cleaning-up afterwards. For many, having food prepared for them is a huge stress-relief. Furthermore, the fare offered at long term care facilities is usually healthier than meals prepared at home, meaning you’re always enjoyed a well-balanced diet. Some long term care facilities even provide the professional services of nutritionists and dietitians on site. With the consistent preparation of healthy meals, you or your loved-one no longer have to worry over managing a kitchen.
Because meals are prepared for you, you have no control over what is offered on the menu. When touring potential long term care facilities, you will want to pay attention to the menu they have posted to get an idea of the range of food they offer. Having no say over the menu may bother some, as there is no alternative for you to cook a back-up meal should none of the options of the day be appetizing. Also, because the kitchen must tend to the needs of all patients, meals will generally be prepped with dietary restrictions in mind, rendering the offerings bland for some. Sometimes, the high costs of long term care facilities do not include the cost of food. Sometimes, food costs extra. When interviewing potential care facilities, be sure to specify what is covered under your monthly fee.
Medical Support at Long Term Care Facilities
Possibly the greatest benefit of long term care facilities is their constant and comprehensive medical care. At a long term care facility you will have constant access to health care services. Trained, medical professionals will tend to minor injuries, major injuries, and assist with the administration of prescriptions. Most importantly, long term care facilities offer emergency medical services–some even have 24-hour monitoring services so you or your loved-one will never be stranded in need. At a long term care facility, risks of injury are dramatically reduced because of the constant on-site assistance. Should you or a loved-one slip or fall, medical attention will be received immediately, minimizing injury. On-site medical care is conducted by registered nurses able to care for most injuries, illnesses, or conditions. The medical services offered by long term care facilities are particularly positive to those who are suffering extremely debilitating illnesses, or those who have lost mental faculties. Overall, long term care facilities maximize health and safety, protecting you or your loved-one from unnecessary injury and providing professional medical care as soon as it’s needed.
Though the comprehensive medical services offered by long term care facilities are unmatched, some may consider certain aspects of care impersonal. Long term care facilities usually have large staffs, complete with trained specialists who can provide a wide range of assistance. Though, staffing often circulates, with certain facilities having a higher turnover rate than others. Depending on how shifts are managed, your loved-one may not have the same caregiver assisting with more private matter. For instance, your loved-one will have immediate assistance with any of their Activities of Daily living–however, the same caregiver may not always help with more delicate matters like bathing and continence. If you or your loved-one are uncomfortable with the idea of not being tended to by the same familiar caregiver (and your needs are not severe), in-home care may be a better option than the larger, more impersonal functions of a long term care facility.
Family & Long Term Care Facilities
Long term care facilities totally shoulder the burden of care. With a long term care facility, your family does not have to worry or stress about providing daily care themselves. Daily care can be an emotional, physical, and financial drain on family members, requiring schedules to dramatically shift to accommodate the needs of the loved-one. When a loved-one commits to a long term care facility, the family can rest assured that their loved-one is professionally cared for.
Long term care facilities generally have scheduled visiting hours. Some may offer visiting hours all day, every day–others may offer visiting hours during a specific time-frame once a week. If the loved-one lives far from family, having restricted hours can decrease the amount of visits from family. When assessing potential long term care facilities, ensure that they openly welcome both the loved-one and family.