Finding Long-Term Care Solutions
in the Midst of a Pandemic
Making decisions about the care for someone you love has always been difficult. With a pandemic altering the shape of the world as we know it — particularly when your loved one is at increased risk— this scenario becomes all the more challenging. The terrain has shifted, but you can still find loving, responsible, and safe solutions, as long as you follow a few strategies.
Examine the Costs
One thing that hasn’t really changed with the advent of COVID-19 is the fact that no matter what long-term care option you choose, there will be significant expenses involved. With that in mind, a basic place to start is with budgeting for the most common options.
First, you might be considering moving your loved one into your home, or you may have already done so and are deciding what to do moving forward. Families often need to make home modifications so their new arrival can maintain optimal independence. Fixr says the average homeowner spends $9,000 for aging-in-place modifications, which might include grab bar installation, widening doorways, adding a handicapped ramp, and installing a curbless shower.
On top of remodeling, you might be considering hiring an in-home aide, which typically costs around $20.50 per hour. If the aide provides support for five hours per day, this is slightly less than the $119 per day an average assisted living facility costs and significantly less than $225 per day in a nursing home. While the facilities will have a senior-friendly environment and can meet health-related needs appropriately, you need to decide how to pay for this type of care. If you need assistance with any of these concerns, there are senior care professionals ready to help.
Covering Those Costs
Paying for care is obviously a concern, regardless of which direction you go. As SmartAsset explains, Medicare only covers acute stays in long-term care facilities, such as after surgery. If your loved one does not have long-term care insurance, securing a new policy when health is declining is unlikely, so you need to consider alternatives. Veterans’ benefits, a health savings account, or personal savings are all possibilities. What many people choose to do, barring a better solution, is to sell the senior’s home.
Selling a house during the pandemic presents another daunting hurdle, but it’s not impossible. In fact, with appropriate pricing, preparation, and tools, you can expect to fetch a satisfying sale. What’s more, thanks to the technology the real estate industry has embraced, buyers might never even enter the house. There are virtual tours, 3D walkthroughs, and virtual open house events. Closings can even be performed in a drive-up manner, which allows for appropriate social distancing measures. Before your loved one sells their home, it’s important to research local real estate prices and trends (e.g., home sales in Fowler average $296,000).
Choosing Safe Solutions
Cost obviously isn’t the only concern here, especially given the pandemic. How do you decide what choice is best, even if the cost isn’t a factor? Keep in mind that regardless of what direction you go, seniors are vulnerable right now, so there is no perfect solution. The risk of your loved one catching COVID-19 doesn’t disappear, even in your own home, so practical safety measures must be taken in any situation.
As AARP points out, you should discuss COVID-19 concerns openly with any facilities, individuals, or organizations you are considering. Find out what other patients, if any, have tested positive for the virus, and what safety precautions are being taken. Anyone in contact with your loved one should be wearing appropriate protective equipment and social distancing whenever possible. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly, such as doorknobs and faucet handles, and if you are considering a residential facility, ask how common areas and visitations are handled.
The pandemic raises new concerns about long-term care, but nothing that is insurmountable. Do some extra research to find appropriate solutions. It’s not a simple world right now, but with care and planning, you can ensure a safe decision for your loved one’s care.