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A Caregiver’s Guide to Making Long-Term Care Decisions for Their Loved Ones Amid the Pandemic

If you’re caring for someone whose health status is declining due to a new or existing medical condition, you may be spending more time than usual thinking about your loved one’s long-term care needs and how to best proceed amid the pandemic. Exploring options for long-term care doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to transition your parent, friend, or relative into an assisted living or nursing community before the pandemic ends. However, this may be the best option in some cases — especially if you’re unable to practice social distancing due to your occupation.

As SeniorLiving.org notes, types of long-term care options include professional in-home services, adult daycare, skilled nursing services, or assisted living. Typically, your loved one’s long-term needs will depend on whether he or she requires occasional or around-the-clock assistance in performing daily living activities such as bathing and dressing. Since there are several types of care, the first place to start is with determining your best choice.

Possible Long-Term Care Options for Your Loved One

If you’re currently tending to your loved one at home, several long-term care options are available to you — depending on whether you wish to keep your loved one at home or transition him or her into a residential care facility whenever it’s safe to do so. To keep your loved one at home, you could hire in-home care for your friend, parent, or relative — or you could look into adult day care services once these care centers start reopening again. If in-home care is the best choice for your loved one, keep in mind that most home healthcare workers are expected to wear surgical masks, goggles, and gloves when visiting clients during the pandemic.

As an alternative to hiring in-home assistance or finding an adult daycare center for your loved one, other long-term care options include assisted living, memory care, and nursing home facilities. If your loved one requires daily assistance with things like dressing, bathing, and eating meals — or if he or she has dementia or another progressive medical condition — residential care is typically the best long-term care solution. If your loved one is displaying symptoms of a cold, flu, or the coronavirus, however, you’ll need to keep him or her at home until he or she is cleared by a medical professional.

How to Choose a Residential Care Facility During the Pandemic

If residential care will be the best long-term option for you and your loved one, you may be wondering how you’re going to choose the right care community during the coronavirus pandemic. As you research residential care facilities for your loved one, you’ll typically need to contact each community directly to find out how they’re handling new admissions during the pandemic. Additionally, you should keep the following questions in mind as you research care communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • What steps is the residential care community taking to protect its current residents from COVID-19?
  • Is the facility encouraging its staff to stay home if they feel they may be sick?
  • Is the residential community following the CDC’s recommended guidelines for long-term care facilities?

Even if your loved one won’t be transitioning into a residential care community until after the pandemic ends, you’ll want to ensure that each care facility in question is taking strict precautions to protect its residents from COVID-19. To protect your loved one now and in the future, it’s vital that you do as much research as possible before selecting a long-term care community for your senior or disabled loved one.

How to Pay for Your Loved One’s Long-Term Care

Once you’ve chosen the right long-term care option for your senior or disabled loved one, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to pay for it. Depending on your financial situation and whether your loved one will remain in his or her home, several viable options may include:

  • Using money from you or your loved one’s savings. The cost of care varies by location and care type, but average monthly fees typically range between $1,625 for adult daycare and $8,517 for a private room in a nursing home facility.
  • Purchasing long-term care insurance. To cover future care expenses, financial experts recommend purchasing a policy before the age of 65. Typically, long-term care insurance is best purchased before it’s actually needed for long-term care expenses — as rates increase with age and the diagnosis of one or more medical conditions.

In addition to these options, selling your loved one’s home could be another solution to paying for long-term care — especially if your parent, relative, or friend will be transitioning into a care community. While you may be hesitant to list a house during the coronavirus outbreak, there are some things you can do to keep your loved one safe and healthy during this time.

During the pandemic, for instance, a real estate agent can be a big help to you. Your agent can offer suggestions on making pandemic-friendly repairs and updates to the property, staging the home for virtual showings, and setting up video-chat visits, 3D walkthroughs, and digital open houses with potential buyers. In the age of the coronavirus, potential buyers can view your loved one’s home without ever needing to step foot inside.

In Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t an ideal time to be making long-term care decisions for your beloved parent, friend, or relative, but it may be necessary if your loved one’s health is declining and you can no longer manage his or her in-home care on your own. Nobody really knows when the pandemic will end, and the most important thing is finding your loved one the long-term assistance he or she needs to stay safe, healthy, comfortable, and well-cared for as time goes on.

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