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Some Points to Consider When Discussing Long-Term Healthcare Options

Alzheimer?s care facility

When thinking about the possibility of long-term health care, many individuals don’t actually believe they’ll need it. Approximately 70% of people 65 and older, however, will require some form of long-term care for an average of three years.

Age Wave states that people tend to underestimate the possibility that they will need long-term care in the future. When people over 50 were polled, 37% indicated that they believe they will need this type of care; however, Age Wave claims that a more realistic figure would be 70%.

In AARP’s 2011 report, “Aging in Place: A State Survey of Livability Policies and Practices,” seniors 65 and older stated that they wanted to be able to stay in their own homes. This was the case for 90% of the seniors polled. In addition, while only one-in-four people actually do pass on while living at home, most of the people polled have stated that this is their preference.

Rather then living in an institution, almost 79% of the individuals that require long-term care live in a senior community setting or at home. When it proves challenging to care for a loved one at home, senior living communities may be an excellent alternative. Many of these communities provide senior home care management services as well.

Many seniors in these communities are able to take care of some or all of their basic needs. When that is the case, seniors may still benefit from medication monitoring by registered nurses and other medical staff. They may also benefit from and appreciate additional services provided by licensed social workers, such as counseling or companionship.

If hospice care is needed, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s 2014 report showed that 58.9% of those individuals needing hospice care were able to receive it within their own homes. In 2014, there were four primary diagnoses that required an individual to need hospice care:

    Dementia: 14.8%
    Heart disease: 14.7%
    Lung disease: 9.3%
    Stroke or coma: 6.4%

In the United States, Alzheimer’s is considered to be the sixth leading cause of death. One-out-of-three seniors will die as a result of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Women tend to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s more often than men. Nearly two-thirds of women have Alzheimer’s, which is only cause of death in the top ten that can’t be prevented. Furthermore, this disease’s progress can’t be slowed down and there is no known cure.

When deciding whether to choose a nursing homes or at-home health care, the annual cost of each is something to consider. John Hancock Financial provided the following data regarding the average annual costs for a nursing home:

    Private room: $85,775
    Semi-private room: $75,555

The average annual cost of home health care, however, is $37,440, according to John Hancock Financial.

While you may not need long-term healthcare for yourself or a loved one at the present time, it’s important to consider your future options.

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