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Assisted-living facilities one nursing home alterative

Individuals vary considerably in what their care needs are in their elderly years. Some elderly individuals need the skilled nursing care that nursing homes can provide. Others, while not needing skilled nursing care, still have personal care needs that exceed their abilities to handle them on their own.

One alternative to going to a nursing home that some seniors in this latter category may find to be a good fit for getting their care needs met is becoming a resident of an assisted-living facility. These are facilities that provide room and board along with personal care services.

There is a lot of variation among the different assisted-living facilities in Massachusetts. For one, they can vary greatly in their costs and the types of amenities they provide. Additionally, they vary in whether they are connected to a continuing-care retirement community or are free-standing. Also, some facilities are special care residences that have been specially certified regarding care issues related to cognitive impairments.

Assisted-living facilities have become increasingly popular and common here in Massachusetts in recent decades. Among the things seniors may find attractive about such facilities as compared to nursing homes is that they can have a more home-like and less institutional environment.

While assisted-living facilities have many differences from nursing homes, some of the concerns that can come up in relation to nursing homes can also arise in connection to assisted-living facilities. Among these are financial concerns. While assisted-living facilities can be less expensive than nursing homes, they can still cost a fair amount.

So, among the worries a senior may have regarding a potential future assisted-living stay are worries about how they will afford the care and concerns about whether they would qualify for any aid programs for helping with these costs, such as Medicaid. Among the things that could help with addressing these worries is advanced planning, such as Medicaid planning involving trusts or other devices. Elder law attorneys can assist seniors with advanced planning for assisted-living care or other types of elder care.

Source: The Harvard Press, “Older & Wiser: The assisted living option,” Deb Thomson, June 30, 2016

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