With 2020 now in the rearview, we’ve seen some unique trends develop in assisted living communities, with more scheduled to come. In recent years, there’s been a push to meet seniors’ needs better than ever. If you are on the fence and having a hard time deciding if assisted living is right for you or your loved one, join us as we take a closer look at the latest trends.
One of the benefits of assisted living is that it eliminates the burden of meal planning. But until recently, fine dining was a staple among senior living facilities. There’s now a shift to provide a casual dining experience, as well.
Not only does this offer an alternative to formal suit-and-tie dining, but it also allows for activities like billiards and sports bars.
Accommodations for Active Seniors
Many assisted living communities now cater to seniors who live active lifestyles. This means a greater variety of activities and services, such as travel opportunities and year-round social events.
With retirement communities moving away from the norms of yesteryear, there’s now so much more for seniors to enjoy.
In recent years, society as a whole has slowly moved away from big living in favor of a more simplistic lifestyle. Fortunately, this trend is also finding its way to assisted living communities. Seniors are going to start seeing their living spaces simplified, resulting in easier living options across the United States.
For many elderly adults, complex housing makes it difficult to get around and live comfortably. Thanks to the simpler approach, seniors can look forward to less stress, better mobility, and more affordable housing options.
The drab colors that were once a mainstay in senior communities will soon be a thing of the past. Replacing them are fun and exciting colors that promote energy and well-being. Home interiors are being upgraded to provide a more modern feel, allowing residents far more decorating options.
This also includes modern textures, patterns, and open floor plans that are meant to accommodate seniors. Although senior living will be simplified for the sake of convenience, it will also see its fair share of upgrades give residents a long-overdue taste of the 21st century.
Studies show that it’s important for aging seniors to have ongoing companionship. Loneliness can cause many serious problems, from depression and obesity to high blood pressure and heart trouble. As such, a residential community could be the answer to your loved one’s needs.
Let’s look at how seniors benefit from residential communities. This way you’ll have the peace of mind that your loved one is receiving the care and attention they need for a healthy quality of life.
Perhaps most importantly, seniors can look forward to being surrounded by residents who share similar outlooks and a need for community. Just having someone in the same age group to share thoughts and feelings with can be a big blessing to seniors.
Because senior living communities are very much like other residential areas, seniors have a true sense of togetherness and are less likely to feel alone.
What’s more, there are many programs and activities throughout the week that give residents something fun and engaging to look forward to. From book clubs to arts and crafts to dances and church services. Your loved one will never be short on ways to socialize and build friendships.
Seniors can enjoy the freedom of not having to plan meals or go grocery shopping. That’s because there are on-site chefs who create healthy, balanced meals every day for community residents.
With a well-balanced diet comes the need for plenty of exercise. Thanks to the many wellness programs available at senior living communities, there are all kinds of exercise opportunities awaiting discovery.
Some facilities offer yoga classes and other programs. Combined with a nutritious daily diet, your loved one’s overall health is sure to thrive.
One of the most appealing advantages of community life is not having to worry about tiresome yard work and chores. Many seniors prefer to avoid shoveling snow in frigid temperatures or mowing the lawn in the scorching sun.
The same is true when there’s a leak in the roof or a drain gets clogged. It would be much more convenient if someone else could take care of it. Residents in a senior community don’t have to worry about such tasks ever again. Staff members and professionals will handle these services.
Not only does this help prevent a pulled back or achy muscles, but it also keeps seniors from having to foot the bill. By taking the burden off of the residents, they can focus on enjoying life and community instead of worrying about fixing things around the house.
Safety and Security
Many senior living communities are gated. This ensures that only residents, friends, and family members are welcome. And any time a senior leaves the community, whether to run errands or take a vacation, they have the peace of mind that their home and belongings are safely guarded while they’re gone.
This extends to just taking a walk in the evening. With outside visitors able to get in, there’s a true sense of privacy and safety when living in a residential community.
Assisted living communities offer seniors a safe residence to live independently, make new friends, and enjoy daily living activities with an occasional helping hand. But how do you know if your loved one is a good fit for assisted living?
Are there any downsides that family members need to be aware of? Today, we’re going to help you decide whether assisted living is the best option for your loved one. We’ll look at the benefits that many assisted living communities offer, as well as potential drawbacks that need to be considered.
Pros of Assisted Living
Help With Activities of Daily Living
Many seniors need a helping hand with personal care and daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and preparing meals, for example. The benefits of assisted living are designed to accommodate seniors who need help with non-medical tasks, yet can still live largely independent lives.
Adapts to a Wide Range of Needs
Throughout the course of living in an assisted community, your loved one may require a different level of care from when they first moved in. As such, assisted living facilities offer adaptable care services to help seniors maintain their quality of life.
If it is determined that any seniors need help that isn’t offered by the assisted living facility, more accommodating care options will be recommended.
Another of the many benefits of assisted living is the peace of mind that loved ones don’t have cleaning and maintaining their homes. Instead, they can focus on enjoying life without the burden of having to fix things or perform maintenance tasks.
This includes mowing the lawn and other yard care. Some assisted living communities provide assistance with laundry and similar household chores. In doing so, seniors have much more freedom and time to do what they please, such as attending on-site activities and get-togethers.
Privacy and Security
Because an assisted living facility is similar to a home setting, seniors have a lot more privacy. That said, there are often many opportunities to socialize with other residents. Many assisted living facilities offer daily activities and events that help improve quality of life.
It’s not uncommon to find dedicated buildings that house church services, dancing, arts and crafts, and much more. Assisted living residents are also capable of getting daily exercise and can enjoy doing so in a safe environment.
Each senior community is accessible only to other assisted living residents. Therefore, outside parties and unwanted guests won’t be able to get in without first being cleared by one of the residents of the community.
This ensures that seniors can take walks and socialize in peace and safety without fear of being bothered by someone who doesn’t live there.
Cons of Assisted Living
Although not as expensive as a nursing home, moving to an assisted living facility isn’t cheap. If your loved one is struggling with financial difficulties and family members can’t afford to cover the costs of care, you’ll need help from outside resources and programs, and even then there’s no guarantee.
Coping With Change
Most seniors like to do things their way. After all, they’ve been doing so for many years now. Although nothing notably restrictive, some of the rules may prove challenging for seniors to adjust to.
Just the idea of moving from their lifelong home can pose problems. As such, it’s important to reach out to our senior care specialists. We can work with you to help overcome these roadblocks and ensure a smooth transition.
If you are considering moving a loved one to an assisted living facility, it’s likely because they are struggling to care for themselves. But what exactly makes someone eligible for assisted living? It’s important to choose the correct long-term care plan for your loved one. Knowing what qualifies seniors for assisted living will ensure that they get the help they need through the proper care services.
Let’s discuss the various criteria that assisted living residents must meet. This way you can make the best decision for your family. With the help of this guide, you can be sure to give your loved one the care they deserve.
Assisted Living Qualifications
Requires Help With Non-Medical Needs
Assisted living facilities are designed to provide help with daily tasks (such as using the restroom) and personal care (bathing, dressing, and eating). Essentially, any activities of daily living that aren’t necessarily medical in nature.
If your loved one has difficulty preparing their own meals or completing household chores, it may be time to make the move to assisted living.
With that said, assisted living residents are typically capable of getting around on their own. Even if they require the aid of a wheelchair, cane, or walker. Many seniors in assisted living communities have independent living skills that allow them to be left alone for most of the time.
Independence is key. Those who need senior care around the clock are likely better suited for nursing homes.
Able to Live Independently
As we just discussed, assisted living residents are going to be on their own more often than not. They’re receive occasional assistance from staff to help with non-medical daily living activities. Many assisted living communities are designed like small apartments. They just offer greater accessibility while making it easier to get around.
Stable or No Medical Conditions
Assisted living residents should also be free of debilitating medical issues. Many older adults with arthritis or chronic pain live happy lives in assisted living communities. However, they are still able to care for themselves for most daily tasks.
Seniors with medical conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease require a higher level of care and should therefore consider other senior living options. Nursing homes, for example, help seniors who require ongoing nursing care–something assisted living facilities don’t provide.
As such, seniors with memory conditions are likely to need long-term care from a skilled nursing facility. Although some assisted living communities offer daily medication management, they are not equipped for things like insulin injections, feeding tubes, and other similar medical services.
Need Guidance? We Can Help!
Here at Mary T, we understand how challenging and overwhelming it can feel trying to find the best care for seniors. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are but a couple of senior living options to consider for your loved one.
To ensure that you choose the right level of care, we encourage you to reach out to our senior care specialists. We will be happy to assist you during this difficult time.
Many people often equate nursing homes with assisted living communities and vice versa. This is understandable, as senior living as a whole tends to get blurred into one subject. However, nursing home care and assisted living are two different things entirely.
As you search for the right living arrangement for your loved one, it is important to understand the differences between senior living services and nursing home vs assisted living. Here at Mary T, we want you to be able to make the best decision for the senior in your life who is planning to transition to a senior care facility.
Nursing Home vs Assisted Living: How to Choose the Right Level of Care
It can be difficult trying to determine the best level of care for loved ones. Fortunately, you have resources available that can help make your decision easier.
Our senior living specialists are happy to offer their assistance in finding the best residential care based on your loved one’s needs. Contact us at your earliest convenience so we can walk you through your options.
What is the next level of care after assisted living?
Memory care is often the next level of care. It provides failure-free activities designed to accommodate seniors living with memory loss. This level of care may also offer family members educational support to help deal with the challenges that memory loss and dementia often present.
When should you move from assisted living to a nursing home?
One of the most notable clues is if caregivers are finding it more and more challenging to meet your loved one’s needs. This may present itself in the form of frustration or feeling increasingly tired. If the need for care is getting to be more than you or the caregiver can handle, or if your loved one’s health is deteriorating, it may be time to consider a nursing home.
Nursing Home vs Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?
Assisted living communities are ideally designed for seniors who are capable of providing most of their own care but still need a helping hand with some daily living tasks. When your loved one moves to an assisted living facility, they are able to live largely independently.
Many assisted living facilities offer a wide range of recreational activities and on-site services. For example, it isn’t uncommon to find happy hours, restaurant-quality dining, and outings provided for residents.
Assistance is still available to assisted living residents, such as those who need help with laundry and housekeeping. If a senior needs help with daily medication management, assisted living communities offer those services, as well.
You can trust that your loved one will have access to assistance with common activities of daily living, ensuring that all of their needs are met.
Also called convalescent homes, nursing homes are specifically designed for those who require 24-hour residential care. Nursing home residents may suffer from physical or mental conditions that make full-time skilled nursing care a necessity.
This can include bathing, dressing, and other personal care, as well as medical care. These care services ensure that nursing home residents receive personalized attention based on their medical needs. Nursing home care is often synonymous with long-term care and can help prevent illnesses from worsening.
A Deeper Level of Care
Assisted living and nursing home facilities provide many of the same services, such as medication management and housekeeping, but differ in the latter being intended for residents who can no longer live independently.
Many seniors in skilled nursing facilities are wheelchair-bound or bedridden. Because of this, they have additional needs that must be met on a daily basis to ensure their health and safety. A nursing home may be the right choice if your loved one needs daily medical care to live comfortably.
There are times when an elderly person staying in an assisted living facility experiences declining health and has to be moved to a nursing facility. If you are faced with this decision and don’t know where to turn, we invite you to contact us right away.
Our specialists will be happy to speak with you and provide the guidance and direction you need. We have assisted many families in transitions like this, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to face these difficult decisions on your own.
On-Site Medical Care
Nursing homes provide medical services that range from physical occupational and speech therapy to rehabilitation and respiratory care. When seniors transition to skilled nursing facilities, you can trust they will be well cared for at all times. This includes daily meals that are based on the nutritional needs of each resident.
Some seniors who require the care of nursing homes have suffered an injury or have a chronic medical condition. Fortunately, nursing home residents can get their medical care on-site. That’s one huge benefit nursing homes have over assisted living. Assisted living simply provides transportation services for residents to attend appointments.
Skilled nursing care aside, there are still plenty of activities available to ensure that personal needs are met. Oftentimes, nursing homes include designated common areas regularly used for church and community gatherings.
Is assisted living better than a nursing home?
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities both have their place in senior care. One is not necessarily better than the other. It all depends on the needs of the seniors who are transitioning from their homes.
Assisted living facilities are more suitable for residents who can still provide some of their own daily care, whereas nursing homes are better suited to those who cannot. Both residential services offer plenty of recreational activities and promote community interaction with new people.
However, the need for family is still encouraged for the well-being of residents. Seniors who move to a care facility or community are often leaving behind their homes of many years, along with a lifetime of memories.
Having familiar people in their lives can make their transition easier. It can also make a big difference in the overall health of the residents. It is therefore important to make time for family members who are moving to nursing homes or assisted living communities.
We Can Help
At Mary T, we understand how important it is to find the right residence for your loved one’s needs. We’re happy to help you along the way to ensure that you make the best decision for your family. If you or your loved one live in Minnesota or Arizona, contact us so that we can provide the direction you need.
Our senior care team has years of training and experience to ensure that you receive the very best help as you search for the best housing option for your family. As always, we look forward to serving you and hope to hear from you soon.
Here at Mary T, we want you to feel confident about assisted living. We understand that considering this move in your life is a big step. But we assist clients all the time as we help them find the best senior housing options for their needs.
You can count on our assisted living specialists to provide guidance and direction in all of your senior living needs. But today we want to address one of the most frequent questions we are asked: paying for assisted living.
If you are concerned with how you are going to pay for long-term senior living, please keep reading to learn more about your options.
What Does Medicare Cover for Assisted Living?
Medicare is a type of health insurance that many Americans who are 65 and older are eligible to get. However, it does not usually cover the costs associated with assisted living. However, it will typically cover a short-term stay at a nursing or rehabilitation community.
This is handy if you are just recovering from an illness or injury. Medicare can also be helpful in covering in-home rehab care. So if you need the services of a home health nurse or therapist while you’re on the mend from a surgery or illness, Medicare is ideal.
Medicaid, on the other hand, does pay for various senior living expenses. You or your loved one can qualify for Medicaid if they currently have low income and few assets other than their home. Since Medicaid is a government-funded program, there are easier qualifications for seniors to take advantage of it.
What’s more, nearly all Medicaid programs cover assisted living costs to some extent for eligible residents. Although Medicaid does not pay for the cost of assisted living in assisted living communities, it will cover nursing care and other services associated with assisted living.
As such, you may find it’s much easier to meet your assisted living needs with Medicaid covering some of the external expenses. You can get help with case management needs, medication management, medical exams, and other assessments.
Since these services are often part of senior living needs, Medicaid could provide the financial assistance you or your family member needs to successfully move into an assisted living facility.
How Do I Get Financial Assistance for Assisted Living?
As you search for communities, you will find that nearly all of them offer residents choice of either all-inclusive or fee-for-service when it comes to paying for assisted living.
All-inclusive comes with a single monthly fee. This fee functions to cover rent, daily meals, and any other senior care services a resident might need. For example, transportation or housekeeping.
On the other hand, fee-for-service means that residents pay only for services that they use. Keep this in mind when making your decision. If loved ones intend to take advantage of all of the services an assisted living community offers, it makes more financial sense to choose the all-inclusive option.
If your loved one is only going to need access to limited services or will have their own outside assistance for services, the fee-for-service option will ensure the most effective savings.
As we’ve already discussed, Medicare and Medicaid are limited in the assistance that they offer. However, if your senior is a veteran, there might be other options available to them. For example, financial assistance is available for veterans who choose to move into an assisted living facility.
This assistance comes in the form of a pension known as the Aid and Attendance Benefit. Beginning in 2019, this assistance programs like this help pay up to $1,881 a month. This is the amount for a single veteran.
The program will pay up to $2,230 a month for a veteran who is married. However, eligibility to get this help paying for senior care can be a bit complicated. There may also be a long wait time for getting approval.
Thankfully, lots of states have noticed that the cost of assisted living is actually much cheaper for seniors in the long run. That is, compared to sending them to a nursing home funded by Medicaid. The problem is, not all states offer the funding for such programs.
These programs all vary by state and offer different benefits, as well. The good thing is, all programs help to offset assisted living costs, regardless. This makes it easier and more affordable for your loved ones to move into an assisted living facility.
What Happens if You Can’t Afford Assisted Living?
If you have exhausted all of your available options and don’t know where else to turn, you might need to entertain the idea of getting an assisted living loan. If your home has equity in it, you can secure a loan for the cost of that equity and use it to pay for assisted living.
This reverse mortgage can give you the money you need now to cover your living expenses. But be aware that the interest rates and fees can get costly. So you need to make sure that there are no other options available to you before agreeing to this.
It’s better to check with family members, friends, private lenders, and other resources first if you absolutely need a loan.
Finding Appropriate Housing in Your Area
If you need assistance finding reputable, safe, and accommodating housing in your area, we encourage you to reach out to our team here at Mary T. Our specialists are happy to assist you in finding the most suitable room and board for you or your loved ones. We have various locations covering Minnesota, Maryland, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
If you have any questions about our services, or paying for assisted living, please feel free to contact us. We invite you to explore our website and the services that we offer.
There comes a time in the lives of many seniors when they would rather break free from the burdens of life and take on fewer responsibilities. Oftentimes, older adults need help and care but don’t want to even entertain the thought of assisted living. They feel like they’re capable of looking after themselves and aren’t suited for such facilities.
Fortunately, senior care is available through many different living options. Thanks to the relaxed, long-term care of independent living communities, your loved one can enjoy a whole new life while still receiving love and support from family and friends.
But before any grand decisions are made, it is important to ensure that you choose the best senior living community for your needs. To assist you with this, our specialists here at Marty T have compiled this helpful resource.
Below, you will learn the right questions to ask when considering independent living facilities. By asking essential questions, you and your loved one will have peace of mind that you are making the best decision.
Is Independent Living Right for You?
To determine whether independent living is right for you, consider the following:
You would rather let someone else handle daily tasks and chores
Does the thought of leaving yard work, home maintenance, and other chores to someone more capable sound appealing to you? At independent living communities, you get to focus on friendships and living a quiet life that suits your own pace.
You’re ready to build new friendships
When you decide to live independently in a senior community, you can look forward to being surrounded by like-minded residents. As such, you can build new friendships and relationships with other seniors.
Imagine having your best friend within walking distance and the ability to visit any time you like. Living independent (for example, living in 55+ communities) affords you such niceties as you start a new chapter in your life.
You like the idea of having nearby activities
Senior living communities include plenty of care options to keep loved ones entertained and fulfilled. On-site activities ensure that residents of the local community can interact and participate without having to leave the premises.
Being responsible for less cooking sounds appealing
An independent community offers prepared meals every day, although the number provided varies between communities. Some may offer one meal, while others may offer more. When you inquire about care services, be sure to ask about meals, as well.
Seniors may be responsible for some meals, but not all. An independent retirement community will have a kitchen available for meal preparation and greater convenience.
Is Assisted Living the Same as Independent Living?
Assisted living and independent living are vastly different from one another, although the two senior living options share similar features. The differences begin with the capabilities of the residents. Seniors who are no longer able to care for themselves and require daily medical care should move to an assisted living facility.
Assisted living also provides regular nursing care, ensuring that loved ones always have access to continuing care 24 hours a day for optimal health and well-being. In short, if your loved one doesn’t feel comfortable on their own anymore, they should seriously consider assisted living.
Moving to an assisted living community ensures that seniors who need personal care can get the attention they need. Assisted living provides continuing care that is centered on your loved one’s medical needs.
If necessary, seniors can call for help any time thanks to on-site nursing staff. Medical services are always available, providing a higher level of senior care. Residents who require daily medications will get theirs from the nurses throughout the day, ensuring that such things aren’t accidentally forgotten or overlooked.
Rather, a senior living in an independent facility is able to provide for the majority of their needs. These residents don’t need nursing care, memory care, or medical care around the clock. But that doesn’t mean that they will be on their own completely.
Thanks to on-site services, your loved one can enjoy home care that handles things like laundry and cleaning. This affords more time to focus on friendships and enjoying daily living without the burden of looking after the place.
How Does Independent Living Work?
This type of senior housing works much the same as that of a retirement community. Senior housing is offered in the form of senior apartments, ensuring everyone has their privacy while being in close proximity to other residents.
Activities are available on-site, as well, so that residents have plenty of options to keep them busy. Like a retirement facility, your loved one will be able to make friends with fellow seniors, ensuring that the need for companionship is met.
Choosing an Independent Living Facility or Retirement Home
To assist you in choosing the right place for your needs, we invite you to contact us at Mary T. Our housing experts specialize in senior home care and will be more than happy to help you find the best facility for your needs. If you’re looking for senior living in Coon Rapids MN, we’re the right people to call.
We will discuss pricing, on-site services and activities, local resources, and more. We want to make sure that you move to a place that is suitable for your needs.
At Mary T, we also assist with your medical insurance to ensure that pricing is within your budget. Our specialists are here to help you every step of the way to ensure a smooth transition.
Supporting a Loved One in a Move to Independent Living
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to stay in touch with your friend or family member after they have moved to an independent living facility. Remember, they are likely leaving a home behind that is full of memories.
Seniors need continuing care and support from their families. You can help a great deal just by giving them a call from time to time. Sadly, too many seniors are left alone and without the contact they need. You may find that keeping in contact makes all the difference in the world.
If you have any more questions regarding independent living in Minnesota, give us a call!
Ask nearly anyone about a move to assisted living and they’ll tell you that they would feel better staying in their own home. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the right decision when it comes to aging parents. They may need care around the clock that they can’t at home.
As tough as it is, this is a conversation that is necessary to ensure the safety of parents who are declining in health. To help you with this, we would like to share some options and perspectives for you to consider while you have that discussion.
These tips will help you get the conversation started and guide it in the right direction. And as tough as it may be at times, you have to keep your loved one’s best interest at heart.
Talking to Your Parents About Assisted Living
Before you jump right into a conversation about a move to assisted living, it’s best to drop light hints about the thought of moving to an assisted living community. You never want to approach your aging parents or loved ones in a manner that suggests you have already decided for them.
Ideally, senior living should be a mutual decision – one that you agree on together. What’s more, all seniors need to be reassured that senior living communities aren’t anything like they imagine.
For many elderly parents and loved ones, an assisted living community is a place that brings great joy and peace. As such, you want to make sure that you convey the benefits that these communities will provide. Many of them offer fun activities, fewer responsibilities, around-the-clock care, and enhanced safety.
It’s good to point out that moving to a senior living community will afford your mom or dad the perfect opportunity to make new friends. Once they get involved in their community and take part in the activities offered, many parents quickly change their mind about being there.
Make sure that you listen to any concerns your parent may have about making such a move. Reassure them that this is just a new chapter in their life – one centered on their health and safety.
It’s also important to wait for the right time. If your parent is inclined to accidents, bring this up the next time something happens. Convey your concerns about what would have happened had you not been there. It’s important that they also see the need for such a move.
At that same time, if your parent or relative isn’t at any immediate risk and is more than capable of taking care of themselves, don’t rush into assisted living. There are plenty other types of communities for seniors. If they simply talk about being lonely or showing a desire to meet people, independent living communities might be a better fit.
Making the Move to Assisted Living
When the day comes that it’s time to make the move, try to consider how your parent must feel. You don’t completely understand what they are being asked to leave behind. Not only are they leaving their home, but also a lifetime of memories. There is bound to be a lot of emotion involved in this move.
While there’s a good chance that your loved one will meet new residents and form friendships, the need to talk to family never ends. Try to visit as often as you can and get the family involved, too. This will help in the coping process more than you can imagine.
Common Questions About Assisted Living
Q: Is there a time when family members should begin discussing assisted living facilities as a possible option for care?
One of the most opportune times to have this discussion is if, for example, mom has a close call at home. Let her know that you worry about her safety. You want her to be aware that there are options available that might help meet her needs.
Q: What is the best way to bring up a possible transition into assisted living?
It’s always better if your parents bring it up first. Not necessarily moving to assisted living, but the desire to have security and peace of mind. This is a much easier option compared to you making the first move.
Q: What can you do if your parent is resistant or completely opposed to an assisted living facility?
There are some instances that make having a reasonable conversation impossible. For example, dealing with memory loss or dementia. In those cases, you might be unable to do or say anything to change their thinking.
As hard as it is, you may have to seek a power of attorney to ensure the safety and best interest of your loved one. If you are finding this difficult and don’t know where to start, we encourage you to contact us at Mary T.
We specialize in senior living services and can help you in this challenging time. If you’re looking for assisted living or nursing homes in coon rapids MN, give us a call. We will be happy to assist you in finding the right place for your loved one.
Here at Mary T, we want you to be clear on the truth about hospice care. It is important for hospice patients and family members to have a good understanding of what hospice entails.
If you have a loved one with a terminal illness, it’s important to separate the hospice myths from hospice facts. We want to help as many people as we can by discussing the most common myths about hospice care.
With factual information and data about hospice care, you can confidently make the best decision for your family and loved ones.
What Is Hospice Care?
The HFA (Hospice Foundation of America) defines hospice care as medical care designed to assist someone with a terminal illness by helping them live as comfortably for as long as possible.
Loved ones receive hospice care from a team of specialists who assist with the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental needs of end-of-life patients and their families.
Hospice Care Means…
In short, hospice care is intended to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients. This is accomplished through medications, comfort care, and any other reasonable way to lift the spirits of end-of-life patients.
This extends to family members and caregivers, as well. End-of-life care can be very demanding for those who are providing services. From emotional support to assisted living services, there is a lot that makes up end-stage care.
Dispelling the Rumors
With such a unique and challenging aspect of medical care, myths and rumors are bound to come about. Unfortunately, this can create a stigma and make it difficult for families to confidently choose hospice care.
It is therefore essential to research as much information as you can on hospice care and what it entails. That’s why our specialists here at Mary T compiled a detailed guide to the most common hospice myths.
Hospice care may or may not be the most suitable option for your loved one. But the only way to be sure is to research hospice and end-of-life care and speak with a doctor. So with that, let’s find out what’s real and what isn’t with hospice care.
Myths About Hospice
Many people are under the impression that hospice and palliative care are reserved for patients who no longer want to live. This is completely false – and dangerous.
It’s misinformation like this that could keep a patient from seeking hospice care services, thus depriving them of the comfort they could experience in the final days of their life-limiting illness.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only myth making the rounds. The following are the nine most common myths associated with hospice care.
Myth 1. You Can Never Leave Hospice Care
Entering into a hospice program does not lock you in for life. While it’s true that hospice care is designed for patients who have six months or less to live, there are many accounts of patients getting better during hospice treatment.
If this happens, a doctor will evaluate the patient and release them from care. Continued follow-up treatment may be necessary, but the patient certainly doesn’t have to stay in hospice.
Myth 2. You Must Sign a DNR
Similar to the first myth, some believe hospice requires the signing of a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). Such an agreement hastens death, and that’s exactly the opposite of what the goal of hospice care is all about.
Hospice providers want to improve the life of patients, even during their dying process. The goal is simply to keep them comfortable. A DNR is absolutely not required.
Myth 3. People Must Have Only Days to Live
On average, people enrolled in hospice care, such as cancer patients, have a limited life expectancy. It’s true that hospice care is typically meant for patients with a few months of life left. But it certainly doesn’t bar a patient with a longer life expectancy. Actually, many patients don’t get to experience the full benefits of hospice care because they put it off for too long due to this common myth.
Remember, hospice care is in place for patients with life-limiting illnesses. It will be up to the patient’s primary care physician or family to determine what kind of care is needed.
Myth 4. You No Longer Have Control of Your Care
Hospice services are designed to improve the quality of life of patients, through efforts like pain management. The plan of care tailored for the patient does not mean the patient must accept it. They have the right to refuse any part of hospice services that don’t agree with or want.
Myth 5. Hospice Care Is Only Available at Hospitals
The patient decides where they receive hospice care. If they feel more comfortable in a nursing home, then that’s what is right for that patient. Hospice means making the patient comfortable. As such, hospice is a place where the patient gets the most benefit, whether at home, in a hospice center, or otherwise.
Myth 6. You Need a Doctor Referral
Anyone can make a referral for hospice care, from the patient to family members. However a doctor does need to send the official order for hospice care.
Myth 7. Only Patients With Cancer Can Get Hospice Care
Cancer patients are certainly included, but so are those with heart disease, lung disease, and more. Again, it depends on the health of the patient and how their illness affects them. If it is terminal, then receiving hospice care makes the most sense.
Myth 8. Hospice and Palliative Care Are the Same
Hospice patients have life-limiting illnesses. Palliative care is generally started once the patient is diagnosed, which may or may not lead to life-limiting conditions.
Myth 9. Hospice Care Is Expensive
Hospice provides its services to patients with private insurance. It is also fully funded by Medicare and Medicaid and is covered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. As such, you have many options for seeking the care you need.
A family member should reach out to social workers for guidance on this matter. Our health care specialists can also assist you in this.
Contact Mary T for More Information
We encourage you to reach out to us with any questions regarding the care of your loved ones. We will be happy to assist you in any way that we can. If you are a Minnesota Twin Cities resident in the St. Paul or Minneapolis area, call or visit the Mary T Coon Rapids MN for more information.
Hospice care can be a necessary part of end-of-life care. With the support of good hospice care, your loved one can receive the treatment needed for comfort in their final days.
If you have someone close to you who needs hospice care, we encourage you to contact us at Mary T today. Our specialists can offer the guidance and support you need to make the best decision for your family.
What Are the Goals of Hospice Care?
The goals of hospice care begin with ensuring that the patient has improved quality of life during the last phases of an illness or disease; specifically, one that cannot be cured. When someone has a disease that can’t be cured, it means that hospice care is needed.
The goals of hospice care include providing treatment that serves to lessen the severity of the patient’s symptoms. When a medical condition is terminal, hospice care works to make the patient as comfortable as possible.
This is done in coordination with the patient’s primary hospice doctor, who prescribes medication for the care team to administer. Although the medication isn’t intended to cure, it can help the ill experience less pain and suffering.
What’s more, family members and loved ones can offer their support in an effort to lift the spirits of the terminally ill patient.
Clergy may also offer spiritual guidance throughout the final months of the patient’s life. Emotional support is essential in hospice, too, as it is a big part of the help patients need during this time.
What Are 4 Goals for End-of-Life Care?
While the wishes of terminally ill patients vary, this care program tries to provide the same hospice treatment goals for everyone. This care includes help in the following areas:
Mental and emotional needs
Some patients in hospice wish to be left alone, while others desire ongoing support and care from family members and people around them. This level of care is designed to fulfill the needs of terminally ill patients.
The goal is to ensure that as much care and support is available as possible. Some families may have a different goal in mind from the next. It is therefore essential to communicate these desires with the hospice doctor and care team as often as possible.
Ask questions and request information about these goals. This will make it easier to develop a plan that has the patient’s wishes in mind.
Although death is inevitable for everyone, people are affected differently by it. As such, there needs to be a unique hospice care program in place that serves to provide services centered on each patient.
Ongoing Hospice Care
But just because there is no possibility for a cure, that doesn’t mean that hospice care should cease. With the 4 goals of end-of-life care, your loved one can experience medical support from caregivers, as well as support from friends and family.
Patient and family connection is very important, as it helps to provide for the mental and emotional needs of the suffering. Nursing staff is also available to assist with physical comfort, and clergy helps with spiritual issues.
Caregivers take care of many of the practical tasks, ensuring that all aspects of end-of-life care are met. With all of this care in action, patients with a terminal illness can find respite in the final months or days of their lives.
Support for Hospice Caregivers
It’s important to note that caregivers who provide care services for patients in hospice are working very physically demanding jobs. As such, they, too, require patient and family support.
Whether the caregiver is a licensed health care professional or a family member, they may need their own respite and social support. This ensures that they will be able to provide the best care possible, whether at the patient’s home or in a healthcare facility.
What Does Hospice Do at End of Life?
Hospice makes sure that the patient’s primary wishes are met. From lessening their pain to ensuring that the patient is in the facility of their choosing, hospice works with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization so that all of the patient’s needs are met.
It is important for the patient to have as many options as possible. By being provided with all available services and medical resources, the patient can get the necessary care.
Hospice also works together with hospice doctors to ensure that the patient is provided with the medications they need for fewer symptoms. This is done to give the patient comfort care during their final days.
Nursing staff may provide medications in either the patient’s home or in a hospital, depending on the patient’s wishes. With a focus on good social care and ongoing care, hospice is a necessary component to the patient’s final days of life.
Families are encouraged to take part in this program if it meets the desires of the patient.
Contact Mary T Today
Our team is here for you. If you have any questions or would like more information on hospice, we will be happy to assist you. We can help find the most suitable place for your family member, whether in a local facility or at home.
You don’t have to face hospice care on your own. Please feel free to contact us so we can help you through this difficult time.