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SUDDEN RACE TO FIND A NURSING HOME
November 10, 2007
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There are seven parts to this short article:

Aging Parent – Everything Can Change Unexpectedly
At midlife, as our parents become quite elderly, we can quite suddenly find ourselves faced with them going through a medical emergency – which can then lead to what is essentially a race to find them the appropriate post-hospitalization care.  “Assisted Living”, “Board and Care”, “Skilled Nursing” all represent various options – none of which make me smile to think about.  Yet these are a reality that many of us will need to address at some point with one of our parents.  How do you find the facility which best meets the needs of your elderly parent – while staying within your budget?  How do you locate these places?  How do you know how good they really are?  I cannot answer all of these questions, but I can get you thinking about them.

What got me thinking enough to write this article was my friend, Kev – whose 77-year old father is having some health challenges which will shortly require surgery.  Today, Kev and several of his brothers are taking turns taking care of their father at his home – as their father has difficulty taking care of himself.  After the surgery, he will need 24-hour assistance – and that will be tough for the three brothers since only one of the brothers lives nearby.

What little I know about this subject I have learned through personal experience.  Before losing my father in 2004, he went from a hospital where he had surgery to what is called a “skilled nursing facility” - which I will describe shortly.  I also had a sudden scare with my now 77-year old mother last year … she went into the hospital unexpectedly, and during her stay – the doctor told me that I needed to be prepared for the worst … which meant me going out and immediately locating a place that could provide mother with 24-hour post-hospitalization care in the form of “Assisted Living” – which I will also describe.

Types of Senior Care
Here are the three types or categories of senior care:

  1. Assisted Living
  2. Board and Care
  3. Skilled Nursing

“Assisted Living” refers to facilities for people who need assistance with daily living activities, but who want to remain as independent as possible.   Assisted Living facilities offer options for assisting with eating, bathing, dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and assistance with medications.  When a senior checks into one of these places, they assess the person’s needs – and design a service plan specifically for the person.  From what I have seen, there is usually a base monthly rent that is charged – plus there are add-on monthly fees based on whichever service options are appropriate.

“Board and Care” is slightly different than “Assisted Living”.   “Board and Cares” are also referred to as RCFEs (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly) – and refer to a licensed private home which accepts no more than six patients at a time.  Different “Board and Care” facilities offer various types of care and service options … mostly the same as “Assisted Living” from what I can tell.

A “Skilled Nursing” facility is basically a nursing home – a medical facility with nurses which can provide services not permitted in “Assisted Living” or “Board and Care” facilities.  If a person requires 24-hour medical care which is not serious enough for a hospital, then a nursing home is probably what you are looking at.

What I Learned – My Father
In early 2004, my father had some serious surgery to correct an abdominal aneurysm – and after spending several weeks in the hospital following the surgery, the hospital recommended he be moved to a “skilled nursing facility” for the remainder of his recovery.  They provided us a list of a handful of local recommended facilities – and we picked the one that was closest to his wife’s home.   So this was easy – the hospital had a list of officially endorsed nursing homes … which made us feel good.   [Sadly, Dad’s condition worsened over a number of weeks, and he wound up back in the hospital – where he ultimately died.  If you are interested in the subject of removing life support from a parent, then read the Short Midlife Article entitled, “Removing Life Support from a Parent”.]   Continued on next page >>>

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