When people are looking for a long-term care provider, “nursing home” may sometimes be the only think they think of. Perhaps they have never heard of other senior care arrangements before, or they mix up nursing homes with other common care providers, such as assisted living communities. In fact, these are two separate kinds of care, and it’s important to choose the right one for both financial stability and well-being. If an elder receives too little treatment, the consequences can be disastrous or fatal. But it’s also possible to receive too much treatment, which can deplete monetary resources. Here are some things to think about in the search for a long-term care provider.

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Communities Provide Different Level of Care

Both nursing homes and assisted living communities provide services to seniors, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and other services, but the level of care a senior receives at each facility is different. An assisted living community provides a socially-engaging atmosphere for seniors to live with their peers; however, they maintain a great deal of independence. Nursing homes offer more limited forms of social interaction and are designed to help elders with more serious medical needs.

Don’t Head For A Nursing Home Too Early

Transitioning from middle age into old age is a gradual process. Elders may see nothing wrong with their condition, and those who love them may see that they aren’t who they used to be. While health conditions can make it harder to get around or remember things, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an elder is ready to live in a nursing home. In fact, it is of great benefit to remain independent and maintain a sense of autonomy for as long as possible. This is not common knowledge. Well-meaning family members, friends, and nursing homes may recommend that an elder stay at a nursing home, even when he or she would be more content at an assisted living community.

Patient Advocates Can Help Provide Unbiased Advice

The right level of care depends on individual needs. If you or a loved one needs to make a decision regarding the right level of long-term provider care, but there are too many options or they’re too confusing, try talking to a patient advocate. Patient advocate services are trained to make accurate evaluations about seniors’ health care needs.

How Patient Advocates Choose the Right Level of Care

Here at Values Based Patient Advocates, we ask several questions to determine the right form of care an elder should receive. For instance, it’s important to know whether the senior is able to get around on their own. Those who are bedridden and some who require wheelchair assistance might consider a nursing home. Some assisted living communities are not able to provide two-person transfers or mechanical lifts. It’s important that a senior receive the right care and treatment according to their individual needs.

If you or a loved one needs help with “activities of daily living” on a regular basis, it may be wise to go to a nursing home. Other important conditions that may require an elder to go to a nursing home include those who rely on insulin injections, have a colostomy, or have chronic wounds. It’s rare that an assisted living community is able to provide the right care and treatment for these issues, though some do. Seniors who need ongoing medical attention or rehabilitation services may need to go to a nursing home as well. However, at the end of receiving rehabilitation services, an elder may be a good candidate for an assisted living community.

The most important aspect of finding the right long-term provider is understanding the elder’s needs. They need a place they will be happy with and which is able to take care of them well. If you need help determining which long-term care provider meets your needs, reach out to us today.

Our Patient Advocate Office is ever just an email or phone call away: 703-222-1300 – we’re happy to help! A phone call is free and it could save a life or reduce a large hospital bill.

Free eBook: My Health Guide

Whether you’re going in for a routine checkup or need to keep track of medications: the following documents will help you prepare for your hospital visit, track medications, and keep on top of follow-ups.