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30 Days to a Better Life

Choosing Long Term Care

 

Choosing Long Term Care
30 Days to a Better Life
By: Lauren Keith

Aging - just say the word and we all have different thoughts. Like it or not, we're all going to get older and that means you' have to plan for it. We have to decide where we'll spend our last years. There are many types of long-term care: from nursing homes to in-home care to assisted living. Each is based on the amount of care you think you need from nursing staff. It may even be a decision you might want to make in your 30's!

Carroll Williams coached the Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team, during the 1980's, but these days, he's coaching his mother, Edna. Carroll assists Edna with her daily exercises, and helps her adjust to life in the nursing home.

"She was really scared to go to the nursing home because at her age, she thought that's where you go to die," said Carroll.

So, Carroll thought Edna could move in with him and his wife. They looked into the costs of in-home care, but both Edna and her son concluded: this arrangement wouldn't bring them instant comfort, like they originally thought.

"I didn't want to pile in on one of the children," said Edna.

"Their dignity is lost because they're in someone else's house being taken care of. In the Lutheran Home, she can decorate as she wants and she can come and go as she wants," said Carroll.

After many tours of area facilities and lots of emotional conversations, Edna and her son decided she'd call room 16-C her home. She quickly found, the nursing home is a place where she could learn to live again.

"You see people you saw last night, and if there's any news happening,why they talk about it!" said Edna.

Her change in attitude is something a lot of other seniors experience, too. That's according to Lois Nelson with the SEMO Area Agency on Aging.

"I would tell them to look at the interaction of the staff and the residents. Visit different times of the day, on weekends, evenings, and observe what they're doing--do they seem to care for residents?" said Nelson.

Nelson also says your local

Agency on Aging can help you make background checks on different long-term care facilities. The staff can show you to where to look to check up on any cases of elder abuse in a certain home.

"I would say check out the results from the surveys on Medicare.gov. it has a list you can compare in all states that have homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid," said Nelson.

Both Carroll and Edna took that advice, but the path to get here certainly was a step by step process. They also based their decision on finances.

"She went through her assets in 18 months. That left it up to the rest of us to take care of it," he said.

Carroll quickly decided he'd start selling long-term care insurance to help the family out.

"Today, nursing home costs in southeast Missouri are about $45,000 a year!. Everyone thinks about 401-k's and Roth IRAs, but if they don't think about long-term care, those expenses can destroy all other planning," he says.

Now that this decision is behind the Williams' family, Edna says she rests more easily now, here in her new home.

"I'm surprised i get treated the way i do, like a visitor almost!" she says.

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