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Alzheimer's Disease and Nursing Home Care

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care for people with Alzheimer's disease offers a vast range of medical, personal, and social services that are required to meet the physical, social, and emotional needs of people who have long-term illnesses or are disabled. A nursing home facility may be the best choice for people who require 24-hour medical care and supervision.

What Types of Care Do Nursing Homes Provide Those With Alzheimer's Disease?

There are two types of care provided by nursing homes for those with Alzheimer's disease:

  • Basic care. This provides services that will help to maintain a person's ability to carry out necessary daily functions, like personal care and getting around. They will also ensure that the person is supervised and safe.
  • Skilled care. This is care that requires the services of a registered nurse for treatments and procedures on a regular basis. Skilled care also includes services provided by specially trained professionals, such as physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists.

What Services Do Nursing Homes Offer People With Alzheimer's Disease?

The services nursing homes offer vary from facility to facility. Services often include:

  • Room and board
  • Monitoring of medication
  • Personal care like dressing, bathing, and toileting assistance
  • 24-hour emergency care
  • Social and recreational activities

 

Finding the Right Nursing Home for a Loved One With Alzheimer's Disease

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, finding the right nursing home takes time. It is important to begin the search for a suitable nursing home well before you will need to take the step of moving. There are often waiting periods. Planning ahead can also make the transition of moving into a nursing home much easier.

Family and caregivers should talk about what services will be needed. Take time to consider what services are important to you before calling different nursing homes. Think about what kind of help is needed and how often it's needed.

Before scheduling a visit to the nursing homes you are interested in, ask about vacancies, admission requirements, level of care provided, and participation in government-funded health insurance options.

How Do We Pay For a Nursing Home?

As you and your family evaluate your long-term care needs, it's important to consider financing options. Payment for nursing home care can be made through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and personal funds. When evaluating nursing homes, it's important to ask the administrative staff what payment options they accept. Here's a brief summary of some of the financing options:

  • Medicare is a federal health insurance program providing health care benefits to all Americans age 65 and older. Insurance protection intended to cover major hospital care is provided without regard to income, but only restricted benefits are allowed for nursing home care. In addition, Medicare only pays for skilled care in a nursing facility that has a Medicare license.
  • Medicaid is a joint federal/state health insurance program providing medical care benefits to low-income Americans who meet certain requirements. Nursing home care is covered through Medicaid, but eligibility requirements and covered services vary widely from state to state.
  • Private long-term care insurance is a health insurance option that, if purchased, supplements Medicare coverage. Private long-term care insurance policies vary greatly. Each policy has its own eligibility requirements, restrictions, costs, and benefits.
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