How to Choose a Long-Term Care Facility
September 29th, 2021
By Ted Gudorf, JD, LLM
Choosing a long-term care facility that is right for yourself or a loved one is an important decision based on many different moving parts and variables. As such, it is critical to assess this choice as objectively as possible so that your wealth management plan can continue to sustain you and your loved ones the way you intend.
We’ve developed a guide, albeit incomplete, on what you should consider when determining a long-term care facility for yourself or your loved ones. There are many different questions you should be asking yourself when you start to consider, but these are a few of the most important ones.
Is Long-Term Care Insurance Available?
Assessing the ability to pay for long-term care is critical to your decision. If you have long-term care insurance, or if your loved one does, this may provide enough financial support to pay for your long-term care, depending on where you live. Keep in mind that long-term care can run from about $3,600 per month to $10,000.
If you or your loved one are a veteran or the widow of a veteran, you may be able to qualify for assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Medicaid can also assist if you qualify.
What Type of Long-Term Care Is Needed?
As much as long-term care varies in cost, it also varies in type. “What type of long-term care is needed?” is a good question to ask yourself when the time is right. If your parent is basically self-sufficient but needs help with day-to-day tasks like dressing or preparing meals, you should consider assisted-living facilities.
If more advanced care is needed for medical reasons, skilled nursing homes or memory care facilities are two other options. Of course, any medical care facility will be more costly and that is something to consider when preparing for these costs.
Another alternative is home healthcare. If your loved one doesn’t need advanced care and would benefit from being at home with some extra assistance, it would be worth your time to reach out to home healthcare providers, such as Senior Helpers or FirstLight. The cost for these types of services typically falls in the $20-$30/hour range. (1) Also, Ohio offers a Medicaid program called PASSPORT that helps the elderly stay in their homes by providing care services. In other words, you have plenty of options and it’s a matter of deciding what is best for your loved one.
What Location Makes Sense?
After you nail down some answers to the aforementioned questions, start looking for long-term care centers online. There are a multitude of online resources that can help you narrow down a few. Once you have developed a short list, take some time to visit these places in person to see if they feel like a good fit. You will likely want to choose a place that is close to members of the family and friends who will want to keep tabs on the person in the long-term care facility. You should try and visit three to five facilities before settling on the best choice for you.
In your queries and visits, be sure to discuss costs with the facility administrators. Find out if the facility accepts Medicaid, and if so, if they require a private pay period before accepting Medicaid.
What Red Flags Should You Be Aware Of?
Obviously, you will want to do thorough research for the long-term facility you choose. But part of your research can be just observing what you see on your site visits. Look at the residents and how they are behaving. Are they engaged and in the common areas? Take part in an activity with a group of residents and talk to them about their life there; do they seem content? Make notes about the facility; does it seem warm and inviting? Or does it feel like a sterile environment? Consider checking with the Ohio Department of Aging’s Long-Term Care Consumer Guide to research facilities, view inspection reports, and see any complaints or citations that have been filed.
Most importantly, remember to ask questions about whether specific needs can be met at the facility, including whether doctors’ visits are a regular occurrence, whether planned activities are part of the daily routine for the residents, and whether the ratio of caregivers to patients is acceptable.
Worried About Long-Term Care? We Can Help.
Securing long-term care is a big step in anyone’s life plan, and there are many details and variables that go into making the right decision. Gudorf Law Group can help your family with this major transition. Please reach out to us today if you have questions about long-term care or other related matters, such as estate planning, probate, or elder law. No matter your concern, we have you covered. Contact us online or by phone at 937-898-5583 or email us at admin@GudorfLaw.com.
Ted Gudorf is the founder and managing attorney of Gudorf Law Group, LLC, a boutique firm with estate planning attorneys, tax advisors, and elder care lawyers focused on helping families and businesses plan for the future. With over 35 years of legal experience, Ted concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning, probate, elder law, and other related matters. Ted is known for building strong client relationships and helping his clients solve problems and make decisions. Ted has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wright State University and a J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law. He was the first attorney in the state of Ohio to obtain a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in estate planning and elder law, which he received from Western New England University School of Law. He was also one of the first attorneys to be board certified by the Ohio State Bar Association in estate planning, trust, and probate law, a status achieved by fewer than 200 attorneys in Ohio. He has an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Ted is the co-author of The Estate Planning Guide and When A Client Dies: A Legal Guide, published in 2009, and For Ohio Doctors, published in 2010. He is also a founding trustee of the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project, and previously served as the first mayor of the city of Clayton, Ohio. When not practicing law, Ted enjoys spending time at the beach, wine tasting, going out for dinner, and watching his favorite teams, the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Browns. He is active in the Dayton community, serving as president of the board of directors of Life Essentials, Inc., a nonprofit agency focused on providing guardianships for mentally ill adults with limited financial resources. To learn more about Ted, connect with him on LinkedIn.