Should I Send My Parents to a Long-Term Care Home?
Have you ever struggled with whether or not you should send your parents to a long-term care home? After we see our beloved parents start to experience aging and disability, we often try to provide care for them by ourselves first.
After Tammy noticed her mother, Madeline, began to experience aging and disability, she often went home early to ensure her mother was doing well. But one day, her mother fell while at work, and she could do nothing about it.
She started looking for information about senior care services from that day on. Initially, she chose home care services. Home care professionals provided medical and personal care for Madeline when Tammy was working. When the home care staff was off duty, Tammy took their place and became a caregiver.
But as Madeline got older, the situation became worse, and Madeline often needed care at night. Tammy hadn’t had a proper sleep for a while, and she stayed up all night again. She only slept 5 hours in the past three days, and she was exhausted and burned out.
“I just want my mom to get the best care she deserves.” Tammy stressed this matter with us many times, “But at the same time, I also have other concerns, like budgeting and my mom’s will. So, should I send my parents to a long-term care home?”
Unfortunately, CareStory cannot answer the question for you, but we are here to help you make the decision easier. Check out some essential factors with us before you make the decision!
Factors to Consider for Transferring Seniors to Long-Term Care Homes
When we talked to professional care staff, seniors, and their families, some issues kept coming up —
- How to predict whether seniors need a long-term care home or not
- When should seniors and their families start to consider arranging a long-term care home?
Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict how much or when an individual might need long-term care. However, several factors might increase the probability of needing long-term care. If your parents are in line with most factors mentioned below, plan for long-term care services!
In general, the risk of needing long-term care increases as people get older. According to the U.S. Administration for Community Living and Administration on Aging research, seniors over 65 have an almost 70% chance of needing long-term care services and support for their remaining years. If your parents are about to turn 65, it’s a good idea for you to consider arranging a long-term care home in advance!
Health and Family History
A family history of health problems also contributes to the need for long-term care later in life. Conditions can be physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and other chronic diseases. The most common aging health issues are arthritis, heart disease, dementia, and chronic lower respiratory diseases, where most patients need professional treatment and care in the long term. Therefore, you need to raise awareness of common aging disease symptoms and inherited or acquired disabling conditions. It is crucial to check your parents’ health conditions regularly and book professional long-term care services in advance, just in case!
If your parents live alone, boom, pay attention! They are more likely to need care from paid caregivers than elderly adults who live with their family members. Keep in touch with your parents at all times and ask them how they are doing daily. If you’re too busy and there are no home care services available, a nursing home should be the best option.
From a Budget Perspective, Is A Long-Term Care Home The Best Option?
Budget and cost are always huge components in our decision-making. When approaching whether or not I should send my parents to a long-term care home, spending accounts for a lot! If you want to know more about other kinds of long-term care homes, please check our “What is Long-term Care” blog. Here, we will discuss three different scenarios, calculate the budget and inform you, from a budget perspective, whether a long-term care home is the best option.
Scenario 1: You become a full-time caregiver and take care of your parents at home
In this scenario, you will not send your parents to a Long-Term Care Home. Your parents can stay at home, like what’s happening now, for good. But at the same time, you should gain more professional personal care skills. The most common way to achieve that is to take a private caregiver training course and get certified. Nowadays, those programs can be taken both in-person and online, so you can choose the program that works best for you.
The benefit of this scenario is that you can provide the most personalized care for your beloved parents. After you take the training and become a certified caregiver, there’s no doubt that you are the best caregiver for them. But on the other hand, it will be pretty costly. To become a full-time caregiver, you have to give up your current career. Therefore, the total annual cost will be Personal Caregiver Training Course + Your Annual Salary and Bonus, an annual expense of at least $55,000.
Scenario 2: You choose live-in home care services
In this case, you are in a similar situation that Tammy and Madeline were in. Your parents still stay at home, and they can receive professional care from long-term care nurses. Home care professionals can provide similar care and services to average nursing homes. What’s more, since your parents are the only clients for home care professionals, they know your parents better than standard care staff in a long-term care home, so they also provide personalized care for your parents.
However, when your home caregiver is off duty, there is no professional care for your parents! So now, you need to take responsibility, and take care of your parents after work. But you are worried that you are not a professional. So if your parents need emergency medical treatment and care at night, unfortunately, you cannot handle this issue, and no one can help your parents in time.
On average, senior home care costs $16-$26 per hour or $150-$280 for 24-hour live-in care. So the total annual cost will be around $46,720 – $102,200 per year.
Scenario 3: You send your parents to a long-term care home
Nearly half of the families end up sending their parents to long-term care homes. Why? Because long-term care homes can provide the best 24/7 care for seniors. Long-Term care homes can provide daily assisted living, nursing care, and emergency medical care and are on hand 24 hours a day. Moreover, long-term care homes are designed for seniors and are often community-based, so your parents can meet more friends there and use the more friendly communities to seniors.
Long-term care home staff will also provide housekeeping, feeding, and bathing services. However, that means the residents not only need to pay for the medical and non-medical care services, they also need to pay for accommodation and food! But the good news is, some of the long-term care homes’ costs can be reimbursed by the national health insurance program!
The bad news, however, is that elder abuse happens in long-term care homes, and you even need to wait for a long time for long-term care home beds. In Canada, there are only 29 long-term care beds per 1,000 people aged 65 and older. So most of the time, you need to conduct both online and field research on different nursing homes and plan far in advance for your beloved parents!
The total expenses of long-term care homes vary widely. The monthly cost of a basic (public and non-profit) long-term care home is approximately $1,800 – $2,300, the cost of a private one is around $2,900 per month. Some residents can also receive a subsidy to help pay for basic long-term care accommodation. So, the total annual cost will vary from $0 – $34,800 per year, depending on your health plan and insurance.
Here’s a summary of the recommended options for you and your parents:
If you and your parents are looking for the care services that cost the least, long-term care homes are the best option.
If you and your parents are looking for more personalized care services, you should consider home care or become a full-time caregiver, but that will cost A LOT!!!!
Always remember that long-term care homes are the place that provides more comprehensive professional care, and if your parents need care as well as friendship, long-term care homes are probably the best place!
The last note from CareStory: we will try our best to provide a more holistic view of long-term care and more objective opinions on the pros and cons of long-term care homes. However, we CANNOT make the decisions for you. You should always discuss this question with your parents and other family members and find the answer that is best for all of you. From your beloved seniors’ perspective, what matters more to them? From your perspective, what turns out to be more important? It’s a trade-off, so consider different factors, such as your parents’ will, the budget, waiting time, etc. When making the decision, and choose the most beneficial long-term care plan.
Still, find it difficult to evaluate the situation? Carestory just created a checklist for you! Feel free to download the checklist here and find your answer!