Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013, 6:00 am
Editorial: Tips for finding elderly care
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By Claire K. Crawford
There are big decisions to make when taking care of an elderly person.
Do you have home health care and stay at home? Do you move into assisted living? Does your loved one require nursing home assistance?
These are questions that we all ask! We want to make informed decisions.
You can compare assisted living facilities by going to the computer and in a search box type in "rate assisted living facilities in (the city you are interested in)". You can also use www.caring.com or www.ourparents.com.
Make sure the assisted living facility you select has levels of care. Also put in writing the level of care the patient is presently in and the level of care they will require in the near future. Some assisted living centers will not push you in a wheelchair to meals. If a facility tells you that you can purchase an additional hour of care, make sure you have that in writing.
They might tell you that they are "short" and cannot accommodate your wishes. Also if you wish to purchase additional baths and whirlpools make sure you have a contract.
They also might be short. Check with residents to make sure the call button gets answered in a reasonable amount of time. It's better to get everything in writing when you become a resident.
Also be sure and ask if pets are allowed and if they will help care for your pet. Some families might want to bring in a care-giver or nurse part-time.
Seniors like to ride the van that is provided. See if your van runs seven days per week. You might want to attend a funeral or go to church.
If you have a doctor on the other side of the river, will an escort go with the patient? Will they be short and not provide anyone? Make sure it is clear that you can have a doctor who practices in Iowa or Illinois.
Go to www.medicare.gov. to find the ratings of homes in your area.
In regard to nursing homes make sure they have a skilled staff. Another decision is to purchase a single or double room.
Be sure to check costs. Some nursing homes offer private rooms for $10 or $20 extra per day.
Other homes charge almost $100 a day for a private room in addition to the nursing home monthly fee.
Another shock is that some nursing homes have "unit dosage". This means medicine is packaged individually for a resident. A $4 generic prescription can be $70 by unit dosage. Check the cost for medication.
Also if you are a veteran, inform the facility. You are allowed to get your medicines from the Veterans Administration.
Make sure you have everything in writing. Do your homework and your life will be much easier.
When a loved one is determined by their doctor to be qualified for hospice, check local hospice centers. They generally care for a person for the last six months of their life. The care is excellent and Medicare pays for this wonderful care.
They also offer respite care. This is a temporary relief when you need a break from caregiving.
Call any hospice center and they can give you the information you need. I hope this helps you find great care for your loved ones.
If you feel you are not getting good care you can call the Departments of Inspection and Appeals and talk to them about your situation at:
-- The Department of Inspection and Appeals — Iowa, 321 East 112th St, No. 3, Des Moines, IA 50319, (515) 2811-7102, fax (515) 242-6863. Nursing Home Complaint Hotline: 1-877-686-0027
-- Illinois Department of Public Health, 535 West Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761. (217) 782-4977. Fax: (217) 782-3987. Nursing Home Complaint Hotline: 1-800-252-4343
Our loved ones cared for us and now it's our turn to care for them. There are many wonderful facilities available.
Just get your agreement in writing!
Claire Crawford lives in Geneseo.