Home Care Vs Assisted Living Communities
One of the things we encourage is that people living with Parkinsons have the highest and best quality of life possibleand that they live in the least restrictive environment possible, says John L. Lehr, CEO of the Parkinsons Foundation. To be sure, people like to remain in their homes and be around familiar spaces and people, so as long as they can do that safely and without any concern, we think thats good. But Parkinsons is progressive and degenerative, and there does sometimes come a point where being home with a spouse or caregiver becomes no longer safe. At that point we would encourage, along with input from a physician and others, that they consider a different environment, including assisted living.
Not only do assisted living communities provide ample opportunities for communal social interactiona significant benefit for those suffering from a disease that often leads to increased isolationbut they also provide help with activities of daily living like grooming, housekeeping and laundry, bathing, transportation, dressing, medication management, exercise and wellness programs and meal prep.
How Much Does Long Term Care For Parkinsons Patients Cost
According to the National Center for Assisted Living, the average cost of assisted living care in the United States is $48,000. Thats roughly the same cost as home health care, and about half the cost of skilled nursing facilities.
In Arizona, the average annual cost is actually a little less than the national average. Genworth places the median annual cost of assisted living care in Arizona at $45,600.
Expect specialized care for Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers, and dementia to cost a little more. While the final cost varies significantly based on the region and facility, specialized care may cost an extra $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year placing the total cost closer to $60,000 per year.
Is There A Cost For Assisted Living Services
If you receive publicly subsidized assisted living services, you will pay a monthly rate based on your income , subject to a minimum and maximum monthly rate. Your monthly rate is calculated by multiplying your after tax income by 70 per cent. For more information, please see:
For 2021, the minimum monthly rate for a single client receiving assisted living services is $1,060.30 per month.
If you and your spouse are living together in an assisted living unit, your monthly client rate will be calculated based on the income of both you and your spouse, subject to a minimum and maximum monthly rate. Your monthly rate will be recalculated if your living situation changes for any reason and you are no longer living with your spouse. For 2021, the minimum monthly rate for a couple living together in an assisted living unit is $1,615.00 per month per couple.
The maximum monthly rate for publicly subsidized assisted living services is based on the market rent for housing and hospitality services for the geographic area where you live, as well as the actual cost of personal care services you receive. For more information on the maximum monthly rate, please contact your health authority.
For more general information on the costs of publicly subsidized home and community care services in B.C., please see:
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What To Look For In An Assisted Living Community
Parkinsons is a movement disorder, so first and foremost you want to look at an assisted living facility that is easy to navigate, with wide corridors and a general layout that is easy to move around in, says Lehr. You also want to make sure it has a well-trained staff that has experience caring for people with Parkinsons and understands how to respond to subtle changes in routines, behaviors, and corresponding therapies.
According to Lehr, the biggest benefits of assisted living for someone with Parkinsons come from closely monitored and concentrated care and increased opportunities for movement and socialization.
Parkinsons disease is a very socially isolating and stigmatizing disease. Despite all our efforts, it continues to be so, says Lehr. People can fall into deep depression or withdraw from their social lives altogether. Assisted living can bring them out for activities, social engagement, and opportunities to exercise and move around.
Benefits Of Assisted Living
One of the most important benefits of assisted living for individuals with Parkinson’s disease is a safe environment. No more worrying about falls. You can have peace of mind knowing your loved one isn’t struggling with basic tasks, has healthy meals, and a clean home. The assisted living staff can ensure your loved one is taking their medications as prescribed and has transportation to medical appointments. Many facilities also have a visiting doctor and a nurse on staff.
But it’s not only the functional services that make assisted living communities helpful to those with Parkinson’s. It’s the emotional support and recreational opportunities that can enhance your loved one’s quality of life. The American Parkinson Disease Association recommends exercise to slow the impact of movement symptoms. Many assisted living communities have a regular calendar of exercise programs geared toward their elderly residents with mobility issues. In addition, because it can be physically difficult to complete everyday activities or even get up and move, many people with Parkinson’s disease deal with depression, anxiety and isolation. That’s why social engagement is so important. A regular recreational schedule of events that appeal to your loved one will raise their spirits.
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Find A Community With Experienced Staff
First and foremost, prospective residents or their caregivers should ask about the staffs experience and training with Parkinsons in particular.
An educated and trained staff is critical for Parkinsons, says Lehr. Loved ones should look for those who know about this disease and its various levels of progression. I would ask very specifically, What are the triggers you look for when you consider someone a viable candidate for this facility versus when you think this person should be in long term care? Thats going to tell you a lot about their depth of knowledge around Parkinsons.
Lehr also says the assisted living community should have a neurologist on staff and rehab specialists on site.
Faqs About Parkinsons Disease
1. How does a doctor diagnose Parkinsons?
There is no specific test for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. However in 2011, the FDA approved the DaTscan which takes pictures of the dopamine system in the brain. Doctors are able to use these results to increase their certainty of a Parkinsons diagnosis. The disease is currently diagnosed by a doctor completing a neurological examination and looking for two or more of the cardinal signs of Parkinsons which include muscle rigidity, slowed movement, and tremor.
2. Why does a person with Parkinsons drool?
Researchers and doctors are not completely sure what causes drooling in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Some theories suggest that drooling occurs due to:
- Difficulty swallowing excessive saliva in the mouth as it accumulates.
- Lack of dopamine which controls saliva production.
- The forward stooped posture and open mouth that is often characteristic of people with the disease.
3. My dad has Parkinsons and he gets emotional and cries so easily whenever we visit him. Ive never seen my dad cry before and it makes me uncomfortable. Should I be concerned that something is wrong or is this part of his Parkinsons?
4. Is incontinence caused by Parkinson’s disease?
Not all individuals with Parkinson’s disease are incontinent. However, for individuals who are incontinent, it is thought that this incontinence is due to impaired nerve cells impulses from the brain traveling to the bladder and/or bowel.
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Home Care May Not Be An Option In The Following Circumstances:
- Financial considerations do not permit it . Many people believe that Medicare will pay for in-home care, but there are strict eligibility requirements .
- Family limitations do not permit it
- Caregivers physical and emotional strength is depleted
- Patients condition requires skilled nursing care or round-the-clock attention
- Physical layout of the home is unsuitable
- Individual with PD prefers to live independent of family
Caring For Someone With Parkinsons Disease
Caring for someone with Parkinsons disease will change as the condition progresses.Your loved one is likely to cope well on their own during the early stages, and may only require transportation to doctors appointments, social engagements, and shopping trips. But their dependence will inevitably grow, and at some point, they may need your help with daily personal tasks, medication management, making financial decisions, and advocating with healthcare providers on their behalf.
Parkinsons disease places a significant burden on family caregivers, and they tend to suffer from higher rates of anxiety, depression, and sleep-related problems. These issues are even more common when Parkinsons disease causes a loved one to experience dementia, hallucinations, and other cognitive issues.
Caring for someone with Parkinsons disease can also result in social isolation, especially once the disorder reaches advanced stages. In some cases, caregivers reported that their increasing responsibilities led to tension with a spouse or partner. They were also more likely to report financial strain, especially if they reduced work hours or left their jobs entirely because of caregiving obligations.
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How Can Assisted Living Help
Assisted living communities provide 24-hour care, seven days a week, to all residents. These residents receive help with daily activities like bathing, dressing and medication management, and they also enjoy a variety of services and amenities that include nutritious meals, housekeeping, social activities and more.
Parkinsons Residential Care With Caring Staff
Is your loved one suffering from Parkinsons? Managing advanced Parkinsons disease can be a huge responsibility for a family member to undertake. Utilizing an assisted living facility, like Clarendon, can give your loved one the attention and care they need. This can allow you and your family to enjoy each others company with less physical, emotional or mental burden of dealing with such a difficult disease.
Just writing a few words of thanks for all the love and care Clarendon gave my Dad over the last two years. Although my Dad recently passed due to issues with dementia, I will always be grateful for their efforts. They have a great team, and were always very accessible with any of our concerns or worries. They truly treated my Dad like family, and I want to publicly thank them all for coming to my Dads celebration of life!
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The Importance Of Experienced Medical Staff
When researching options ask assisted living communities if their staff has specific experience with the disease and the progression. PD patients should be around experts who are familiar with the varying symptoms of the disease so that physicians can be aware of any subtle changes. Medication also needs to be evaluated and adjusted continuously to offset symptoms or progression.
Many patients are misdiagnosed with PD when they actually have Lewy body dementia. Because they both present similar symptoms, its very easy to do. An assisted living community that has memory care specialists and experts on hand can catch and monitor changing symptoms. It can be difficult for a caregiver to notice or a physician who only sees a patient a few times per year. Proper diagnosis is incredibly important because medication prescribed for PD can complicate and worsen Lewy body dementia.
Paying For Parkinsons Disease Care In Assisted Living
While actively searching for a suitable assisted living facility for a patient with Parkinsons disease, it is essential to make sure that you can afford it. It may not come cheap thus, one must have savings or other investments to pay out of pocket for the care without draining themselves financially. Senior citizens with Parkinsons and their families may end up paying about $4,500 or more a month for assisted living, depending on the retirement community.
Older adults who have limited financial resources can benefit from Medicaid to help with expenses for Parkinsons disease care. Even though this option typically does not cover costs in assisted living, many states provide financial aid to patients who cannot afford it. Eligibility, however, varies in different states. Contact the local department of social or human services to find out if you or a loved one qualifies. Keep in mind that some state programs will only cover specific costs and medical illness. Additionally, not all retirement communities accept Medicaid candidates and Medicare is usually not an option, as it does not take care of assisted living costs.
An alternative solution that may work out well for older adults with Parkinsons is to have long-term insurance. Parkinsons patients can use long-term care insurance to cover their senior living expenses in assisted living. Be sure to confirm coverage by carefully going through the contractual information and the fine print.
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Paying For Assisted Living
As you consider whether or not assisted living is a good option for your loved one living with Parkinsons, youre also probably considering how to pay for it. The good news is that assisted living can be much more affordable than nursing home care or long-term in-home care. If an assisted living community is right for you or your loved one, here are some creative ways to pay for it.
Financial Considerations With Parkinsons Disease
- Prescription medications
- Veterans benefits
- Other public programs
Medicare is the main source of health care coverage for most individuals 65 and older. Other common sources of payment include private pay, employer pension plans, and personal savings.
Regardless of the age of the individual with Parkinson’s disease, all healthcare plans meeting these needs should be kept active. It is sometimes possible to supplement an individuals Medicare coverage with Medigap insurance which covers certain gaps in Medicare coverage such as paying for co-insurance or other items.
A long-term care insurance policy usually needs to be in place before a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis occurs in order for long-term care to be covered for the disease. After a Parkinsons disease diagnosis, the policy should be reviewed to determine:
- Eligibility of the person diagnosed
- When the covered individual is able to start collecting benefits
- Date the daily benefit begins
- Whether the benefit is adjusted annually for inflation
- Length of time the benefits will be paid
- Whether there is a maximum lifetime payout
- Type of care covered by the policy
- Whether there is an elimination period before the coverage begins
- Any tax implications of the policy
In addition, Medicaid will pay for hospice care in most states.
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Its A Hard Decision But Were Here To Help
As a caregiver, what you give to your loved one is beyond measure. Your love, depth of care and concern can never be replaced. But one of the most important, and often the hardest, things to do as a caregiver is to take care of yourself. Letting go of some of the responsibilities of Parkinsons disease care will help you maintain your physical, mental and emotional health, and focus on the relationship you have with your loved one.
At Lake Seminole Square, we understand what youre going through. Weve helped many area seniors and families with the challenges of memory loss, and offer assisted living designed for those needing Parkinsons, Alzheimers or dementia care. Your loved one will be in good hands with us. Learn more by contacting us today.
Contracts Costs And Finance Questions
- Is a contract agreement available to include accommodations, personal care, health care, and support services? When may a contract be terminated and what is the refund policy? Are additional services available if the residents’ needs change?
- How do you pay for additional services that are needed on a temporary basis ?
- Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
- Are there any government, private, or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?
- What are the billing, payment, and credit policies?
- May a resident handle their own finances with staff assistance , or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so?
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Availability Of Staff To Help
Assisted living communities have dedicated staff available to help up to a certain point. The cost of assisted living is usually a base rate with tiers or care levels based on how much care your loved one requires.
If those needs exceed what the staff can provide, you may have to pay for additional outside help. For example, if your loved one needs help getting out of bed each morning and getting dressed, assisted living staff may not be available to assist with this.
You may also want to find out the requirement for moving to memory care from assisted living. Having that information can help you plan accordingly by intervening in any problems early on to delay memory care for as long as possible.
The Prevalence Of Parkinsons Disease
According to the nonprofit Parkinsons Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year, and nearly one million people will be living with Parkinsons disease in the U.S. by 2020.
If youre a caregiver for a loved one with Parkinsons or you suffer from the disorder yourself, this guide is designed to provide you with the key information you need to know if youre considering the transition to assisted living.
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Healthcare Power Of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney allows an individual to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on their behalf if they should become incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes.
This would include decisions about lifesaving measures such as resuscitation as well as administration of nutrition through an intravenous or feeding tube if the individual becomes unable to eat.
This document also gives the agent the ability to make decisions about providing care staff with do-not-resuscitate instructions for the person with Parkinsons disease as part of the persons end-of-life wishes.
It is important to note that a power of attorney for health care does not allow an agent to make decisions for an individual until they are no longer able to do so for themselves. Therefore, a person with Parkinsons disease remains in control of their healthcare decisions as long as they have the .
As noted above, all POA documents including the healthcare for power of attorney should be written as durable so these documents remain effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.