One of the facts that I stress to my clients is that skilled nursing is not one-to-one care. Other facts that a lot of my clients don’t take into account are how the costs of a 24 hour caregiver (which can start at $200 per day if they agency is licensed) are going to affect their loved ones’ long term financial picture. This usually occurs when the child is in a rush and s/he doesn’t have the time to research all of the options. Or, the child feels guilty about the stigma associated with placement in a long-term care community. Everyone’s circumstances are different. As a Certified Care Manager, I assist my clients with looking at all of the options, including staying at home. But, you have to keep the senior’s long term financial picture in mind. If a senior can afford to stay at home, that is the best place for him/her if their medical conditions don’t require the presence of a nurse and if the socialization with the caregiver is adequate. People hire me for my senior living advisor services once they have already hired the full-time caregiver and discover after a period of time that the loved one is running out of money.
Last November, a family hired me because their Mother had three, unlicensed caregivers who were taking care of her in shifts for the past ten years. The son told me she had easily spent over one million dollars on caregivers. When he and his siblings realized that she was going to run out of liquid cash in the next year, they hired me to find a nursing home for her.
When I arrived at her home, the place was spotless. My client was impeccably clean and every single hair on her head was in place. She was sitting in a cheerful kitchen where the caregiver had fed her breakfast. Although my client was a total assist with all activities of daily living including toileting, and had latter stage dementia, I saw her smile and try to respond to the caregiver’s kind tone of voice. It was obvious that my client had received excellent care. That observation was verified by her son, who informed me that he often stopped in on all three ladies unannounced.
As I drove away, I thought about how this individual (and all of my clients for that matter) might fair in a nursing home without a one on one caregiver’s touch, the familiar sounds of her voice, and the luxury of being cleaned when necessary. I already knew which nursing homes I would recommend to them, based upon better than average staffing
While I understand this individual had private caregivers for an extended period of time, that is usually not the case with most of my clients. The norm is they hire a private caregiver for a year or less, realize the loved one is running out of money, and hire me to find appropriate placement. If that is your loved one’s situation, you may want to consider placement first and spare your loved one the adjustment to losing the one on one care.