When To Start Looking For Long Term Care & Similar FAQs

June 4, 2021

The U.S. is seeing unprecedented growth in its senior population as Baby Boomers age – and this trend didn’t stop during the pandemic. 

Thankfully, long term care communities are rebounding and reopening to the public. With vaccine confidence improving due to efforts like the #GetVaccinated campaign, COVID cases are at record lows and long term care facilities are accepting visitors and resuming stimulating activities for residents again.

These long-anticipated signs of recovery offer hope to families, friends and partners looking into care options for their own loved ones. Below, we’ve outlined frequently asked questions for families seeking information about long term care options now that communities are opening back up:

When should I start looking at long term care options for my loved one?

Every family is different. If you are currently acting as a caregiver for your loved one and feeling overwhelmed, your loved one’s medical needs may be more than you can provide. Other times, your loved one may have a sudden incident, like a fall, and they need rehabilitation before they can return home. In either situation, don’t wait until it’s an emergency.

The National Institute of Health recommends talking to other family members about the decision and exploring options in your area. Use our Care Finder to locate local long term care communities and follow these six steps to plan for a transition into long term care.

Why should I look at long term care vs. other types of care (i.e. in-home caregiving?)

Care at-home or in a long term care facility is not always an either/or situation. It can be a step process. If your loved one can receive the care they need at-home, that is great. But if they begin to need more supervision and clinical care, you may want to explore a long term care facility. These settings have staff available round-the-clock. 

Long term care facilities can also offer enriching activities and social interactions with other residents and members of the community.

Are there long term care options for younger people?

Yes! Long term care facilities serve a variety of patients in a variety of age ranges, not only seniors – including those in need of rehabilitation after a hospital stay. Some long term communities serve individuals with specific needs, such as those who need physical, occupational or speech therapy, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

What are the different types of long term care?

There are different kinds of long term care options that can help meet your loved one’s unique needs. The common types of long term care are: 

  • Independent Living Communities: These communities are designed exclusively for older adults who can live on their own. These communities usually include an apartment or condominium-style complex with amenities like fitness centers, swimming pools, daily meals, and basic housekeeping. 
  • Assisted Living Communities: Residents have increased supervision in a home-like setting. Assisted living communities provide health care and assisted living services (like assistance bathing, cleaning and eating) in addition to social and recreational activities.
  • Nursing Homes: These skilled nursing centers provide care for individuals who need constant care, including rehabilitation or complex medical needs. Nursing homes provide meals, more intense medical care, supervision and activities for residents.
  • Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities: These facilities provide ongoing evaluation, planning, 24-hour supervision, coordination and integration of health or rehabilitative services to help each individual with a disability function at their greatest ability in a protected residential setting.

Talking with your loved one’s doctor, visiting communities and conducting your own research can help identify which option works best for your situation.

Got a question? Submit it in the chatbox and we’ll answer it in our next FAQ blog post!