Pandemics are stressful for everyone, but it’s even more frightening if you have elderly loved ones who are at a greater risk of developing serious complications. As a caregiver, you will probably have to add COVID-19 to your list of things to consider when choosing long-term care options for your loved one. If you’re weighing long-term care decisions during a health crisis such as COVID-19, keep reading to learn more about minimizing risks for your loved one and making the best financial decisions together.

What Are the Best Long-Term Care Options for Seniors?

Elderly people have more options than ever for long-term care. Some of these include nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). Many seniors also age in place with the help of home care services or family caregivers who provide daily assistance.

In the face of a health crisis like COVID-19, you may feel more comfortable having your elderly loved one age in place or move into your home where their exposure to infections might be reduced.

Families who want a senior loved one to move into their home will need to ask themselves the right questions to determine if it’s truly the best choice for everyone involved. Sometimes, this option is only feasible if there is a spare bedroom or another living area for the parent or relative to have their own space. If a family has the space and budget for it, building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is an increasingly popular option.

Options for Financing Long-Term Care

Whether your elderly loved one plans on moving into a senior living community or your family home, there are a lot of costs to consider with long-term care. According to Fidelity, the median monthly cost of a private room in a nursing home was over $8,500 in 2019. Yet there are still high costs associated with health aides and other in-home medical care. Fidelity reported that in 2019, home health aide services were about $4,385 per month on average.

Any way you slice it, long-term care is expensive. This is especially true if a health crisis like COVID-19 has put a strain on your finances. Even if your loved one doesn’t need long-term care quite yet, you will want to have a plan for covering expenses.

Long-term care insurance is one option for helping out with costs. The National Institute on Aging explains that government programs like Medicare and Medicaid may help cover expenses as well.

Another option is to put your loved one’s home up for sale. Before doing so, check the market trends to see what type of profit and turnaround time you can expect. It’s also important to make note of the many ways that the coronavirus has altered the landscape of real estate. If you plan on selling real estate to cover costs, keep in mind that global issues can affect everything — including local housing markets. Selling a home during a pandemic comes with unique challenges, but working with a realtor is a good way to navigate the issue.

How to Keep Loved Ones Safe and Healthy in Long-Term Care

A health situation such as COVID-19 can disrupt your loved one’s long-term care plans, no matter what they are. Even if the threat of infection is minimized by the time your loved one moves into a long-term care facility, the situation still highlights the importance of getting to know your family member’s care team.

The CDC recommends that family members ask facility directors a number of questions about how they handle antibiotic stewardship in the event of outbreaks. Knowing how a facility addresses big issues like this can help you feel more comfortable about your loved one’s safety. If you are still deciding between facilities, this insight can even be a deciding factor for selecting the best place for your loved one to live.

As a caregiver, situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic raise a lot of new questions. By learning about different housing options, exploring ways to finance long-term care, and asking the right questions, these difficult choices become easier to navigate.

June Duncan

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