Long-Term Care: Choosing the Right Place (cont.)

Help in planning

Planning for long-term care is not easy. People's needs change over time. So do the rules about programs and benefits. What someone qualifies for may change from one year to the next. There is some help. The following resources are online. If you or your relative don't have a computer, there may be one at your local library or senior center.

Care Planner from Medicare is online at www.careplanner.org. It has details about different care options. You can answer questions online about needs and resources to get a list of suggested services, as well as helpful resources.

Medicare has two resources on its website, www.medicare.gov, which may be useful. First, Nursing Home Compare helps you learn more about nursing homes you may be interested in. They also have a Nursing Home Checklist with tips to use when visiting homes. Second, many states have State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIPS). These programs can help you choose the health care plan that is right for you and your family.

Making a smooth transition

Moving to a care facility can be a big change for the whole family. Some facilities or community groups have a social worker who can help you prepare for the change. Allow some time to adjust after the move has taken place.

Regular visits by family and friends can make this move easier. This reassures and comforts the person getting used to a new place. Visits are good, too, for keeping an eye on the care that is being given. They also help family to develop a good relationship with the staff caring for their loved one.

Other Resources

Other sources of information on long-term care and other issues of interest to older people include:

FirstGov for Seniors

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
2519 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Assisted Living Federation of America
11200 Waples Mill Road, Suite 150
Fairfax, VA 22030

Continuing Care Accreditation Commission
2519 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR)
PO Box 8250 Silver Spring, MD 20907-8250

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has free information on health and aging. Call or write:

NIA Information Center
PO Box 8057 Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
1-800-222-4225 (TTY)

Source: National Institute on Aging (www.nia.nih.gov)

Last Editorial Review: 3/23/2006