Quality Senior Care: AARP Quality Checklist Includes Caregiverlist

AARP Magazine’s June/July issue includes an informative news story about the process of deciding when it is time for a senior to leave their home. The American Association of Retired People (AARP) magazine article includes “The Next Move: A Starter Kit”, highlighting Caregiverlist.com as a resource to use when checking for quality of senior care.  Senior care involves considering both the emotional and financial needs of the senior. Both sides of this coin are equally as important for seniors and their family members. AARP reports that people fare better when they live near what’s dear to them – friends, family and congregation.
Caregiverlist’s online tools, created by senior care industry professionals, make it possible to understand and evaluate the quality factors to consider when choosing senior caregiving services, nursing homes and assisted living communities.

Caregiverlist’s Nursing Home Directory enhances the data available from Medicare by applying the right labels on each nursing home and providing the daily costs of 18,000+ nursing homes nationwide.

Some nursing homes, for instance, only serve certain types of seniors or those with disabilities and some are divisions of a hospital and only accept hospital patients being transferred. Caregiverlist provides labels for nursing homes to make it easy to know if it can be a fit for a senior:

  • Hospitals
  • CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)
  • Veteran's Home (Only Accepts Veterans)
  • Special (Only for Nuns, Seniors w/Hearing Loss, etc.)
  • Medicare:  Accepts as Payment
  • Medicaid:  Accepts as Payment

“Medicare will pay for short-term nursing home stays only,” says Caregiverlist.com CEO Julie Northcutt. As the former owner of a senior home care agency, she found that many seniors and their families do not realize this fact until a medical emergency happens.

“I have spent hours on the phone explaining to a senior’s family members what Medicare does and does not cover,” says Northcutt. As nursing homes have become an extension of a hospital stay, seniors many times are quickly discharged from a hospital to a nursing home. This is when panic sets in and a senior and their family wants to learn the specifics about which nursing home they will be transferred to when leaving the hospital.

“It is important to review the nursing home ratings and costs near you, before you will need one”, says Northcutt. “Remember that nursing homes are a rehabilitation center for seniors after a hip replacement, stroke or major surgery. Medicare will pay for the short-term as long as a medical doctor preapproves the need.”

Caregiverlist also allows users to compare nursing home costs and ratings from one state to another which is useful when it becomes necessary for a senior to relocate to be near a family member.

When evaluating senior care choices, the following options should be considered:

  • Senior Home Care Agency (provides one-on-one caregiver)
  • Nursing Home care (short-term care for rehab and long-term care for chronic needs)
  • Assisted Living
  • Hospice Care (at home or in hospice facility)

Medicare does provide Hospice care services when a senior has been diagnosed to have a terminal condition with less than 2 years to live. Seniors should also understand Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

  •  Medicare pays for only short-term nursing home stays and for short-term skilled home health visits when one of the following skilled certifications or licenses are required: Registered Nurse, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Certified Nursing Aide. A senior must demonstrate they are rehabilitating from a major medical condition to qualify for skilled home health care.
  •   Medicaid is for very low-income seniors and will pay for an ongoing stay in a Medicaid-approved nursing home. Caregiverlist provides the “by-state” Medicaid financial qualifications.

The recent recession has resulted in lower tax revenues for state governments and some states have recently changed their financial qualifications for qualifying for Medicaid. However, the spousal anti-poverty law does allow married couples to allow one spouse to “spend-down” assets to qualify for Medicaid care while the other spouse maintains some savings and home and car ownership. This can be necessary, for example, if one spouse has Alzheimer’s disease and requires around-the-clock care which can cost $80,000 per year.

“Remember, former President Ronald Reagan had full time caregiving services for a decade,” says Northcutt.  This is why it is important to research senior care services ahead of time and evaluate quality standards to allow family members to be prepared. Caregiverlist’s nursing home directory shows the highest and lowest daily cost of a nursing home in each state along with the average nursing home daily rate.

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