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Alternative Forms of Elder Care

If you or a loved one have a medical conditions that necessitate long-term care and would prefer to live in a setting that closely resembles a real home, you might consider the Green House Project. The Green House Project operates a number of homes in many states that are alternatives to living in a nursing home. The Green House Project was developed by Dr. William H. Thomas in 2003 to personalize elder care by redesigning the nursing home model to give residents more privacy and control over their lives. The project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and by 2011 had created 99 Green House Project homes in 27 states.

If you choose a Green House project home, you will have your own private room and bathroom. You will also have access to a living room, a kitchen, and an open dining area. Green House Project homes are different from nursing homes in that they do not have strict schedules and you will be encouraged to interact openly with staff and other residents. If you choose a home in a Green House Project, you will live in a small community atmosphere with approximately 10-12 other residents. The Green House Project is unique because it can offer you autonomy and purposeful living. In addition, Green House Project homes are widely recognized as offering senior citizens a living arrangement where they have very high levels of direct care and a great deal of staff involvement.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities
A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offers senior citizens a housing arrangement where they can receive care for the rest of their lives. If you are relatively independent, you may first choose to move into the independent living section of a CCRC. If you get older and need more help with daily activities, a CCRC can offer you the option of switching your living arrangement to the assisted living unit or the nursing facility as your needs change. A CCRC usually offers different housing types, from apartments and townhouses to individual homes. Some CCRC’s combine garden apartments with high-rise nursing homes. A CCRC can offer you many benefits including recreational and social activities and nursing home care at a fixed or below-market rate. If you think a CCRC may be the best option for you, you should be prepared to pay an admission fee and a monthly occupancy fee. One of the main benefits to you of living in a CCRC is that the monthly fee that you pay does not usually rise, or will rise only by a modest amount. Even if declining health forces you to move from an independent living unit to the assisted care and later the nursing facility, the costs will not generally rise that much. The admission fee that you will pay upon moving into a CCRC can later be used to pay for the higher costs you may incur if you need to move to the assisted living unit or the facility’s nursing home. A CCRC can offer you the assurance that you can later pay for assisted living costs or nursing home costs while remaining in a familiar facility that provides you with quality care.

Assisted Living Facilities
An assisted living facility might be best for you or a loved one if you need some assistance with daily living activities but do not need the extra degree of health care provided by a nursing home. While a nursing home is best for those who need 24-hour medical care because of chronic medical conditions, you might consider an assisted living facility if you want to live independently and occasionally need help with things like bathing and managing your medications.

Most assisted living facilities have from 60-70 residents and many have intensive Alzheimer’s care units. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, an assisted living facility is a combination of services and health care designed to help elderly people with daily living activities and which do not generally provide the level of skilled medical care that nursing homes provide. Payment for most assisted living facilities is usually done through a private pay arrangement. If you have long-term care insurance, it is likely that your policy has been written to pay for care in an assisted living facility. In general, if you have two or more deficits in activities of daily living, your long-term care insurance will cover the costs of an assisted living facility. If you suffer from a condition such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia, your long-term care insurance will cover the costs of an assisting living facility because these are severe cognitive impairments.

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