What’s Right for Mom? Use Proper Terminology To Begin Conversation

A major barrier to having a conversation with your aging parents regarding long-term care options is often simple vocabulary. 

Word choice matters. You can’t blame a healthy and mobile 78-year-old for getting offended if they hear you want them to live in a ‘nursing home’ or ‘old folks’ home.

These terms have been used for years by consumers as a catch-all to reflect the senior living industry.

Argentum, the nation’s largest senior living industry association, has been advocating for a change in the terminology used to discuss senior care options and the senior living industry at large. 

This is particularly necessary to accommodate the needs of aging baby boomers who are still healthy and independent. For aging boomers, making the transition from an independent living situation at home to a senior living community can be rough for all concerned. 

Using the proper terminology may help you get one step closer to having the difficult conversation. In preparation for the conversation, it often comes down to the level of care required for your aging senior. 

Do they need around the clock care or just someone to keep basic tabs on them? What follows is an explanation of assisted living versus nursing homes to help you have a more productive conversation with your aging parents.

What is an assisted living community?

An assisted living community is a licensed residential care facility that provides personal care services while promoting independent living. 

Families can rest assured that residents will have staff assistance available to them 24 hours a day.  

The focus of assisted living is to provide personal care services to residents who need help with daily activities. 

Assistance with dressing, grooming, mobility and management of medications is often provided.

Also, assisted living communities have social and recreational programs to encourage residents to stay active, both physically and emotionally. 

Assisted living communities often provide a standard set of amenities such as meals, laundry and housekeeping, social events and an emergency monitoring and alert system.

Assisted living communities are designed to smooth the transition from living independently at home to a residence that feels more like an apartment. The added benefit is that it’s closely monitored. Should anything happen, care is just minutes away.

What is a nursing home?

A nursing home is a licensed health care organization with a medical director to work with residents’ personal physicians to collaborate and oversee their health care issues. Nursing home residents still have amenities to make them feel like they’re living in a comfortable environment, yet with a proactive care program.

The services a nursing home often provides include:

 • Physical, occupational and speech therapies.

• Podiatry care.

• Laboratory, X-ray and pharmaceutical services.

• Vision and audiology care.

• Psychological services.

• Dental care.

Is there a difference in payment models?

After you decide what level of care is right for your loved one, the most common question is, how do I pay? In most cases, assisted living communities are private pay.   

Some assisted living communities participate in the assisted living Medicaid Waiver program. This program, coordinated by your local Area Agency on Aging, can help pay for assisted living care for those who may not be safe at home, can’t afford to pay for assisted living care, and do not need nursing home care.  

Medicare and Medicaid are the more common pay types for nursing homes. Nursing homes may also be contracted with various insurance plans. 

You should know that with Medicare and insurances, there may be co-pays involved.

It’s never an easy process, but it’s better to be prepared and have a basic understanding of the various levels of care when it comes to long-term care.  

The team at Windsor House hopes this information is helpful as you research options for your parent’s long-term care plan. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 330 545 1550 or visit WindsorHouseInc.com.

Windsor House Inc. is a family owned and operated health care provider that has been serving residents of the Mahoning Valley for 60 years. The company owns and operates twelve nursing homes and five assisted living communities in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit WindsorHouseInc.com, or follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

The Scoop on Senior Living is sponsored editorial content produced by Windsor House.

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