Seventy nine people attended the Senior Living Symposium at Marco Lutheran on January 7th to learn about life choices from 19 presenters. The program was organized by parish Nurse Gail Cacciola. The emphasis was on making choices early. Keynote speaker Steve Edmonston, MA, a family consultant at Alzheimer’s Support Network, pointed out that people often wait too long to make life plans.
All presenters agreed. Everyone wants to stay at home for as long as possible but that takes planning. A person with a written preference plan and legal documents (will, living will, etc.) avoids many problems for his or her family during a crisis when time is short and options can be limited.
Consider adult day care which can prolong the life of both the patient and the caregiver. Consider skilled nursing home care which is covered insome of the senior communities.
Ten presenters were from various continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and assisted living communities. At a CCRC you buy into the facility. At an assisted living it is generally a monthly rental.
The costs can vary greatly. Some accept Medicare and later Medicaid. Others do not. Some have graduated programs which offer different levels of care as needed. Ask questions. Know all the options. Especially look into in house nursing home care.
Steve Edmonston suggests you visit the facility. You will be treated to lunch, but go beyond the sales force and amenities to be sure this is the right place for you. Talk to nurses, cleaning staff, activity director. Do they seem happy at their work? How long do employees stay? Are you comfortable with how the facility is run?
The Ombudsman Program (1-888-831-0404) can give youthe latest information on any facility as well as investigate complaints. They evaluate all of the 44 facilities in Collier and have reports on the state inspections.
Attorney Jeremiah J, Eliason suggests legal advice before signing any contract.
Avow Hospice noted that Medicare and Medicaid along with private insurance will pay for end of life care. Alzheimer’s Support Network provides support and services. SeniorBridge Care Management and Care Giving Services bring nursing and LPN services to the home for an hourly fee. Thrivent for Lutheran suggested financial advice and long term insurance.
Officer Paul Keys, Marco Island Police Department, (239 389 5050) can help with scam alerts, crime prevention and the File of Life folders which provide vital medical information to EMTs in an emergency.
Do research now and know what resources are out there and what the costs will be. Your family will thank you.