Is a nursing home the only option for long-term care?
If you or a loved one needs long-term care, other choices besides nursing home care may be available. Here are some of the other options.
Most people would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Depending on your needs, you may only need help with some common daily living activities such as laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. First, talk to your family to see if they can help with your needs. There are probably home health-care agencies that can assist you with some of these chores.
Accessory dwelling units
If you or a loved one owns a single-family home, adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to that home may help you keep your independence while getting some help with your daily activities. An ADU, or "in-law apartment," usually provides a separate living space with a sleeping area, a place to cook, and a bathroom. Check with your local zoning office to be sure ADUs are allowed in your area. Also, the cost of adding an ADU can vary widely, depending on the size of the unit and the cost for materials and labor.
Subsidized senior housing
There are federal and state programs that help pay for housing for some older people with low to moderate incomes. Some of these housing programs also offer help with meals and other activities like housekeeping, shopping, and laundry. Residents usually live in their own apartments in the complex. Rent payments are usually a percentage of your income.
These facilities generally provide more services than offered in subsidized senior housing. You may receive help with bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, taking your medications, and getting to appointments. Residents often live in an apartment and may share meals in a common dining room. Social and recreational activities are usually provided. Some of these facilities have health services on site.
A nursing home may not be your only choice. Discharge planners and social workers in hospitals and home health agencies can explain your options and help arrange your care.