If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s likely that you are in the unfortunate scenario that you are unable to visit them due to the pandemic. Even those without nursing-home-bound family members have seen the heartbreaking photos of relatives at senior care facilities communicating through windows or even via signs on lawns.
Of course, there’s a very good reason for the distancing. It’s becoming increasingly clear that residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable in the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only are most residents over 65, but they often have additional risk factors such as asthma, COPD, or other health problems.
We all know that the quality of nursing homes varies, but even being in a high-quality home may offer no protection against the current pandemic. In an April 17th article The New York Times reported, “Some nursing homes with clusters have a history of safety violations, persistent staffing problems and limited amenities. Other hard-hit facilities have sterling health records, luxurious living arrangements and pricey rents.
The risk of nursing home residents contracting Covid-19 can be compounded by employees that serve many residents, enabling staff which may be infected (but don’t know they are), to spread the virus to dozens. At least one nursing home, Park Springs Life Plan Community in Stone Mountain, GA, has taken the radical step of asking their staff to voluntarily live at the facility, to avoid bringing the virus in from the community to residents.
It’s no wonder that more and more people who plan for future care needs are more motivated than ever to avoid nursing homes.
In fact, having the ability to more easily pay for care outside of a nursing home has long been a motivator to purchase long term care insurance. However, viewed through the lens of an easily-spread potentially-deadly virus, the desire to avoid nursing home confinement may be much more than simply a quality of life issue.
The reality is, whether or not you need to live in a nursing home may depend on the level of care that you need in the end. For example, nursing homes can provide a lot of skilled care easily. That care, provided by nurses, physical therapists, and other medical professionals, may be very expensive in-home, especially since Medicare only covers intermittent in-home skilled care. Luckily long term care insurance policy benefits can provide financing to make that kind of care at home possible. Policies with a care coordination benefit may make the management of such a team easier.
There may not be any easy answers. However, when it comes to care choices and the ability to control exactly where we live and who is our caretaker(s), it’s clear that long term care insurance can make a difference. For some, this difference may mean the ability to pay for assisted living, where the ability to social distance is greater than in a nursing home. For others, it’s the ability to stay at home, bringing in live-in or occasional caregivers as needed.
Let’s also not be unrealistic. The fact is this: whenever we rely on another human for caregiving, we assume the risk of catching the virus from them. (And they, us.) But that risk magnifies greatly under conditions found in most nursing homes such as sharing a bedroom with one or two others and having a multitude of caregivers that serve patients food, clean their rooms, and provide care.
It’s important not to lose sight of the bottom line: long term care insurance can help you stay out of a nursing home. For many, long term care insurance truly is stay-out-of-a-nursing-home insurance. And, in a pandemic situation, that can make all the difference in the world to you and your family.
Baygroup Insurance is working virtually and easily reachable by email or phone. Should you or anyone you know have questions about long term care planning and long term care insurance policies at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out. Baygroup Insurance can be reached at http://www.baygroupinsurance.com/forms/contact-us or call us at 410-557-7907 for more information.