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Skilled nursing care

Posted September 18, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Ankeny, Pleasant Hill

We talked last month about assisted living and how this option can be a great fit for those needing assistance, but yet maintaining a degree of independence. This lifestyle can be an ideal solution for many seniors.

There may be a point in time when a person may require more care than can be provided in an assisted living setting. At that time, skilled nursing care is available to meet the needs of the individual.

Skilled nursing care is also utilized to help a person rehabilitate after a surgery, stroke or illness. Usually speech, physical and occupational therapy are available to help the person get stronger, with the goal of having the patient return home if possible. Many times you’ll see this service referred to as “rehab.” Typically, when a person goes to skilled care, he or she isn’t sick enough to be in the hospital, but isn’t physically able to go home. If a person on Medicare has a qualifying stay in a hospital, typically the costs, or a portion of it, will be covered under Medicare.

If the person isn’t able to live safely at home or in assisted living any longer, long term care in a skilled nursing setting can provide the help and assistance her or she requires. This type of setting used to be called a nursing home; now many times you’ll hear it referred to as a health center. While many perceive these settings as cold and institutional, if you have been in one of the many beautiful skilled nursing settings in the area, you may have thought you were in a luxury hotel. The amenities and home-like touches soon dispel the “nursing home” mental visions we might have. Social activities focus on the abilities and interests of the resident, so they are able to socialize and enjoy themselves. The costs for this care can be paid for privately, with long-term care insurance, or by Medicaid if that is accepted by the campus.

Independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care on one campus forms a CCRC — or a continuing care retirement community.

Next month we will talk about why a CCRC may be a benefit to you as you explore retirement options.

Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.

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