Not many of us think about nursing homes or imagine living there one day, but the reality is that many seniors will have to stay at a nursing home at some point in their life. Luckily, Austin has plenty of facilities to choose from, and they all offer a broad range of services. Silverado Onion Creek provides Alzheimer’s patients and seniors with dementia the specialized care they need while Brookdale Westlake Hills has a full continuum of care to help seniors age in place. You can even find both independent living styles and full nursing care at places like Brookdale Spicewood Springs. There are many more facilities that can help with things like rehabilitation, therapy, or disease-specific care, so all you need is to find one that fits your needs.
You can learn more about Austin’s nursing homes, including costs and services, with this guide.
In 2014, there were 15,600 nursing homes in the United States.
Texas has over 1,200 skilled nursing homes that are Medicare and Medicaid certified.
Austin has about 26 certified nursing homes.
In 2014, Texas nursing homes had an average 71.2% of their beds filled in certified facilities.
60% of nursing homes in Texas are owned by a non-profit organization.
About 2.6% of the population 65 and older in Texas lived in a nursing home in 2014.
Most seniors will spend an average of 3 years in a nursing home. Since women tend to live a little longer than men, their averages stays can be closer to 5 years than 3. Each patient is different and their situation and condition can greatly affect how long they stay in a nursing facility. There are some seniors who stay for a few weeks while others will stay for a few years.
While most people picture nursing homes as the final dwelling place of most seniors, there are other reasons for patients to come to a nursing home. Yes, many seniors stay at a skilled nursing facility because of age-related issues like chronic illnesses or debilitating diseases but those aren’t the only residents. Nursing homes can serve as a transitional phase for older adults who are going from the hospital to their home. If a senior has broken their hip, but doesn’t have any other issues, they might leave the hospital and get therapy at a nursing home before returning to their house.
There are also facilities that offer respite care for senior patients with conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many family caregivers care for their elderly loved ones 24/7 and that can be draining. To avoid caregiver burnout, respite care is available to help give family members a break. Respite care in a nursing facility is a great option if you need someone to care for your relative while you’re on vacation or gone for a longer time. This also gives you and your loved one a chance to see how each facility works if you end up needing long-term care in the future.
Nursing homes can provide a variety of services and meet the individual needs of most seniors in their care. These facilities are often a step down from hospitals but a little above assisted living arrangements. They can take care of personal assistance tasks like getting up and out of bed, bathing, getting dressed, or getting in and out of a wheelchair, but they will also take care of medical needs too. This might include wound care, managing a chronic condition like diabetes, keeping up with medication schedules as well as making sure patients get to therapy if needed. In some places, you can also get special care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Nursing homes will also often offer different therapies onsite for patients that are recovering from surgery, a long illness, or a chronic condition. This might include speech therapy for stroke victims, physical therapy for a senior with a broken leg or arm, or occupational therapy for patients that want to improve on daily tasks. Hospice care is another service that nursing homes provide and can help seniors that are nearing the end of their life. They will have access to a care team that includes their primary doctor as well as nurses, therapists, social workers, and any other caregiver that can ease stress during this time.
Meals at nursing facilities are usually tailored to everyone’s needs so each resident gets the proper nutrition to help them heal or function in daily life. Some locations might have a nutritionist on hand to help plan meals for their patients and meals are often served in a community dining room. This gives residents a chance to socialize with others or even have family members join them for a meal. If necessary, residents can also have the option to eat in their room.
Since nursing homes are long-term care options for many seniors, there are social and spiritual events to help keep residents active. There might be a movie or game nights, regular arts and crafts, and worship services for a variety of religions. If possible, some seniors might also get to leave and take field trips around the city to get out of the nursing home for a little while.
Other services nursing facilities might offer include salon or barbershop service to help residents look their best. There are even a few places that have nail services.
In 2016, the Genworth Cost of Living Survey estimated that the annual cost for a semi-private room in Austin was $60,225 and a private room was $84,315. That breaks down to a monthly cost of $5,019 for a semi-private room and $7,026 for a private room. Compared to the state average of $54,020 per year and $71,175 per year, Austin’s rates are a little higher but they are completely priced to other major cities like Dallas and Fort Worth.
Rates in Austin will vary based on the location and size of each facility, so there is a good range of low and high costs. Your average cost can also change based on the care and services you need. Most Medicaid certified homes will have their own rate for Medicaid patients using their services. Non-profit homes might also be able to offer low-income seniors that don’t qualify for Medicaid a lower rate based on their income and assets.
Whether you have a long time to research and find a nursing home or need one fast, there are a few things you should consider. You want a facility that is properly licensed and has a good history of responding to and resolving complaints. It should be clean, have plenty of staff, and answer all your questions with straightforward responses. If you have a limited amount of time to find a place, consider using a senior advisor or other family members to research facilities and always try to visit before so you get a feel for each location.
You can also call the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and they can help you form a list of questions to ask at each nursing home.
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