Most of us would rather do anything other than look for a nursing home, but there will probably come a time in your life where you or a loved one needs to spend some time in a nursing home. When you do start looking at nursing homes, you want to make sure you do your research and find the best possible facility in your area.
Where should you start? Luckily, Chicago has dozens of facilities that can meet the needs of any individual like the Harmony Nursing & Rehabilitation on Foster Avenue that offers not only rooms but individual studio apartments and Alzheimer’s care. They are also renovating their facility in 2016. Places like Mid America Care Center on Kenmore Avenue also offer a wide variety of medical care from hospice to physical or occupational therapy and even podiatrists and dentists on-site.
What else is important to look for in a nursing home? This guide will help you narrow down your selection to what will fit your needs and budget.
There are more than 100 skilled nursing facilities in the Chicagoland area
At least 6.5% of adults 65 and older need some kind of help with personal care
About 55% of the nursing homes in Illinois have about 75-99 rooms or units available
84.9% of the population 65 and older is currently staying at a nursing home
On average, most people will stay about three years in a skilled nursing facility. Women typically tend to live longer than men, so women may need to stay in a nursing home for a little longer. However, overall the length of a stay is entirely dependent on the type of care you or your loved one needs. It could be as little as a few weeks or as long as five to six years.
While many people think that you only go to a nursing facility towards the end of your life, that isn’t always the case. Many older adults stay in a nursing facility for a few weeks after a major surgery to make sure they get the care they need to heal before they go back home. If a senior has just had a stroke, they might also stay at a nursing facility to complete their therapy and receive medical care until they are cleared to go back home.
There is also the option of respite care at a nursing facility. This type of care is for people who have chronic conditions that need to be constantly monitored, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, but normally get care at home from family or other caregivers. Respite allows the normal caregiver to have a break or go on vacation while their patient or family member still gets the care that they need.
A nursing home is equipped to handle all different kinds of medical needs as well as personal needs. Typically, nursing facilities are a step above the kind of care that you might find at an assisted living facility or independent living community. You will still get help with your daily tasks like bathing, grooming, and getting dressed but there are also more advanced care options.
You can get wound care as well as physical therapy especially if you’ve just had surgery. Stroke patients can get help with speech therapy and work on simple things like strengthening weak muscles, learning to walk, and swallow again. There are also special care programs and even dedicated facilities that focus only on Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Meals at nursing homes are also made specifically for each patient to meet their nutrition needs and make sure they are getting the proper diet for their condition. If you’re able to leave your room and are relatively mobile, most places have a central dining location where you can eat with other residents and socialize while you eat your meals.
Since nursing homes are not just hospitals but places where people live, there is also a focus on the social and spiritual aspect of each resident’s life. Some places might offer a variety of different worship services and there will also be different kinds of social activities that you can participate in. This could include arts and crafts, group classes, live entertainment, or theme days like game night or movie night. You can even find facilities that have beauty salons on site to help each resident feel and look their best.
The state of Illinois has an average yearly cost of $64,788 for a semi-private room and $74,460 for private rooms. The way this breaks down in Chicago is $225 per day for a semi-private room and about $253 per day for a private room. Now keep in mind this is just the average rate per day and you can find facilities that cost both more and less than these rates. Also, the Chicago area rates include the cities of Elgin and Naperville.
Many facilities will also have rates for those that use Medicaid, but you need to check to see if the facility is approved for Medicaid. You can also find some non-profit nursing homes that can offer a lower rate based on your budget or income. Talk with the director at each facility to explore all payment options.
You want to make sure you find a facility that meets not only your budget needs but your medical and personal needs. Each facility you look at should be properly licensed and handle any complaints swiftly and to the best of their ability. You might want to get the help of friends, family, or find a senior care advisor to help guide you through the process.
The best way to find out if the nursing home you choose is right for you is to visit the facility. That way you can see what the facility looks like, talk with staff, and gain perspective from residents to see if it meets your own standards. It is important that you feel comfortable in your new home. You can find more information to help with your search on the City of Chicago’s Senior Services website.
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