Long-Term Care Settings

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You have many options when it comes to long-term care (LTC) settings. You can receive care in your home or in an alternative living arrangement, which often provides LTC as part of its service package. These arrangements include retirement communities, assisted living, California Veterans Affairs (VA) homes and even shared housing. These housing alternatives require moving from your home into a congregate living arrangement in which care will be provided. Some of these arrangements provide all levels of care including care in your residence, assisted living and nursing home care. Others are more limited and may only offer one type of care, such as assisted living or nursing home care.

In Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provides home care for the blind, disabled and seniors who are eligible and cannot live safely at home alone. Services include domestic help, meal preparation and nonmedical personal care. People who are eligible for Medi-Cal or other state or federal cash-assistance programs may qualify for this program. For specific eligibility information, contact your county Department of Social Services (DSS) office.

Home Sharing

Home Sharing might postpone the need for LTC in an institution and could also be a financial benefit if you can find someone who will trade housing for some care or assistance in your home. Your local Heath Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) office may be able to refer you to other local resources. Contact your local Information and Referral (I&R) program for additional information on home sharing programs in your area.

Home Care & Care in the Community

Home Care & Care in the Community can be less expensive than institutional care when care is only required a few hours each day, but more expensive when full-time care is needed. Paid home care can be provided by licensed professionals or by home care aides. Community care can be provided in adult day care (ADC) centers or adult day health care (ADHC) centers. In many communities, you will find various case management and community-based services and programs designed to help older people stay at home. Contact your local I&R program online or call 1-800-510-2020 for additional information about these services in your community.

Retirement Living

Retirement Living can provide a variety of housing arrangements combined with LTC services. "Retirement home" is a generic term that can include a variety of living arrangements, from a single facility that provides some assisted living care to self-contained communities such as continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) or life care communities. Some of these living arrangements can require a large up-front payment and a monthly maintenance fee, while others are month-to-month rentals. Some allow you to purchase a home or condominium within the retirement community and include services that allow you to move from independent living through various levels of additional care within the community. Some may also include nursing home care within the community. If you require a move to a higher level of care, your monthly maintenance fee or rental fee may increase, and you may be required to move to another unit within the community.

Other living arrangements, such as assisted living facilities, may provide independent living with personal care services available at an extra cost as needed, or a package of services may be included in the monthly fee. An assisted living facility may or may not provide nursing home care in a separate but adjoining facility.

Fraternal Organizations & Faith-Based Groups

Fraternal organizations and faith-based groups may sponsor their own retirement homes or CCRCs, such as the Masons and Jewish Homes for the Aging. Members of these groups may find one of these homes to be a better option for receiving care in later life.

California Veterans Homes

California Veterans Homes can provide care for eligible veterans and their spouses. Veterans who need nursing home care may also be able to receive care through the federal VA system. Call 1-800-827-1000 or visit the Veterans Home of California online to find out if you are eligible to live in one of these homes. Numerous veterans groups — such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars — can help you access these benefits.

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Updated April 24, 2009

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