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Posted by Anderson Elder Law on 06/15/2022

Continuum of Care 101: Understanding aging stages

Continuum of Care 101: Understanding aging stages

Whether you are preparing for the future for yourself or a loved one, the Aging Continuum of Care is a foundational concept that can help you evaluate the situation and options.

Defining the Continuum of Care

The Continuum of Care is a generalized spectrum of the range of services a person may need as they age. It increases in intensity and assistance as needs progress. The Continuum of Care considers an individual’s current abilities, physical limitations, health concerns, available public benefits, cost of care and more. The path moves from independent living through home-care services, assisted living, and long-term care facilities, including many steps along the way.

When a loved one is on this path, a family is often faced with a tangled web of decision-making regarding care and finances. The painful reality is although medical advances enable people to live longer and fuller lives, the emotional and financial costs of finding optimal care can leave a family feeling lost.  

Options on the Continuum of Care

The Continuum of Care can help to determine the living situation best suited to each individual’s unique needs and desires. Depending on the individual’s financial resources, healthcare needs, ability to accomplish the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and eligibility for public or social resources, different living situations may provide the most advantageous situation. 

While there are many individualized living options, these generally include: independent living with or without home-based care, personal care homes, assisted living facilities, memory care centers, and skilled nursing care facilities. Some facilities are continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) that offer multiple levels of care in the same community, allowing an individual to enter at a certain point on the Continuum of Care and increase the amount of care in the future as necessary, all while staying in the same community. Continuing care retirement communities are also known as life plan communities. 

Help with the Continuum of Care

Some elder law attorneys, including Anderson Elder Law, are members of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association, a national association that works with health care providers, facilities, and geriatric care managers to provide integrated legal advice along the Continuum of Care. Its expertise includes choosing providers, understanding Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, and guiding a client through the various levels of care.

A qualified elder law attorney and their team can provide assistance with:

     • Finding resources to pay for nursing home care.

     • Paying for home health care.

     • Obtaining Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits.

     • Protecting a family’s home and other assets.

The work of a certified elder law attorney helps families navigate these and other problems they may encounter as they advance through the continuum of care. Elder Law attorneys can also demonstrate how a family can advocate for itself; ensure the best on-going care for a loved one; and protect the family home, funds and assets.

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