There are several types of housing available to older and frail people in Massachusetts. Sometimes the different names can be confusing. I have outlined below three of the most common types.
Nursing Home: A nursing home is licensed by the Department of Public Health. It provides 24 hour care for people – either those receiving long term care or people who are rehabilitating from a hospital stay. If you fell and broke your hip, after your stay at the hospital you may be admitted to a nursing home for physical therapy before returning home. Nursing homes also provide care for people with physical or neurological disabilities. They provide nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and assistance with personal care such as bathing, dressing and eating. Nursing homes also have activity programs and social services. They are sometimes called skilled nursing facilities. Nursing homes can be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, long term care insurance or privately by the patient depending on the circumstances.
Rest Home: A rest home is also licensed by the DPH and provides 24 hour supervision to people who need some assistance but do not require nursing or medical care. A rest home provides housing, meals, activities and medical management but would not routinely provide help with personal care. A stay at a rest home may be paid for by the resident, or in come cases through the SSI program. The Veterans Administration may also provide payment in some cases.
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities provide housing with a combination of personal care and household assistance. The facility may charge an additional fee if the resident would like more help with things. The majority of assisted living is paid for privately by the resident, although some long term care insurance policies may provide coverage as well. An assisted living facility tends to look more like an apartment building than a medical facility, and is not staff by medical personal 24 hours a day. There may be a nurse on duty during the day, with nursing assistants on staff at night. The majority of assisted living is paid for privately by the resident, although some long term care insurance policies may provide coverage as well.
The type of housing that is right for a person depends on their medical needs and their finances. You should always try to visit a facility before making the choice and ask questions about their services, fees and payment policies.