Most people do realize that they will live longer than their ancestors, but do not realize the range or the quality of services that are available for long-term care.
"We spend more time doing research about a car we want to buy than we do when selecting a nursing home or assisted living facility," said Catherine Hawes, Ph.D., professor in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and nationally recognized expert in long-term care and nursing home quality. She was of the opinion that most people do not plan ahead for their future health needs and take decisions on the spot, which could prove to be critical in the long run. "That leaves consumers one day to find a facility for a relative, and availability rather than quality may be the deciding factor," Dr. Hawes said. "Families should recognize changes in a loved one's ability to live independently, discuss how to handle these challenges, and investigate the range of services and providers in the community." In such a situation, the local Area Agency on Aging can prove to be a boon and assist consumers to match their needs with available community-based and residential services. It also houses the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, which can help choose a residential or assisted living facility.
For more information, please visit
http://facilityquality.dhs.state.tx.us or at (800) 458-9858 to contact the consumer information hotline.