Long-Term and Senior Care FAQs

Baker Park FAQs
Sanford Bemidji Home Care and Hospice FAQs
Senior Behavioral Health Unit FAQs


What is long-term care?
What type of long-term care is available from Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota?
Who pays for long-term care?
Who should consider purchasing long-term care insurance?
What is the Minnesota Long Term Care Partnership?
How do I know it’s the right time to begin looking for long-term care services?

What options do I have if my loved one is in the hospital and needs extra care after the hospital stay?
What questions should I ask?
Where can I find out about long-term care services or benefits for veterans?
What is the Aging Services of Minnesota?
What happens when a resident runs out of money?
What is the Meals-on-Wheels program and how can I find out if there is a program in my area?
What is an Ombudsman?
How can I ensure that I make the right decision?

What is long-term care?
Long-term care is a generic term used to describe a variety of services which help meet both the medical and non-medical needs of people of any age who need help taking care of themselves.

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What type of long-term care is available from Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota?

Sanford Health offers a wide variety of services, which may grow to include activities and support that are unique to you and your elderly loved one's needs. Our senior and long-term care services include a variety of services - all tailored to meet your needs.

  • Baker Park Apartments (HUD subsidized apartment living)
  • Sanford Bemidji Home Care and Hospice
  • WoodsEdge Senior Living Campus
    • Neilson Place (skilled nursing home care)
    • Trillium (memory care)
    • WindSong (catered living apartments)

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Who pays for long-term care?
About half of all long-term care expense is paid by state Medicaid programs. About one-third is paid out of pocket by individuals and their families. Medicare only provides for some skilled care in some limited situations. Neither Medicare supplemental insurance nor major medical coverage provided by most companies pays for long-term care. This leaves approximately one sixth of the total cost to be covered by other government programs and private insurance.

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Who should consider purchasing long-term care insurance?
Anyone who is age 45 or older should consider long-term care insurance when planning his or her insurance needs. "Consider" does not necessarily mean "purchase." Depending upon a person's particular insurance budget, there may be other financial needs that deserve priority. Certainly, the purchase of long-term care insurance should never create a financial hardship.

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What is the Minnesota Long Term Care Partnership?
The Minnesota Long Term Care Partnership is a public/private arrangement between long-term care insurers and Minnesota’s Medical Assistance program. It enables Minnesota residents who purchase certain long-term care insurance to have more of their assets protected if they later need the state to help pay for their long-term care. Minnesota is using this approach to give persons greater control over how they finance their long-term care and to help shore up the public safety net against coming demographic pressures. Learn more by visiting the Minnesota Long Term Care Partnership website.
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How do I know it’s the right time to begin looking for long-term care services?
This can depend on a variety of factors. Your loved one may be unable to manage routine tasks and may be at great risk when they try. For personal reasons, you may not be able to provide a high level of care for this individual. If you feel overly stressed or physically unable to keep up with the demands for caregiving, you may want to seek advice from a doctor or other health professionals in your community.

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What options do I have if my loved one is in the hospital and needs extra care after the hospital stay?
Many families don’t realize that they have the right to choose a long-term care facility for a loved one in a hospital who needs to be transferred within days. Often the physician and discharge planner will suggest a specific care setting that has availability. But if you have a preference – such as a facility close to you or one that a family member or friend has recommended – you should contact that facility immediately and ask about availability.  In addition to this option, you could choose to bring your loved one home with homecare. Ask the hospital discharge planner for recommendations on home care providers.

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What questions should I ask?
When enlisting the services of a long-term or senior care provider, you will need to ask questions about cost; the services that the provider will offer on a regular basis; the expectations for how their services will help you and your family; and steps you can take to make sure the delivery of care remains consistent.

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Where can I find out about long-term care services or benefits for veterans?
The Veterans' Administration offers a Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit. This Special Pension allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing or taking care of the needs of nature to receive additional monetary benefits. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. It is not a benefit for a person needing housekeeping or respite or part time care. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies. There are stipulations.  For further information see Veteran’s Express, which is dedicated to assisting seniors and veterans interested in assisted living and receiving the benefits to help pay for their services and rent. You can also contact the VA directly at 800-827-1000.

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What is the Aging Services of Minnesota?
Aging Services of Minnesota is Minnesota's largest advocacy association of aging services organizations. They work with over 50,000 caregivers throughout the state of Minnesota and serve more than 100,000 seniors each year.

Aging Services is the state affiliate of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) and the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA).

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What happens when a resident runs out of money?
When private pay residents have used nearly all of their financial resources, they become eligible for Medicaid. When they reach Medicaid eligibility, residents can't be kicked out of a nursing home.

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What is the Meals-on-Wheels program and how can I find out if there is a program in my area?
The Meals on Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to people in need. This program provides one hot meal per day to seniors. The guiding principle to which it subscribes is to help those men and women who are elderly, homebound, disabled, frail, or at risk.

In Bemidji, Meals-on-Wheels is operated out of the Senior Citizen’s Center. You may contact them at 218-444-3987.

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What is an Ombudsman?
An Ombudsman is an advocate for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. Ombudsmen are dedicated to enhancing the lives of long-term care residents. They are trained to resolve problems. If you want, the ombudsman can assist you with complaints.

Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system. To find the ombudsman nearest you, contact your State Ombudsman office or contact The National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.

Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care
P.O. Box 64971
St. Paul, MN 55164-0971
(651) 431-2555
(800) 657-3591
Fax: (651) 431-7452

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How Can I Ensure That I Make the Right Decision?
Choosing the right long-term care takes a lot of research and legwork on your part. It’s imperative to compare facilities in terms of unit availability, services offered, cost, and overall philosophy of care. Before selecting a long-term facility, set up tours at places of interest, observe residents, and speak with staff.  Online resources like The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Nursing Home Compare website empower you to be proactive by providing you with detailed information about a nursing home before moving in your loved one.

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