Proper Dental Care not Available in Many Nursing Homes

A Dear Abby article submitted earlier this year by Nancy C. shed light on a serious, but relatively little-known issue: the general unavailability of proper dental care in assisted living facilities.

“My mother has Alzheimer’s. She has been in a nursing home for 10 years. I feel sorry for her because she can’t verbalize that her teeth are killing her, but I can see the pain in her face and hear her grind her teeth. When I asked her if her teeth hurt, she rubbed my arm up and down, which I took to mean yes. I asked for her to be seen by a doctor, but at this time we have to wait at least six weeks to see one.”

Read the Full Article: Dear Abby: Dental care in nursing homes can be difficult to arrange

Unfortunately, when planning for long-term care, people often overlook dental and eye care, since most nursing home facilities provide on-site medical attention. However, as the anyone who has ever suffered from a toothache or had to undergo a root canal knows, dental maladies can be just as painful and crippling as any other medical condition.

In the article, Nancy hypothesizes, and Abby confirms that dental care isn’t made more readily available to nursing home patients, primarily because working on the elderly or disabled can carry some added difficulty. Nancy writes, “As I understand it, not many dentists are willing to shoulder the extra challenge of caring for this “difficult” population, or the red tape of getting paid for the care of patients in nursing homes.”

There is a solution though. As Abby explains, there are dentists and dental hygienists who specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled and are able to mobilize their services to eliminate the added difficulty of these patients coming to the dentist’s office. Senior citizens and others with physical limitations who are planning for the future would be wise to research the availability and cost of these services before selecting a nursing home or assisted living facility.

At Shillinger Law, our comprehensive estate planning strategy ensures that our clients are fully prepared for the future and avoid painful issues like those discussed above. We understand there is more to retirement than a healthy 401k and that the practice of law is about serving people and solving problems.

If you’re starting to think about long-term health care options, feel free to give us a call. We’d love to help you plan for the road ahead.

  • 5 Jun, 2015
  • Löan Shillinger

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