Researching care facilities online isnt as easy as you might expect. Each Assisted Living Facility decides what level of care they will offer. They are all different and offer a wide range of services that differ from facility to facility. Assistance ranges from very little to a very high level of assistance. Also, its confusing, because prices vary considerably and how they charge can be different which makes it difficult to compare by price. If you choose to go it alone with a free online resource, avoid these common pitfalls assembled by our team.Free Online Assisted Living Referral ServicesOnline sites provide information, but quickly turn into a sales machine for care facilities when you submit your contact information.Pitfalls:Online referral businesses tailor their sites to the facilities that pay them for the opportunity to market to potential customers and sell/share your private information that bombard you with marketing emails and countless calls.Since facilities pay these sites for leads, you never get a full view of your best options in Denver.Searches result in several landing pages that are just directories of care facilities. As you continue clicking, they dont show you how the assisted living facilities look, or how to pay.When you hit a dead end online and make a call, you arent likely to get all of the information you needed.Online chat/phone care operators dont have experience and arent trained in elder care. They are salespeople.The expectation is that you will visit each facility to learn more. The reality is, they are paid higher commissions for brokering certain deals and push you to those facilities.Knowledge about facilities/communities is not very detailed. Most often they have not toured them or know what care they specifically do and do not offer.Recommended resource: The New York Times wrote an article about a potential headache of online research: Online Referral Services. A Helping Hand, Paid on Commission which stated it succinctly, You think youve found an ally when youve really found a salesperson. (Also, check out the comments section of the article if you have time.)Recommended resource: The Questionable Lure Of Free Long-Term Care Placement Services by David Spiegel. He put it this way, referral services are free to hire whomever they choose, irrespective of training and prior job experience. The primary job requirement to use industry lingo may simply be the marketing skill of putting a head in the bed.A Better Free AlternativeThe Seniors BlueBook is a good resource that lists almost every assisted living facility in the Denver Metro Area, but it is essentially just a database. They do not receive broker commissions or sell your contact information.Pitfalls:You will have to do all of the legwork and research on your own which can be very time consuming.Not enough specific useful information about the care each facility provides and the associated cost.Pitfalls to both Free Online Referral Services and The Seniors Blue Book:You wont learn a facilitys reputation for providing a quality level of care.You still have to visit numerous facilities to see if they would be a good optionYou may not ask the right questions.Starting rates many times do not include care, so you are surprised when it is not in your price range.You could be touring with high-pressured facility sales/marketing people who have quotas to fill.Maybe researching online alone isnt for you? For more answers, read our blog post Do You Need an Expert in Assisted Living Denver? Or, call and talk to one of our local experts at Stacys Helping Hand, Inc for a free phone consultation at 720-248-7758 .
Spend Downs at Assisted Living Facilities in the DenverWhen professionals in the senior living industry discuss ways, an individual can pay for care and housing, you may hear terms such as private pay, spend down, and straight Medicaid. It can be confusing! In the Denver Metro area there are many assisted living facilities that only accept private pay funds for care and housing. They are not licensed to receive Medicaid funds from the state of Colorado.Many facilities choose to only accept private pay residents because the Medicaid reimbursement rate is much lower than they can receive from residents who are able to private pay. Other facilities accept private pay and spend downs, while some facilities accept private pay and straight Medicaid. When a resident is allowed to private pay for a certain period of time and then go onto Medicaid, it is known as a spend down. The term Straight Medicaid is generally used for facilities that accept Medicaid payment without requiring a spend down; in this scenario a resident can move in if they are approved for Medicaid or are enrolled in the InnovAge PACE program, depending upon the facility.A resident is not eligible for Medicaid at an Assisted Living Facility until they have less than $2,000 in assets and less than $2,094 per month in income. If the resident spends their assets for their care and housing at the Medicaid approved facility, but still has more than $2,094/month in income, the facility that accepts Medicaid will work with the resident and either allow the resident to pay the Medicaid rate or require that the resident pay their monthly income to the facility (and allow the resident to keep what they could keep for spending money on Medicaid approximately $105/month).There are a few Large assisted living facilities and numerous Residential Assisted Living facilities (also known as Personal Care and Boarding Homes) that will allow a one to two year spend down. Facilities which allow a resident to spend down, will either accept 1) Medicaid, 2) Medicaid and InnovAge, or 3) InnovAge, depending upon the facility. If a resident is enrolled in the InnovAge PACE program, facilities are reimbursed by InnovAge, and in turn, Medicaid reimburses InnovAge for the residents care.If you refer to the Denver Metro Senior Blue book, it appears that there are lots of facilities that accept Medicaid, but there is one BIG caveat. Many of the facilities require an individual to pay privately for one to two years before they will accept Medicaid reimbursement. Some indicate that they accept Medicaid, but when you contact them, they actually accept InnovAge.On another note, we also find many families are misguided and believe Medicare or supplemental health insurance will pay for care and housing. Medicare DOES NOT cover care and housing. Only private funds, Medicaid and InnovAge pay for care in Assisted Living facilities. Medicare may cover temporary stays at Rehab facilities, but never long-term care at an Assisted Living Facility.Still confused or unfamiliar with the InnovAge PACE program? Our Advisors would be happy to discuss with you what would be your best option, based on your finances and care requirements.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to the senior living world- including an increase in cost. From staff shortages, to increased cleaning protocols and general costs of business management senior living options are experiencing a rapid increase in costs, especially here in Colorado. Understanding the cost of various care options can help to prepare you for the future and ensure that your loved one is getting their moneys worth when it comes to care.Its important to note that all of these prices represent the average. Depending on the residence, costs could rise dramatically. For example, while the average for Denvers assisted living may be around $5500, depending on the residence and the care provided, residents could pay closer to $6,000, or even more.Independent Living communities allow your loved one the benefit of managing their day-to-day life on their own, with the peace of mind knowing that there are other seniors and some staff around in the event of an emergency. The nationwide average base cost of independent living is $2,552, with Colorado hovering just below that nationwide average at $2,286 a month. Different communities may include different amenities within this cost- for example, meals, laundry, and sometimes medication management services.Assisted living communities provide a much wider range of services. They provide support with activities of daily living- bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, and more. They also can provide support with medications, meals, as well as fun activities. The cost of assisted living can vary significantly. Some assisted living may have an all-inclusive cost, while others may have a base pay and then, as your loved ones needs change, you can add more services, for a higher cost.In 2014, assisted living in Colorado averaged $3,771, but more recent data from Genworths Cost of Care Survey shows the current average at $4,700 for the state, above the nationwide average by $400. There is some change in cost depending on geography within Colorado- with Denvers average at the peak at $5,500. This puts the Denver area nearly one thousand over the state average- and steadily growing. These numbers are rapidly increasing, especially here in Colorado, with the 2020 average cost, 11% higher than the 2019 cost.Often found within assisted living communities, memory care neighborhoods can provide assisted living services for individuals living with memory impairments. In addition to their assistance with personal care, memory care neighborhoods provide a secured neighborhood, staff specifically trained in dementia care, and programming geared towards these individuals. Memory care neighborhoods costs are typically 20-30% higher than assisted living communities. This puts Colorados average at just about $5600 per month.Skilled nursing facilities are available for those with a high level of personal care needs. For semi-private rooms, the Colorado average is $8,567 with a private room at $9,726. Denvers average for a private room sits closer to $10k.Skilled nursing facilities can generally be paid for with Medicaid for those who are eligible.When considering the cost of senior living, its important to keep in mind that the rates proposed are base rates. They do not include all amenities such as certain engagement programs, medications and medication management, in-house doctors and salon service, and more. These additional costs can easily add up to hundreds over the base rate. Working with our team can help you be prepared and know up front what your monthly expenses will come out to be and ensure that your loved one is getting the most out of their community.Paying for care isnt impossible- it just takes some planning, both financially and to find the best fit for your loved one. Making the transition to assisted living can be an emotional one, adding to the difficulties of navigating the logistics of costs and amenities. Let us be there for you to help make the best choice for your loved one and ensure a smooth transition. Give us a call at 720-248-7758, and lets have a conversation.