What family caregivers need to know about services, costs and finding the right place.
Assisted living facilities are designed for older people who are no longer able to manage living independently and need help with daily activities such as bathing or dressing, but don’t require the round-the-clock health care that a nursing home would provide.
“Typically, residents need a little bit of help,” says Rachel Reeves, director of communications for the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), an industry group. “Assisted living is there to offer that assistance, while maximizing their independence.”
Assisted living facilities usually provide residents with their own apartments or rooms, as well as some common areas. They offer around-the-clock supervision and a range of services, including meals, housekeeping and laundry, as well as assistance with personal care and help with medications.
Assisted living also aims to offer a “rich social environment” where residents can get plenty of interaction that’s beneficial to their health care and mental well-being, Reeves says. That can include social and recreational activities, such as book clubs, trips to movies and concerts, and exercise and wellness programs.
Facilities typically offer multiple levels of care depending on what residents need and what they and their families can afford.
Assisted living facilities, which are mostly regulated at the state level, have a lot of variation among them.
To ensure that you find one that’s a good fit for your loved one, it’s important to follow a structured, methodical search process and ask a lot of questions. Have your senior living advisor carefully evaluate the facility’s contract before you sign it.
And “include your loved one, if you can, in the decision-making,” It’s imperative that the person who will be moving there be involved in choices about care.
Nationwide, 28,900 assisted living facilities nationwide have nearly 1 million beds, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Assisted Living.
They vary widely in size, from fewer than 10 residents to more than 100, with an average capacity of 33. More than half of assisted living facilities are part of national chains with the rest independently owned.
Most facilities provide some basic health care services, according to the organization.
Some offer specialized services for people with dementia, sometimes called Memory Care. A little more than 14 percent of assisted living facilities have a special memory care unit, wing or floor, and another 8.7 percent accept only dementia patients.
Some also offer services tailored for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or particular medical conditions such as Parkinson's Disease.
The best way to find the right community is to connect with a FREE local referral service like: The Right Senior Living Solution will have files of the care and ammenities offered by the communities in the local area. A reputable senior living advor will have an array of professional partners that will assist you with all of your needs to make the transition to a new community and lifestyle as smooth as possible.
1. What are the size and types of units available?
2. Do any units have kitchens or kitchenettes?
3. Are all the rooms private?
4. Are bathrooms private?
5. Is special care available for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions?
6. Does each resident have a written care plan, and is the person involved in creating it?
7. Is a contract available that details fees, services and admission and discharge policies?
8. Are additional services available if a resident’s needs change?
Remember that the person you speak with will most likely be a marketing or sales representative whose job is to promote the residence and a good well connected assisted living advisor will assist you in negotiating and getting the best move in incentive package available.
Once you and your advisor narrow down your list to a few communities/facilities with the services and price range you’re looking for, your advisor will schedule visits and tour the communities with you. During your visit you will speak with administrators, staff and the residents to ask questions and get a feel of the community.
Its good to also bring a friend or family member for support.
An Advisor will recommend visiting each community/facility multiple times. It is best to be there during mealtimes and perhaps even have lunch with residents, to give you a better sense of what it’s like to live there.
When visiting communities with your senior living advisor, there are some other very important things to look for:
A good referral agency like The Right Senior Living Solution will advise that you ask plenty of questions about staff members, including their qualifications and whether they receive additional training from the facility.
On your visits, observe how employees interact with residents. Ask about the facility’s suggestion, complaint and grievance procedures, and whether it has resident and family councils to provide feedback.
Look carefully at the facility’s contract. Take it home with you and go over it with other family members.
State regulations for assisted living facilities are on the National Center for Assisted Living’s website. The list also contains contact information for each state's regulators, who can guide you on how to find information about a facility.
Make sure you clearly understand the terms, and if you have questions, get them answered before you sign.
Your Advisor will know:
• How much are entrance fees and monthly rent, and is a security deposit required?
• What level of personal and health care services are provided?
• What privileges do residents have? For example, are they permitted to bring personal furniture?
• What are the transfer and discharge policies? What specific reasons would lead to a resident being asked to move out, and how much notice would be given?
• Is a resident’s space held if he or she has to be hospitalized?
• Does the contract put any limitations on your right to bring legal action for injury, negligence or other causes? Consumer Reports cautions that many residences include arbitration clauses, which require disputes to be settled outside the legal system via a third party.
Some financing options to keep in mind:
• Medicaid. The federal/state health care program for people with low incomes and limited assets, may provide some help if you’ve exhausted other financial resources.
Most states offer some level of financial aid to qualified assisted living residents
Do you qualify for Aid & Attendance Benefit Department of Veterans Affairs
Former service members may be able to get federal help. The Aid and Attendance benefit, a supplement to VA pensions for older veterans who need help with daily living activities, can help pay for assisted living or memory care.
VA health care does not pay for room and board at an assisted living but might cover some additional services.
The Right Senior Living Solution Specializes in communities in:
The Right senior Living Solution
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Moving to a personal care home is a big decision based on many factors. Cold winter months are drawing near, and the Farmers Almanac is forecasting a Winter Wonderland for the northeastern United States. Keeping this in mind, and to avoid winter chores, this is a great time to consider a respite stay and experience first-hand what life is like living in a personal care home.Experience an easier moveWinter weather conditions like snow and ice can complicate the move to a personal care home. Moving before bad weather conditions arrive allows seniors to avoid potential weather-related delays, accidents or other challenges during transportation and when moving belongings.Try out the personal care homeRespite care offers seniors a chance to try out a retirement community without making a long-term commitment. Country Meadows offers all-rental retirement living accommodations, so seniors are not beholden to a lengthy lease or an ownership stake. A respite stay can help older adults see for themselves whether or not the community is a good fit for a permanent move.Avoid winter weather challengesMany older adults struggle with winter chores such as shoveling snow, chipping away ice, walking on icy sidewalks, managing heating systems and driving in inclement weather. A temporary respite stay at a personal care home eliminates these responsibilities, as well as many other daily chores, removing worries. It provides seniors the opportunity to settle into their new living arrangement without the added stress of winter weather.Access daily assistance and health servicesAlong with cold weather, the winter season can also bring several challenges for older adults to maintain wellness. A major benefit to living at a personal care home is prompt, easy access to health resources and assistance. This is especially beneficial for seniors with health concerns and mobility issues. If a resident requires assistance with medications, dressing, bathing or another daily activity, simply push a call button and a personal care associate can provide needed help. And a wellness team keeps an eye on each residents overall health.Reduce lonelinessMany seniors experience loneliness and isolation while living at home. The winter months can magnify these feelings. Respite care offers opportunities for social interaction and engagement with new neighbors and friends in the same age group, reducing feelings of loneliness and providing mental stimulation.Participate in activities, enjoy entertainment and outingsSenior living communities often offer a variety of enriching activities and events. At Country Meadows, our Vibe program considers each residents physical, cognitive, social and spiritual needs and customizes activities, entertainment, outings and purposeful service opportunities. Events are organized seasonally by categories and offer opportunities for socialization and fun. When living at a personal care home, one doesnt need to brave the elements outside, because all the fun during winter is happening indoors, fostering a sense of belonging among residents.Provide relief for family caregiversA respite stay offers a break for family members and friends providing care in a seniors private home. This break is especially appreciated during winter months when private caregiving responsibilities might become more demanding due to inclement weather, illnesses or holiday-related activities.When considering respite care at a personal care home or retirement community over the winter months, its important to do some homework. Families and seniors should research and visit potential facilities to ensure the community can meet specific needs and preferences of each individual. The decision for respite care should prioritize the well-being, comfort and specific needs of each person, aiming to provide a supportive and enriching experience. Contact Country Meadows Retirement Communities today.
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