Thursday, November 7, 2013

Assisted Living the Way to Go??

(picture from 'A Place for Mom')

'A Place for Mom' awhile ago had an article about 7 things to think about if you are considering assisted living for an elderly parent. Assisted living came about a couple of decades ago - to make nursing homes not so institutional looking. They suggest you consider the following when looking at a facility: ( a quick review )

* Facilities offer several levels of care. Although regulated in all 50 states, there is no nationwide definition. Some provide light care while others can help those who are bedridden - it apparently depends on the communities' licensing.
* Every community is unique in its look & feel. They come in all shapes and sizes and designs. Some have a more quiet home feel while others are more socially active. Just because 2 look the same does not mean that they 'feel' the same.
* Pets may be Ok to bring. We keep hearing about pet therapy and how it can work wonders for the elderly population. So check with each facility to see about dogs and cats or birds and fish. Again, the communities' policies will vary.
* Assisted living costs may be lower than you think. According to the 2012 Cost of Senior Care Survey, the national average rate for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $3,300 per month. While 86.2% of assisted living residents pay from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer “home and community-based waivers” that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living. More seniors are purchasing long-term care insurance to help plan for and finance their long-term care needs. Wartime veterans and their spouses may eligible for VA benefits known as Aid and Attendance that can offset the cost of care. A Place for Mom’s Guide to Financing Senior Care has details about creative financing plans that can make care affordable as well. Those with low income and assets may to need use Medicaid to pay for senior care. To explore this option, contact your local Area Agency on Aging Office, which can be located at
* Assisted Living is not the same as a nursing home. Best to have a medical professional evaluate your parent but there are some distinctions between these 2 types of facilities:
Assisted living residents are mainly independent but may need help with some daily living personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing, while nursing home residents tend to need 24-hour assistance with every activity of daily living.
Assisted living residents are mobile, while those who are bed ridden require nursing homes.
Nursing home residents generally have a single or semi-private room, while assisted living residents typically live in a studio or one bedroom apartment.
Nursing home residents require fully staffed, skilled nursing medical attention on a daily basis, while assisted living residents are more stable and do not need ongoing medical attention. (Medical care is distinct from personal care. For example, helping a resident toilet is considered personal care, while care for tracheotomy would be considered medical.)

* Many communities are catering to diverse cultures. They have communities that have residents from the same culture, while adhering to their needs of their language, foods, religion, holidays.
* Offering dementia care. Some in the early stages can live with the other residents but when they get worse, there is a specially designed area of the community with trained staff for their comfort and safety.

Take your time looking around and consider these differences. Be sure to ask questions of the staff while there. See under my topic of "Quest Speakers" -- a friend who is a Registered Nurse at a local private community wrote about what questions to ask when looking at a facility. That way you will have all the best information to make a good decision regarding placement.


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  2. I had no idea that facilities offered several levels of care. I thought that everyone got the same care. This is good because employees can focus more on the residents who need more help.


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