Choosing assisted living can be a difficult decision for many families. There are several things to consider before transitioning from home to assisted living that may feel like an overwhelming process. How do you know if your parents need care?
What types of care should you look for when choosing a facility? And what will happen if they outlive their income, later on, requiring Medicaid coverage? In this blog post, we’ll explore these questions and more to help make the process just a little bit easier.
What does assisted living do, and how does it work?
Assisted living is a senior housing option that combines independent living and health services, such as 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, cooking meals, or taking medications. What does this mean for your loved one? It means they’ll have the independence of their own home but with an added sense of safety in knowing there are people nearby who can help them whenever needed.
Things to consider for making a better decision:
1. Know the different facilities available: What type of services does the facility offer? What is your loved one’s budget for assisted living? What types of care and accommodations are available, and do they have a waiting list to get in, or can you reserve now? Plus, does the facility have an emergency plan in place for residents? What is it like to live at home with assisted living nearby?
2. Look at Medicare coverage: It may be difficult to see when someone becomes eligible for Medicaid, especially if they have some degree of income. This could happen after their savings run out but before they become so ill that they require full-time nursing care. To help avoid this situation, ask about Medicare eligibility requirements today!
3. Costs associated with assisted living facilities: You need to understand how much costs will change for your loved one to switch from living independently at home and whether this is a cost that they can manage. What types of payment plans are offered? What about utilities or medical needs if they need assistance with these as well? You should also check different plans and see why they differ in price. What about the extras, like transportation or housekeeping?
4. Housing: What can you expect related housing options from assisted living facilities? What is the average room size, and how many residents do they house at one time? What type of private rooms or shared bedrooms are available for rent, with both having pros and cons. You can also check their architecture or pricing plans on Senior Site as they have verified listings and contacts of assisted living facilities.
5. The quality of care: What services does the assisted living facility offer? What level of nursing care do you want—or will it be handled by in-home nurses instead? Do you have any dietary restrictions to take into account when choosing an assisted live facility, such as kosher food choices or vegetarian diet accommodations (if so, make sure those types of meals are available)? Are there physical therapy programs on site too?
6. Know how often they allow visitors: What are the assisted living policies for visitors? What do you have to provide if a visitor wishes to visit, and how often does the facility allow them in? This is a huge factor for many people and can make a difference in the decisions that are made.
7. Do they offer any special programs: What are the programs available at assisted living facilities? What type of activities do they offer, and what types of entertainment options are there for residents? Are any on-site care services included in the price or an added cost?
8. Quality Care: What is a concierge service offered that provides someone who works primarily with you and your loved one to coordinate everything from their social calendar to appointments during work hours so that nothing comes through the cracks and everyone feels cared for.
What percentage of caregivers are residents, which can dramatically improve the quality of care and staff retention rates? What types of cognitive stimulation are offered to help with memory loss or other significant cognitive impairments? What about a pet therapy program that provides animals for visiting hours at certain times throughout the day? What will happen if they outlive their income, later on, requiring Medicaid coverage?
9. Is it Safe: This may sound silly, but you should be just as concerned about safety in an assisted living facility as you would in your home. What are such things as emergency call buttons within reach from every room, so residents never have to go down hallways alone if something happens during sleep time.
Is there medical staff available 24/hours-a-day and do they provide individual treatment plans for each resident? What about a pet therapy program that provides animals for visiting hours at certain times throughout the day.
10. What is the facility’s policy on pets? What about visitors, and do they have visiting hours that are separate from the resident’s schedule. What is their visitation policy for these times of the day? You need to also consider things like how much the room and board costs, what their meal plan is, whether or not they offer transportation services for a fee. What are the hours of operation? How do you keep in contact with staff members if there’s an emergency that needs to be reported?
11. See how the staff is: What are their qualifications and how long have they been employed there? What is the turnover rate for employees? And do they offer any programs or activities to help residents stay engaged with life outside of assisted living? What is the staff-to-resident ratio? What is their nurse to resident ratio?
Choosing an assisted living facility is a big decision, but the process doesn’t have to be daunting. Take some time and collect as many details about each facility before making a final decision; you want to ensure that it’s the right choice for both you and your loved one.