Let’s face it – it’s not easy knowing your parents are getting on in years. But it is a fact of life: we are helpless as an infant, and as we age, we become, once again, we become more dependent.
Thankfully, we live in a world that finally recognizes different levels of independence for the graying population. No longer is our only option the nursing home. Over – 65 neighborhoods and assisted living facilities have made quality of life for older individuals better.
But, a simple fact remains – it is never easy to change.
There are over 330,000 facilities across our nation offering older people options for safe living. The goal – maintain maximal independence in a home-like setting while providing individualized care and assistance. Most combine housing, personal care services and healthcare to promote maximal independence.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Know Your Rights:
Just because your years are advancing, does not mean you give up your rights. Rights to look for when choosing an assisted living facility are:
2. Treatment with dignity and respect
3. Retain rights to own personal possessions
4. Retain control of personal finances
5. Free interaction with family, residents and community
6. Freedom to chose and participate in religion
7. Control the receipt of health-related services
8. Organize resident councils
Know Offered Services:
Different facilities offer different services. The key is to find the option most suited to your needs. For example, roughly 70% allow tobacco, 40% allow alcohol and small pets. Most offer no restrictions to visitors during the day, with roughly 35% allowing overnight stays. Accommodations do vary, so look into what is best for you or your loved one. Many places provide private rooms, private baths and kitchettes.
1. 24-hour supervision
2. Three meals per day plus snacks
3. Personal care services, like hair cuts and manicures
4. Healthcare services, including but not limited to: transportation to physician appointments and physical rehab
5. Social services and activities, including, but not limited to religious services
6. Exercise and educational activities
7. Laundry and linen services
8. Housekeeping and maintenance
QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN SEARCHING
When searching for that perfect place, it is imperative to visit. Take a tour and talk with administration. Try to visit more than once at different times – see how meals or evenings are handled. And, ask questions!
Some pertinent questions:
1. Required paperwork and timeframes
2. Payment options
3. Affiliations with hospitals, nursing homes or long term care facilities
4. Special programs for special needs, such as memory-impaired, disabled or nutrition restrictions
5. Are medical assessments available – if so, by whom and how often
6. Do they use your pharmacy, and who will assist with medications
7. Professional services on site, such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy
8. Do rooms come furnished or unfurnished
9. Can you retain your automobile
10. Security deposits and refund policies
DECIDING ON AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY
There are places to contact when searching for an appropriate facility. Contact the National Center for Assisted Living or your state health and welfare department. Other options include: talking to a long term care ombudsman, contacting your local office on aging and sifting through the yellow pages.
HOW TO PAY FOR IT
Payment fees and options do vary, depending on individual circumstances. The average monthly fees for these facilities range from $1001 to $2500 per month, the average being around $1875.
Medicare, for example, does not cover certain healthcare services, or they may be available under specific limited circumstances.
Check into supplemental security incomes – they may cover some of the costs. Some private health and long term care insurance includes assisted living arrangements. Other options include grant programs, Medicaid or other internal assistance programs.
Though lifestyle changes are never easy, providing a safe atmosphere for you or your loved one should be your first concern. The key to finding the perfect place is education. It may take some time, but in the end, it is well worth it!