When you notice your parents starting to need help with their daily activities like dressing, bathing, eating, grooming and medication management, it is time to start looking into the benefits of an assisted living community.
You will need to consider multiple factors when deciding on the most ideal housing provider for your parents including the upfront and monthly costs, staff experience and community and medical needs. In this post, we’ll dive into all of the aforementioned topics as well as address some of the misconceptions you might have when choosing an assisted living location.
When transitioning to an assisted living community, the cost is the first aspect people are concerned about. The Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey found the median monthly assisted living cost in New Jersey to be $6,400. While you may think that housing and additional nursing care will cost a fortune and that you are better off having in-home care, you would be surprised to see what is possible if you were to just dig a little bit deeper into what the assisted living location could actually provide.
Most times it is cheaper to move into an assisted living community. Even if someone has their mortgage paid off, there are many other expenses that are associated with a home. For example, utilities, groceries, maintenance, etc. All of these expenses are covered at an assisted living community. The only expense is the monthly fee and possibly a phone bill. It is impossible to put a price on a loved one’s safety.
How is this monthly fee derived? Typically there are three components: size of the room or apartment, level of care and medication management. Most places have a one time move-in fee or community fee, but this varies.
When moving into an assisted living community, the majority expect you to have funds for an average of 2 years, but that can vary depending on the location. After 2 years, you or a loved one would apply for Medicaid. If you meet the Medicaid financial and medical requirements, then you’re approved. It is important to be informed of the policy the community has in place. Some policies may require a shared accommodation or they may have a waitlist before you can move in. When the person relocating to an assisted living facility is of a younger age, like 70, then these policies are of greater importance as funds won’t last forever.
When choosing an assisted living community, the staff can make or break that decision. Before selecting a location, we recommend inquiring about the staff’s tenure with the company. This speaks to how they treat their employees, and in turn how the employees will treat the residents. You should also learn the staff to patient ratio.
The last thing you need is a situation where your parent does not enjoy living at the center because of the staff treating them poorly, as you are putting all of your trust into this community. Additionally, you will want to check the place out for yourself before you decide if it is the right location for your parents. Getting a sense of staff behavior prior to selecting the location can give you a sense of peace that you know your parent is in good hands.
Another very important aspect to take into consideration is the staff experience with seniors that have medical needs. Depending on your parent’s current and predicted future care needs, you can determine whether or not the location provided is right for you. Having a nurse on staff 24/7 can be extremely beneficial if your parent has certain medical conditions.
When researching an assisted living community, take into account what a senior needs. If they are high-functioning, they won’t need the total care that other seniors might need. Some seniors need medication management, especially if they are diabetic and insulin dependent, which requires a 24-hour nurse. Not all communities are created equally, that’s why it is important to do research locations with your Senior Living Placement Specialist and take in your loved one’s current needs and what they will be needing down the road.
Another dire aspect of a community is their accommodations. You also should consider if the community can handle any dietary restrictions, whether they are for religious or health reasons. If you are moving in both of your parents, they can not go to a community that only has studio apartments available. Also, if the senior has any pets they want to bring with them, you should inform yourself of the policies and additional fees that may be required for pets.
When it comes to choosing an assisted living location, the actual in-house experience that can be provided to your loved one is of the utmost importance. Take note of your parent’s daily activities and put into consideration how they line up at the location. Would they enjoy socializing over a game night like bingo and bridge, or would they be more inclined to participate in a book club? Would they have the ability to travel with a group-organized event, or would it make more sense for them to attend an in-house lecture series? A center that puts more of an emphasis on going to a casino every weekend might not be very suited to a parent that would prefer to take scenic trips into the mountains instead.
- It is important to communicate with your Senior Living Placement Specialist about your budget and priorities when looking for an assisted living community.
- It is smart to evaluate how content the staff is at a potential community.
- You should align your parent or loved one’s values with the opportunities and excursions available at a potential new home.
- You should research care options and take your care needs into account.
Find Your Expert at LTLA
When it comes to choosing a location for your loved one, taking stock of cost, community, staff and medical needs can make all the difference in terms of general experience. If you need help or are looking into places right now, the Long Term Living Association is here to help you every step of the way. Whether it is transporting a parent to a new location or dealing with legal issues, our many services are ideal for making your life easier. Find your expert today!