If you are just beginning your search for an assisted living community, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here is a list of six questions to consider when researching assisted living communities.
1. Who can live in an assisted living facility?
Assisted living is designed for those who need assistance with specific tasks in their daily routines. They may be partially independent or require a great deal of care. It’s important to determine how much care each individual needs and to find a facility that meets those needs. Staff members can help you determine what level of care is needed, so if you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask.
If a person is able to provide for much of their own care, an assisted living center may enhance their quality of life by supporting them in areas where they are limited. For the most part, a person who chooses an assisted living community will be able to meet their own needs and simply wants the reassurance of help with certain limitations. For example, they may need assistance with a shower or medication reminders even though they can still get dressed and feed themselves. They are independent in some areas and want to continue living this way. Just knowing that someone is nearby can provide a source of comfort even if they are able to manage quite well on their own.
2. How is staff trained/What are their qualifications?
The first thing to do is to figure out, as much as possible, what your needs are now and what they are likely to be in the future so that they are surrounded by professionals who can care for their needs. This is especially true if there is a family history of dementia, but it’s important for other conditions as well. According to a 2009 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, about 46 percent of residents in assisted living communities have at least three chronic conditions, but only 54 percent of facilities have a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse on staff.
It is important to understand that staff at an assisted living facility are trained to provide assistance with the residents. They are able to meet the needs of residents who qualify for assisted living care. Village Green does have an RN on staff, which is a huge benefit especially for long-distance caregivers who want confirmation that their loved one is recovering from a minor illness.
The RN can check in with residents and monitor various health concerns, though be mindful of the fact that assisted living facilities are not licensed to provide daily skilled nursing care. Residents in assisted living communities often need help with one or more activities of daily living, from bathing to medication management and meal preparation, but if your loved one needs medical assistance, a skilled nursing facility is the more appropriate setting.
It is for reasons like these that Village Green has been voted the best retirement community in Federal Way for eight years in a row!
3. What is their assisted living food like?
You want to know that your loved one is getting the nutrition they need in an assisted living community. The menus for assisted living facilities should have variety and provide vitamins and minerals for seniors who have unique needs from other people. However, the assisted living menu should also be tasty and encourage residents to want to eat.
The cook staff at Village Green are well-trained and work under the supervision of a chef. There is variety in the menu choices to interest all the residents. Special dietary needs are taken into consideration with all foods being made as healthy as possible. When you tour a facility, you should be able to see assisted living food menus to know what to expect for your loved one.
4. How much does assisted living cost?
In 2018, the national average cost to live in an assisted living facility was about $48,000 per year, according to the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey. In most cases, the base rate covers the cost of an apartment, utilities, weekly housekeeping, 24/7 security, a meal plan, and access to all community amenities, including daily activities. Many assisted living communities use a point system to determine the level of care a resident needs and then each resident is assessed an additional monthly fee according to their care level. Be proactive to ask for this kind of information so you know what the total monthly cost would be for you or your loved one.
When you compare the assisted living costs per month, you must compare it to the cost of maintaining a home and paying for additional care for your loved one. Many homes are not designed to meet the needs of seniors, which makes it more practical for the person to move into assisted living rather than trying to remodel their home to age in place.
Are assisted living costs tax deductible?
It is possible that some of the costs of assisted living may be tax deductible, depending on the circumstances. It’s best to contact a tax expert to determine if you can claim these expenses.
Does Medicare cover assisted living costs?
While Medicare doesn’t typically cover the cost of assisted living, it may cover some of the services received while the person is a resident. It’s a good idea to talk to someone in the finance department at an assisted living center to find out how Medicare can be of help.
5. What are some of the practical living details?
Since this will be your loved one’s new home, it’s important to think about the day to day aspects of an assisted living community. It is wise to ask:
What meals are provided?
Three meals a day are provided at an assisted living center. However, you do not have to eat all of your meals in the dining area. You can designate that you want to have dinner included in your monthly costs and you will take care of breakfast and lunch on your own. Some residents eat two meals a day at the center. The flexibility of the meal plan makes it work for a variety of situations.
How big are the rooms?
Most assisted living centers offer a variety of floor plans to accommodate different needs. At Village Green, there are four floor plans which range from a 502-square foot studio to a 910-square foot two-bedroom apartment. Rooms are spacious with a standard size comparable to other apartments.
Should residents sell their car?
Transportation is provided by the center. Regularly-scheduled trips are the ideal way for residents to get where they need to go. However, they can make special arrangements for specific appointments. The cost of maintaining a car may not be practical since transportation is readily available.
Can anyone be denied?
Application for admittance to an assisted living facility is not automatically guaranteed. The application is considered carefully to determine if the center is the right fit. For instance, if someone requires more care than what the center provides, their application may not be accepted.
What are the rules for family visitation?
Visits from friends and family are encouraged. While there are specific visiting hours, guests are permitted in the residents’ rooms outside those hours. Family may even stay overnight as long as they are registered with the center. They can also enjoy a meal with the resident as long as the center is notified so it can make accommodations for the guest.
6. Will you remind my loved one to take their medication?
As people age, their ability to remember certain aspects of their daily routine may change. Medication reminders are one of the most important services provided by assisted living centers to maintain the quality of health of the resident.
At Village Green, medication management and reminders are special services that may be added to the resident’s care plan. The service plan is customized to ensure each person’s needs are met.
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