There is a saying in dementia care that if you know one person with Alzheimer’s disease, you know one person with Alzheimer’s disease. In a sense, the same thing can be said of assisted living facilities. Every establishment bears similarities to the others, but simultaneously, each can be very different. At Village Green Retirement Campus, we work hard to be exceptional.
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 12 assisted living questions to consider when researching different senior communities in Federal Way:
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 an individual requires, and then find a facility that offers the services and resources to meet those needs. Staff members at senior living communities in Federal Way can help you determine what level of care is needed, so if you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask.
2. What care services are offered at assisted living?
For the most part, a senior who chooses an assisted living community has difficulty meeting their needs and carrying out at least one or more activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, getting dressed, cooking meals, or taking their medications. Those are the types of things you receive assistance with. Even if you are still independent in most areas, just knowing that a caring, competent staff member is nearby at all times to help with whatever ADLs you find challenging is a source of comfort and security. Additionally, assisted living communities in West Seattle are set up to offer an evolving suite of care services as you or your loved one’s needs change.
3. How is staff trained, and what are their qualifications?
In the process of selecting a senior living community near Des Moines, it’s important to figure out, as best as possible, what your needs are now and what they are likely to be in the future. That way, you can find a living situation where you have access to professionals who can adequately care for your needs. This is especially true if there is a family history of dementia, but it’s important for other conditions as well.
Staff at assisted living facilities are trained to meet the needs of residents who qualify for this level of care and they can offer help with various ADLs. While Washington state doesn’t regulate the staff-to-resident ratio in assisted living communities, there must always be at least one staff member onsite who is 18 or older and certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Beyond that, however, you should check with each community you’re considering to get details about their staffing requirements, as they differ from facility to facility. For example, a 2009 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that about 46% of residents in assisted living communities have at least three chronic conditions, but only 54% of facilities have a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse on staff.
Village Green does have an RN on staff, which is not only beneficial to residents but also comforting to long-distance friends and family members who want confirmation their loved one is being properly cared for. The RN can check in with residents and monitor various health concerns, although assisted living facilities are not always licensed to provide daily skilled nursing care. If your loved one needs substantial medical assistance, a skilled nursing facility is the more appropriate setting.
4. What is there to do at an assisted living facility?
It’s typical, if not universal, for assisted living facilities to offer residents a private apartment with a bedroom, living area, bathroom and kitchenette, along with access to common areas for group dining, activities, and socialization. Those are the basics.
At Village Green, we go beyond that in an effort to create a true community of residents who still have a lot of living left to do. We understand our aging loved ones are at a higher risk of depression, isolation, and lack of interest in socialization and/or physical exertion, which is why we take pride in offering an array of amenities and activities, including:
- Restaurant-style dining rooms so residents can share meals together
- A fitness room and regular exercise classes
- Physical therapy
- A swim spa and hot tub,
- Massage suite
- Game rooms and a pool table
- A movie theater
- A solarium/craft room
- A non-denominational chapel
- A computer lab
- A 24-hour coffee and juice bar
Avid gardeners—or novices who have always wanted to give it a try—can also enjoy our personal gardening spots with irrigation. For those looking for high value with low investment, a personal Pea Patch might be just the thing. As Governor Inslee is allowing retirement communities to start re-opening, we are safely and conscientiously re-opening our other amenities and activities programs as well.
5. Can my family visit, and can residents have pets?
We understand that keeping in touch and interacting with loved ones is important to both those considering assisted living and their families. Village Green has guest rooms available for out-of-town family members or friends to stay while visiting, and you are permitted to gather together in the common areas, or use one of the campus computers to meet with loved ones virtually. Plus, our campus is pet-friendly so you can enjoy the companionship of a furry friend.
We are situated in a beautiful location in Federal Way, and our grounds are regularly maintained and enhanced by the talents of our landscaping crew. Residents, their pets, and visiting friends and family members can reap tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual benefits by spending time together outdoors.
Additionally, our numerous walking paths are well-lit and free of obstructions, giving our seniors a safe and inviting way to regularly recreate. Whether residents want a long walk or a short one, there are benches located along the path that offer a place for silent reflection or a place for walking partners to sit and visit.
6. 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 evaluate assisted living costs per month, you should compare it to the cost of maintaining a home and paying for additional care services 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.
7. What is the food like in assisted living communities?
You want to know your loved one is getting the nutrition they need, regardless of where they're living. The menus offered at assisted living facilities should feature a variety of meals and snacks that provide vitamins and minerals targeted toward optimizing senior health. However, the menu should also be diverse and delicious so it motivates residents to eat regularly.
Kitchen staff members at Village Green are well-trained, and they work under the supervision of a chef. The menu choices feature a variety of options to appeal to the different tastes and preferences of residents. Special dietary needs are taken into consideration, with all foods being made as healthy as possible. When you tour an assisted living facility, ask to see examples of food menus so you know what to expect for your loved one.
8. 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.
9. 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. Certain assisted living establishments, such as Village Green, are private-pay communities. 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, if at all.
10. Can residents bring their own furniture/decorations?
Assisted living communities want you to feel at home, which means giving you the opportunity to accessorize and decorate your apartment as you desire. Depending on how much space you need, you can select from a variety on studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. Each is equipped with the appliances you need, but you are free to bring whatever belongings you want to make it feel like home.
11. What type of safety and security measures are in place?
Safety and security are of upmost importance at senior living communities in Federal Way. In general, your campus will include fire and life safety systems and 24-hour staffing and monitoring. At Village Green, every common area is affixed with emergency pull cords and an emergency call system with a wireless pendant. Additionally, residents receive non-intrusive wellbeing checks on a daily basis as an added safety precaution.
12. How are assisted living facilities operating with COVID-19?
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has presented a new set of challenges to assisted living communities, particularly in metropolitan areas, Washington. In response to the pandemic and guidelines issued by the state, senior living facilities have adopted various policies, protocols, and restrictions to protect the health and wellbeing of residents and employees. Visitation at long-term care facilities is still limited and classes, activities, and group dining temporarily stymied but starting to slowly reopen with additional measures in place.
However, staff at Village Green has adopted several strategies to continue cultivating a high quality of life for residents. During the past several months, we’ve visited residents individually to celebrate holidays and other special occasions. We’ve also helped them setup phone calls and video meetings to stay connected to family members and friends. We will continue to look for new ways to support and care for our assisted living residents until COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted.
Assisted Living in Federal Way, Washington
Before committing to a senior living community for you or your loved one, be sure to schedule a virtual tour of the campus and speak with a representative. We would be happy to show you around the Village Green campus in Federal Way, explain our different levels of care, and answer any questions you have about our assisted living housing, services, and amenities.