- What’s the difference between Assisted Living and a Skilled Nursing Facility?
Assisted Living is essentially an apartment community with supportive services: meals, a combination of help with non-medical activities of daily living including assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, transportation to medical appointments, etc. Assisted Living residences typically have a more home-like feel and maximize independence and social connections. Skilled Nursing Facilities are more of a clinical setting for those who need medical care and offer supervision by Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) 24 hour a day.
- What are the most important things to consider when choosing an Assisted Living community?
The top three are:
- How much care/assistance is needed.
- Location preferences.
Then, much like choosing a college, things that should be considered include culture, activities, setting, and size. Would you be more comfortable in a small group, or have a larger crowd around you? Would you prefer a place whose residents are more interested in book clubs, or poker games? Would you rather be in the city, or a more suburban setting?
- How many Assisted Living communities should my family consider before we make a decision?
There is no magic number, it’s a matter of how comfortable you feel. Some families look at three, others look at fifteen. We tend to recommend that our clients tour at least a few communities for comparison purposes. We want to make sure you feel good about your choice.
- How do we know if we can afford Assisted Living? What do we need to consider?
There’s a range of costs involved depending on your needs and preferences. We will walk you through them step by step. Mainly, you need to look at two things: your monthly income and your assets, while taking into account things you’ll no longer have to pay for, such as homeowner’s insurance, maintenance, and major utilities. We can help you look at the variables and help you understand the financial logistics specific to your situation.
- When should we begin the process of considering an assisted living community?
We like to use Noah as an example: he started building the Ark before it began to rain. So, the earlier, the better. When you first begin to notice signs your loved one may not be thriving (not eating well, housework piling up, becoming increasingly forgetful) it’s time to considering options for the future. It’s better to have a plan in place and perhaps not need it, than to need a plan and not have one. If you wait until there’s a crisis, big and important decisions will have to be rushed and made under duress. Giving yourself and your family more time to get used to possibilities for the future makes for less disruption and a more gradual transition.
- Who oversees and regulates the Assisted Living industry?
In Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) oversees and certifies Assisted Living communities.
- Does insurance pay for Assisted Living?
The only insurance that pays for Assisted Living is private pay Long Term Care Insurance, and those policies can vary widely. If you have purchased a Long Term Care (LTC) insurance policy, call your carrier for specifics.
- What does Assisted Living cost?
It depends on many variables, such as location, services needed, apartment size and style and other extras you may choose. In Southeastern Massachusetts, costs can range from $2,000 to $8,000 per month or more. As we discuss different communities with you and your family, we can outline the costs in more depth for you.
- What happens if my loved one’s care needs become more than Assisted Living can accommodate?
There are a couple of options, depending on the situation. You can bring in additional supportive services on a private pay basis. Or, you may need to consider another move. The thing is, no one has a crystal ball and future needs are difficult to predict. This is why when you work with us, we do such in-depth analysis with you up-front so we can recommend a community that will best meet your long-term needs.
- Who will keep track of and manage my loved one’s medication in Assisted Living?
Actually, the number one reason seniors move into Assisted Living communities is to receive additional support to better manage their medications. Many residents continue to manage their own medications in assisted living, however staff is there to provide assistance whenever desired or necessary. They’ll manage the medications either with reminders or direct supervision, depending on what the situation calls for.
- Can my Mom bring her own furniture into Assisted Living?
Absolutely! Assisted Living is just like having your own apartment. You furnish as you please, hang your pictures on the wall, and have your belongings around you. Be as neat or as cluttered as you wish.
- What about pets – can Dad bring his dog?
It depends on the community, most allow for pets with a weight limit. (Most wouldn’t allow a Great Dane racing down the hallway!) Pets offer great comfort and therapeutic benefits – we’ve even known some residents who go out and get a kitten after moving in. It’s often a key criteria for clients, and we’ve been successful in keeping master and pet together – even an energetic yellow lab!
- Will Mom be able to cook in Assisted Living?
Yes. Though there are 2 to 3 meals provided, sometimes you just want a snack or to do your own thing. The apartments usually have a mini-fridge and some even offer a stovetop. You can bring in other items such as a toaster oven, microwave and coffee maker. And, some places even have a community kitchen that can turn cooking into a social event.
- What are the visiting hours in Assisted Living?
Just like in their current home, in Assisted Living you can have visitors at any time and are free to come and go as they please. There might be a security system requiring a code or buzzer for nighttime access, but there’s the same level of freedom as you enjoy in your current home. You can have overnight guests, holiday visitors, or even go away for a holiday or weekend if you want.
- What are the benefits of memory care supported Assisted Living?
Memory care neighborhoods (which are often attached to or integrated within Assisted Living communities) are typically secured and designed to prevent dangers for a person with memory impairment, as well to help the residents thrive (much like baby proofing a home). The staff are specially trained in working with people who have dementia and know how to promote dignity, encourage independence and offer safety and security. For a person with memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, a memory supported assisted living program can greatly enhance their quality of life.