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Looking for Assisted Livings? Ask Questions

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 15, 2019
Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SC

Is an assisted-living community a wise choice? The answer is "yes," depending on the health and the needs of your loved one. But it takes careful selection and a well-run community.

Assisted living is designed to help those who need some help in order to continue to live independently; not those who need nursing home care.

How can families be sure to make a good choice for a loved one? First, assisted living regulations vary widely from state to state. This means it is important to ask questions, investigate and ask others about the homes you are considering.

If assisted living may be a future choice for you or a family member, here are some suggestions:

  1. Find out what regulations are in place in that state.
  2. Check state authorities to see if inspection reports are posted on line.
  3. Do your homework. Ask the hard questions.
  4. Visit the facility several times at different times of day.
  5. Find out the longevity of the staff, their training and ratio of staff to resident.
  6. Talk to residents.
  7. Send for AARP's checklist for visiting assisted-living communities.
  8. Check with an elder-law attorney before signing an admissions agreement.

For residents with dementia, know how the facility manages their care and safety. Understand what level of care is needed and how that may change with age. Assisted-living facilities often have limited medical staffs so for some seniors, a nursing home is the better option.

For more information on assisted living facilities, contact Spring Arbor.

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New Haven Register


How to Find the Right Senior Living Community

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Spring Arbor Senior Living - Senior Living Community in Richmond, VA

The best way to find the right assisted living community is to visit one. Then another. Then another until you find one that is just right. And how do you know if it's right? Before you visit, think about these different aspects and questions. These questions will get you thinking about other questions.

What You Need to Know: Basic Facts About Assisted Living

It's important to know that “assisted living” is an industry term. It isn't strictly defined, and there's great variety in terms of assisted daily living services provided. Some but not all assisted living centers have 24/7 nurse staffing. The following facts about assisted living can help you understand the diversity. The more you know about possible differences from place to place, the better your odds of making a great move.

Cost is usually a top concern whenever people hunt for housing. Below we give details about assisted living expenses and how to pay for long-term care. But here's a good basic fact: Assisted living generally costs much less than nursing home care.

On average, the cost of assisted living per month is about $3,600. Nursing home care was more than double at around $7,700 for a private room and $6,800 for a shared room. Of course, $3,600 /month isn't small change for most — but if the price looks intimidating, stay strong. Prices vary by region and the services needed. Also, individuals and families find many ways to pay for assisted living without draining their resources.

Services with assisted living vary from place to place. State governments all have different industry regulations. Many states issue more than one type of license for assisted living facilities, resulting in different levels of care being allowed. Licensing also matters for payment to be covered by Medicaid, private insurance and other sources. Facilities with the most advanced licenses may provide advanced medical care when a resident becomes bedridden or has symptoms of dementia. Others might need the resident to transfer to a nursing home, hire a personal nurse, or choose in-home healthcare. Main categories of assisted daily living services (ADLs) are:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Medication Management
  • Meal Services
  • Transportation

Residents might also get help with housekeeping needs such as dishwashing, laundry and vacuuming. Examples of specialty services that might cost extra are hairdressing, physical therapy, memory therapy, and help with scheduling appointments. Besides providing personal care services, most independent living centers facilitate social groups and outings. With everything from Bible study groups to casino gambling trips, there's something for everyone! Educational activities such as art classes and computer lessons are offered too. Generally the larger the assisted living community, the more activities it sponsors.

Memory care is an option at select assisted living centers. If you or a loved one is in an early stage of Alzheimer's or other dementia, then choosing an assisted care facility might be your best option in terms of stretching your money and allowing a longer period of independent living. Staff at specially licensed centers can help delay the progression of dementia with various therapies. They can also help minimize or prevent common dementia-related challenges such as wandering and anxiety. When the condition becomes advanced, it might be possible to live at the same facility, but in a different area with secured doors and other special accommodations.

Culture or “personality” matters. The US has thousands of assisted living facilities and no two are quite alike…

In some the decor is formal; in others it's relaxed.

Some are very small communities and others have hundreds of residents.

Depending on the property's layout, and also the local climate, residents might tend to spend lots of time outdoors, or else tend to stay inside.

And of course residents bring different cultures along. When you search for assisted living centers, you can find homes that tend to attract residents from specific ethnic backgrounds, language groups, religious affiliations and so forth. Lately as more baby boomers are moving to assisted living, we're seeing more and more “special interest” communities too. Residents are brought together by shared interests in areas as diverse as art, golf, LGBT issues, vegetarianism and community service.

Pets are welcome in many independent living communities. Sometimes animal care services such as grooming and dog walking are available for an extra charge. Some communities have their own “mascot” dogs and cats. When animal companions are allowed, generally there are restrictions about the size or breed. Homes have different policies about aquariums, birds and other “pet issues” — so before choosing an assisted care facility, verify that the pet policy fits your preferences.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

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seniorliving.org


What You Need To Know When Looking for Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 08, 2019
Spring Arbor Senior Living - Assisted Living in Greensboro, NC

As you look for assisted living for yourself or for your loved one. Here are some things you need to know while you are choosing one.

Understand what services assisted living does, and does not, provide.

In general, assisted living is residential care that provides some services. It could be a large corporate facility, a mid-sized non-profit facility, a board-and-care home where one or two people live in spare bedrooms of private home, or professionally managed small group homes.

Assisted Living is generally less expensive and less structured than skilled nursing. When making a choice, think about the level of assistance you or your loved one will need. If your mom needs full-time help from a private duty aide, independent living might be more cost effective.

Dementia.

Half to two-thirds of assisted living residents have some cognitive impairment. But that represents a wide range of care needs.

While some dementia patients may need skilled care, many do not and can do very well with the help of high-quality aides. All dementia aides need special training and time to get to know their residents, but they can do an excellent job in a residential care setting. People with dementia need to be in good care settings with custom care plans.

Regulatory trade-offs.

Assisted living is far less regulated than skilled nursing and the rules vary widely from state to state. But there is a trade-off: More regulation does not mean better care. States need to balance the health and safety needs of residents with autonomy.

Keep in mind that many of the most creative senior service solutions over the past few decades have come in less regulated settings. It is not easy to be creative if you are running a highly-regulated nursing facility.

If you have a bad feeling about a place, leave.

There are a number of adult children who are concerned about the quality of their parent’s care. Often family members rationalized these fears. The message is: If a place doesn’t feel right or you have concerns that you feel are not being addressed, leave.

There are bad assisted living facilities. But most are not bad and many are great and just like home. Run well, assisted living facilities fill an important niche. But to get the most out of them, be a discerning shopper and strong advocate.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

Forbes

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