10 Things to Know About Senior Living Facilities
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There are about 38,000 to 40,000 assisted living facilities (ALF) nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is despite the senior living facility arrangement being a relatively newcomer compared to say, nursing homes.
Each community is unique. Some allow pets, while others sell their Wi-Fi internet connectivity. Yet, others only work with experienced assisted living developers, so they can offer special services such as digital health monitoring.
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know but absolutely need to now.
1. Assisted living facilities are not nursing homes
Assisted living facilities are ideal for seniors that want to continue exploring their independence while receiving professional help in some other increasingly tough-to-do areas such as grocery shopping, housekeeping, and driving.
Nursing homes are ideal for seniors that mostly rely on personal care aides and likely need medical care.
2. Still, assisted living facilities are high-care
Many ALF communities now offer advanced services such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other memory care services, as examples.
Residents, or their adult children, can choose to transition to higher-level care as the need arises.
3. Assisted living facilities are regulated at the state level
The federal government regulates nursing homes, which the local governments also regulate.
Senior living communities are regulated at the state level. So if you want to see care standards expected in assisted living facilities near you, check your state government’s website.
4. Your fees may be tax-deductible
Your medical and dental fees are eligible for the deductions if you are a taxpayer, 65 years or older, and you've itemized your deductions.
The deductions apply whether you are taken care of at a care facility or at home. So, ask your accountant and care facility about it from the start.
5. You can pick the right cultural fit, too
You are free to choose your preferred community cultures based on religious affiliation, social activity, location, luxury senior living, and other types of community traits. Whatever makes you happy, you can pick it.
6. Some provide services a la carte
You can also decide which services to “subscribe” for and which ones to avoid if you feel you’ll get better value for your time and money that way.
Of course, pick a facility that explicitly provides a la carte services.
7. Read contracts carefully
Transparent senior living facilities reveal the level of care you can expect in a contract that you’ll sign before joining the community.
Factors such as fees, nutrition type, dressings, personal care aide access, and medical attention are all outlined therein. Be sure to understand what you are getting from the beginning by reading the print.
8. You can use Medicaid
Some communities will outright reveal this, but some don’t. So, if you feel you need your health insurance to finance your senior living care, be sure to ask right at the beginning.
It helps to know exactly how you’ll transition from paying out of pocket to Medicaid.
9. With a bit of research, you can tell how good a facility is
One area to watch out for is a high turnover rate of personal care aides. It could mean the facility doesn't take good care of its staff welfare, which can translate to inadequate care for you or your loved one.
In 2016, for example, The Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Service revealed a 37% turnover rate among personal aides in assisted living facilities and 35% among all staff.
Also, check your local state website for details about senior living community violations. Plus, the resource on the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services website.
10. Newer senior living facilities are ideal
A growing trend is to help seniors enjoy their golden years without the stress of having to adjust too drastically to new environments. That's why the best assisted living facilities right now offer a smooth transition for seniors.
For example, Varenita of Simi Valley, an NAHB Gold Award-winning residential community, is located within a shopping center. That gives seniors a familiar environment where they can access groceries, prescriptions, and dining options within a short walking distance.
Many baby boomers are used to such a living situation, so it would be a natural transition that doesn’t stress them out.
And now you know. Have a question you’d like to know from an experienced assisted living developer?