Assisted Living Near Me – How To Find The Best
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In this Section, we discuss assisted living options. In other words, facilities that offer seniors real assistive services and amenities. There thousands of options.
Don’t panic. Although assisted living options can appear overwhelming, CarePlanIt is help you, not sell you. We help you find the best assisted living options nearby, cross-town, or in another state. You’ve got this if you do the following:
Identify & Narrow Your Options
The sheer volume of options for assisted living facilities makes finding the right one a challenge. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we created CarePlanIt. Despite the hundreds of descriptions of senior living facilities, Carmen and I discovered that there were only three ways to live: independent, assisted, and dependent.
We call this the IAD model. Always keep it in mind. Let’s restate this simple notion. There are only three ways to live: independent, assisted, and dependent. We call this the IAD model. Always keep it in mind. Let’s restate this simple notion. There are only three ways to live: independent, assisted, and dependent. You can review details of the IAD model here. But what the IAD model does is provide us with a rule of thumb to ask questions. For assisted living facilities, “What is the assistance?”
Why The IAD Model Helps
The IAD model sounds incredibly simple, but when you review most senior facilities you’ll see that they market to your emotions. In other words, they’ll talk about wellness, fine dining, loving support, and the stunning setting.
Shoppers need to focus on, “What is the assistance?” If one of the facility’s services is meals, the question should focus on the meals.
Be Honest With Your Needs: Now & In The Future
It’s also your job to be honest about your needs now and in the future. Today you may need a little assistance, but tomorrow you may need a lot more. Make sure you understand all the services and amenities provided by the facility. Otherwise, you may discover the hard way that you have to move after a short time.
Initially, we may think the facility offers more services than we need. However, over time, our needs will likely increase. Carmen and I, for example, know that there will come a time when we need assistance. When it comes, we plan to move to a facility that can offer minimal assistance (housework, meals, etc.) and more assistance as we grow older (i.e., rehabilitative care, medication management, etc.).
The Basics Of Assistance In Housing Options
Assisted living housing refers to facilities that assist. The senior housing industry (SHI) clearly defines assisted living relative to dependent living via instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and activities of daily living (ADLs). IADLs for example, include services meals, house cleaning, transportation, medication management, housekeeping, and laundry. You can learn more about IADLs here.
Think about IADLs as the activities or tasks you want your college-age kids to learn so they can live independently. As we grow old, these same activities and tasks become more difficult for us to do ourselves. Assisted living facilities provide some or all of these services. They also vary in size, location, and staff.
The leading providers of assisted living communities are large corporations that own a hundred or more facilities across multiple states housing thousands of seniors. Many also provide a full range of seniors services and offer independent, assisted, and dependent living options. In fact, some facilities offer all these levels of care; others specialize in one category. At the core of these companies’ offerings are assisted living facilities.
Many of the largest assisted living housing providers also own health service companies. In other words, these providers offer senior services like in-home health care, physical therapy, rehabilitation services, and hospice care. They bill themselves as full-service providers.
Remember Aging At Home May Require Costly Assistance
One more important issue. Aging at home requires assistance, and over time, lots of assistance. In other words, you’ll likely bring help into your home as you age, and this is a form of assisted living. But technically, it’s called Aging At Home. If you need or require lots of assistance, it can become dependent care. If you or a loved one is at this stage, see our discussion of dependent care here.
Regardless, never forget that when you price assisted living facilities, compare the services they provide to what it would cost you to have someone provide them in your home. In other words, don’t underestimate caregiving costs because you don’t live in an assisted living facility.
How To Find Assisted Living Near Me
If you type in assisted living into Google, you’re bombarded with listings and ads for senior housing. You’re also likely overwhelmed by how many organizations want to help you. Remember that everyone that advertises on Google probably makes money when you call them for housing help. CarePlanIt doesn’t. Here’s the big picture of the “I need help finding seniors assisted living industry.” In other words, use these three resources when identifying, reviewing and selecting assisted living options.
Consulting & Placement Services
Assisted means you need assistance to live. Your having challenges performing your IADLs and maybe one or two of your ADLs. You can get help at your current home, or look to move to an assisted living facility. There are two categories of assisted living consulting services that can help you. One group focuses on helping you find assisted living facilities that meet your budget and care needs, the other finds people to send to your home to help.
Consulting Placement Service Can Help Find Assisted Living Facilities
There are companies that specialize in helping you find assisted living facilities. They can be national or local. Some can meet with you in person, or assess your needs over the phone or via the internet. However, they all follow a similar process.
- Assess the senior IADL and ADL needs
- Identify senior’s budget
- Discuss senior’s desired amenities and services given their needs and budget
- Determine the geographic location preferences of the seniors
- Create a list of assisted living facilities meeting the needs above
- Set up site visits so the senior can see their options
- Help managing the transition from current home to new home
The company usually gets paid by the assisted living facility. Usually, it’s the equivalent of a month or two of rent. This means you don’t have to pay. However, it also means the placement consultant probably won’t refer you to any facility that doesn’t pay them a commission.
The big kahuna of the industry is A Place For Mom. They are one of a couple of national players. However, there are usually local players in your state. Some of the local players operate as case managers. The senior case managers on staff perform care assessments and develop senior care plans. After the assessment, they recommend living options. In these circumstances, the companies charge an hourly or flat fee for the case manager’s work,
National players that refer seniors to assisted living facilities.
Senior And Geriatric Case Managers Can Help Find Assisted Living Facilities
Senior and geriatric case managers are trained in a number of disciplines enabling them to assess the health, housing, and support needs of seniors. They usually operate locally which makes them local resource experts. They are often knowledgeable of local resources available from the government, community, and religious sources. Here are some of the services they provide.
Local players that refer seniors to assisted living facilities. Local players tend to use case or care managers and charge by the hour or flat fees for their services.
Help With In-Home Care
As we’ve discussed in our Aging In Place section here, most seniors want to stay home. However, their needs increase as they age. These needs involve ADLs and IADLs. The companies that place helpers in a senior’s home focus on addressing ADLs and IADLs. But they are not professional medical care providers and usually won’t talk in too much detail about ADLs and IADLs. If they do, they’re making a medical assessment of the senior’s needs and this can create liability issues if they provide the wrong help, or provide too little.
Instead, in-home care providers talk about “personal care,” “personal assistance services,” “housekeeping,” “companionship,” and “assistance waking up and going to sleep.” Here are some of the services they provide. But their terminology doesn’t really matter if they provide the services you or a loved one needs.
Although the in-home care providers won’t classify their services as ADL or IADL services, CarePlanIt does. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck.
Home Care Services Related To ADLs
We will describe the ADL first and what the in-home care provider may call it in parenthesis.
Home Care Services Related To IADLs
We’ll describe the IADL first and what the in-home care provider may call it in parenthesis.
HOME CARE SERVICES Outside Traditional ADLs or IADLS
These services fall outside the help a senior needs to perform daily activities. For example, services related to the psychological needs of the senior and the senior’s family.
Assisted Living Housing Providers
Large assisted living housing providers offer multi-unit residences in a variety of forms. They include senior communities and apartments. Their services and amenities is discussed in detail here. Their websites are good sources of information.
The largest assisted living companies and their websites are presented below. They do a pretty good job of explaining their services and options. Keep in mind that visiting facilities is always your best option.
Assisted living facilities provide a variety of services. The more common services are listed below.
Some are very large and provide comprehensive services that include meals, medication management, help with managing finances, cleaning, laundry, transportation, and help to shower. However, others are smaller and offer limited services like cleaning and laundry services. In other words, there are lots of combinations in between.
There are numerous government resources devoted to housing. We cover most of them in Growing Retirement Resources here. However, the majority of government housing programs DO NOT support assisted living. The largest government program for senior housing is Medicaid. This is a program for the poor. From a housing perspective, funds are almost exclusively used to support the poor in nursing homes. In other words, the government pays for qualifying seniors (i.e., the poor) to live in nursing homes. But Medicaid funds generally do not support assisted living.
Government Support For Assisted Living Comes Through State Programs
However, this is starting to change. The government funnels Medicaid aid through state programs. Many state programs realize that seniors who qualify for Medicaid nursing home support can be cared for in less expensive ways. For example, some states are experimenting with paying relatives to care for parents in their existing homes. some government programs are beginning to support forms of assisted living.
These and other programs usually fall under something called Optional State Supplements (OSS). These programs are state-based financial help provided on top of the federal SSI benefit. OSS benefit amounts differ for each recipient/ Also, they vary depending on the type of residence (i.e. at home or in assisted living). Social Security provides some financial support for assisted living into OSS programs.
How CarePlanIt Categorizes Assisted Living Facilities
CarePlanIt categorizes assisted facilities into two categories: assisted living residences (ALRs) and Board and Care Facilities. The difference is largely legal.
Assisted Living Residences
Every state actively and aggressively regulates ALRs. Board and Care Facilities are less regulated and smaller. In fact, size is a major definitional element of ALRs. ALRs come in many sizes and provide a wide array of services. You can see our section on ALRs here.
Board & Care Facilities
Board and Care Facilities can only serve a limited number of residents. Usually 20 or below. You can see our section on Board and Care Facilities here.