Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home


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How to Choose a Facility?

Consider your preferred location. Some people desire a location near doctors and a major hospital, while others prefer a location central to shopping and entertainment. You may desire a location near your children and grandchildren. Decide what features you desire in your living space. You may want an extra bedroom for a guest or desire a kitchenette or patio for entertaining. Think about the amenities and activities that bring you joy.

Assisted living communities may have pools, movie theaters, art studios, putting greens and on-site cafes, salons and bars. Additionally, it is important to carefully consider the safety and assistance features you need now and those you may need in the future, especially if you have a progressive disease, such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. While presently you may only need a grab bar in the shower and housekeeping assistance, in the future you may need wheelchair access and assistance showering and dressing.

Finally, set a budget. Prioritize your list from what you must have to what you would like to have and look for communities that match your needs. What to Look for in Assisted Living Once you have found an assisted living facility that meets your needs, schedule a guided tour of the location. Take a list of questions for the staff, and take a friend or family member for that trusted second opinion. How are services billed? Can I continue to see my own physicians? Can I have a pet and my own furniture? Can I come and go as I please? Are any activities prohibited in private rooms or apartments?

What training and background checks are required of staff? Is there a registered nurse or other medical professional available at all times? What happens if I run out of money? Do you participate in Medicare, Medicaid, VA Aid and Assistance, long-term care insurance or any other payment program? What circumstances would force a resident to move out of the facility?

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If I require a higher level of care in the future, is that available at this community? If one is considering Medicaid as a possible source of funding for nursing home care in the long term, they need to carefully consider the implications before selling their home. A home, when occupied by the homeowners, is considered an exempt asset by Medicaid.

However, if the home is sold, the resulting sum of cash is not considered exempt by Medicaid and the individual will be required to spend all of the proceeds on their care costs before they can become eligible for Medicaid. Seniors and couples in this situation should strongly consider consulting with a Medicaid planning profession.


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Short-term loans are available to pay for care while waiting for a home to sell. Another consideration when selling the home is how to pay for care in the time it takes to sell a home. As of early , it takes on average 3 months to sell a home. While obviously this depends on the local real estate market, it is worth noting that homes that have not been modernized take even longer than average to sell.

Most homes owned by seniors have not been modernized. Fortunately, there are eldercare loans designed specifically to help seniors fund residential care while they are waiting for their homes to sell. In summary, selling a home to pay for residential care is a good financial option, but not a good option for everyone. This is not a decision that should be made independent of having a lifetime financial plan for long-term care. Renting a home to pay for care instead of selling it only makes sense if the house is paid off or the mortgage payments are very low. Renting one's home and using the monthly income to help offset the cost of residential care is a very good option as it can provide cash on an ongoing basis but only if many other conditions are met.

Obviously, the individual s in need of care cannot reside in the home and therefore it is only appropriate for persons going into residential care, be that assisted living or a nursing home. Furthermore, it only makes sense to rent the home instead of selling it if the mortgage is paid off or if the monthly payments are very low.


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To make sense, the rent money will have to cover the mortgage, any home maintenance and still have enough left over where it can contribute significantly towards the cost of care. It is also challenging for elderly individuals in residential care to play the role of landlord. Usually there needs to be another family member willing to take on this responsibility or there is another added expense of a property management company.

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Another consideration is whether the homeowner has sufficient savings to withstand the interrupted cash flow of an unexpected tenant vacancy. Given all these conditions, there is a limited set for whom home rentals are a good way to pay for care. It is usually a good option if one or both spouses intend to return to living in the home after some period of time.

For example, sometimes when one spouse is ill and the other in good health, both spouses may choose to move to an assisted living residence. The ill spouse may eventually pass away or it may be medically necessary to move to a nursing home. At which time, the healthy spouse may wish to return to living in their home. Couples with higher value homes which can command a good deal of rent are better suited for this option as well because the income can make a significant contribution toward the cost of care and higher value homes tend to attract more stable tenants.

Renting a home is not an option for those considering Medicaid. Renting a home is not an option for those who are considering Medicaid as a possible source of financial assistance for long-term care. This is because if the home is not lived in by the homeowners, then Medicaid does not consider the home to be an exempt asset. In order to qualify, they must either live in the home or sell the home and use the proceeds to pay for care. In summary, renting a home is a good option for couples in mixed health or of mixed ages that will require residential care for some defined period of time and intend to return to the home in the future.

Residents mostly come from living in apartments or private homes. Some come from living with other family members or adult children. Others come from independent living communities or another assisted living facility.

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Do they look happy? Are they clean and well groomed? Are there stains on their clothing, have the men been shaved, do the ladies have painted nails?


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It is important to observe the interaction between the caregivers and the residents. How do the caregivers handle aggressive or confused residents?

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Check to see if the caregivers are happy with their job and likely to provide good care. Try to visit during mealtime or sample a meal.

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Is the kitchen clean and does it smell good? Check out the refrigerator and see if the food is labeled and covered. Check the menu plan to see if it is balanced. Can the residence handle any special dietary needs of your loved one? When it comes down to it, you want a place where your family feels welcome, your loved one is happy, part of a community.

They should be active, taken care of and safe, fed well and cared about just like if they were living with you. You need a senior living home that you can visit whenever you want. Something that will fit into your budget, provide your loved one with genuine one-on-one time without charging extra for you. What you really want is peace of mind that you are making the right choice. At Lighthouse Elder Care we know we are the right choice for you.

Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home
Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home
Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home
Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home
Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home
Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home
Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home Inside Assisted Living: The Search for Home

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