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How to Find the Perfect Assisted Living Facility

In the 21st century, we’re living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Still, aging catches up to all of us eventually. Even if we don’t have any major health concerns, we may start to need a little assistance preparing meals, taking a shower, or climbing stairs, for example.

Assisted living was created for precisely this purpose: to provide seniors with help for activities of daily living (ADL) such as housekeeping, meals, bathing, and errands. In 1983, Keren Brown Wilson developed the original model, known as “living with assistance,” in Portland, Oregon. It was a huge success, and the assisted living concept took off.

Tillman Pink Jr. held a similar vision. He launched Glen Park just a few years after Wilson’s inaugural community, based on the principles of superior care, excellent service, responsiveness, and unwavering respect for life.

Today, our communities in Glendale, Monrovia, Long Beach, and Valley Village continue to provide innovative assisted living services and amenities designed to improve the quality of life for seniors throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

What Is An Assisted Living Community?

In an assisted living community, residents want and receive some supportive care. Assisted living is also a good choice if a senior needs help to get to appointments.

Some of the services an assisted living community provides typically include:

  •      Assistance with ADL (bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, etc.)
  •      Housekeeping
  •      Laundry
  •      Medication management
  •      Meals
  •      Social activities
  •      Transportation
  •      Health services
  •      Wellness programs

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

Selecting the best community for your loved one depends on a number of factors, beginning with geography. For example, does the senior prefer living:

  •     In a city or suburban setting?
  •     In a warm climate, or one with four seasons?
  •     Near a major medical center, or close to shopping and entertainment?
  •     Close to children and grandchildren?

While some of these considerations are not mutually exclusive, it’s important to know what matters most to the senior, and what will best support their well being as they age.

Once you determine the ideal location, aim to visit between three and six assisted living communities. Here’s a brief checklist of what to look for:

General Environment:

  •      Are building and grounds pleasing and well maintained?
  •      Is the ambiance home-like, and suited to the senior’s needs?
  •      Did the staff greet you warmly? Address you by name?
  •      Is the community clean, odor-free, and properly heated/cooled?
  •      Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the community and staff?
  •      Do the residents seem like a good match for your loved one?

Physical Features:

  •      Are doorways, halls, and rooms wheelchair and walker accessible?
  •     Do common areas and rooms have handrails, non-skid floors, and carpets, good lighting, cupboards and shelves within easy reach?
  •     Are smoke detectors and exits clearly marked?
  •     Are different sizes and types of apartments available?
  •     Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the apartment?
  •     Is housekeeping provided for personal living spaces?
  •     Are residents able to bring their own furnishings? What’s provided?
  •     May residents have cars? Is there assigned parking?
  •     Is there an area for resident gardening?

Dining:

  •      How many meals are served each day in a common dining area?
  •      How often do the menus change?
  •      Are snacks available?
  •      Does the residence accommodate special diets?
  •      Are residents allowed to invite guests for meals?

Social and Recreational Activities

  •     Are there organized daily activities and events?
  •     Does the community encourage residents to participate in activities?
  •     Do residents also participate in activities in town?
  •     Do volunteers, including family members, come to the community to help with or to conduct programs?
  •     Is there a community pet?
  •     Are residents’ pets allowed in the community? Who is responsible for their care?

Services & Amenities

  •     Is staff available 24/7 to help with ADL if needed?
  •     Is there a hair salon on the premises?
  •     Does the community provide scheduled transportation for medical appointments, shopping, etc.? Can residents arrange for transportation on short notice?
  •     What are the exercise and wellness programs like?

Staff

  •     Do staff members receive special training in caring for residents with dementia?
  •     Do staff members handle resident requests in a timely way?
  •     Can residents hire private duty companions? What is the procedure for this type of service?
  •     Does the director have an “open door” policy?
  •     Who owns the assisted living community?
  •     Is the residence licensed? Is the license current? (Ask to review the last licensing or certification report.)

6 Tips to Select A Community Your Loved One Will Love

Moving is a major decision at any life stage, even more so in our senior years. To ensure you and your loved one make the best decision for his or her future:

  1.   Don’t rush. Remember when you bought a house? It probably wasn’t the first one you saw. Start well in advance of the move, and visit at least three to six communities over a period of weeks.
  2.  Be thorough. A high price tag doesn’t necessarily equate to quality care. This is why the checklist is so important. Many excellent assisted living facilities are quite affordable, with well- trained, caring staff. Look for signs that the seniors who live there are comfortable, content, and well cared for.
  3.  Get input. Ask other family members to visit with you, or at another time, and exchange impressions. You might also seek the services of a professional such as a geriatric care manager or senior living advisor. When everyone is on the same page, make a decision.
  4.  Select for who the senior is now. An assisted living community that has a swimming pool when your parent hasn’t been in the water in decades is planning for an outdated perception: understandable, but not realistic. Choose a community that matches your loved one’s current needs.
  5.  Plan for the future. By the same token, choose a community where your loved one can “age in place” without having to move again if their needs change. At Glen Park, we’re dedicated to the unique needs of residents with memory impairment. We also partner with Five Star Home Hospice to help those in our care face the end of life.
  6.  Read the fine print. Make sure you understand the fine print in the contract. You may wish to review it with an elder law attorney before you sign.
    Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Senior Financial Planning: How to Pay for Assisted Living

Living at Glen Park is a wonderful way to enjoy all the comforts of home in your senior years, without the headache of maintaining a house. Our thoughtfully designed apartments, exceptional dining, and lively activities tailored to your loved one’s interests and abilities make Glen Park Healthy Living the ideal choice for affordable assisted living.

Of course, the key to worry-free senior living is smart financial planning, before you need the money. The annual Genworth Cost of Care Survey found the median cost of assisted living in the Los Angeles area was $54,000 in 2018.

Let’s look at the best ways to help make assisted living affordable.

What Do Medicare and Medicaid Cover?

People tend to think of Medicare and Medicaid in a single breath, like peanut butter and jelly. But the two programs, while complementary, address distinct aspects of senior health care and finances. And neither offers blanket coverage for assisted living, despite this misconception.

Medicare will only cover long-term care in certain circumstances:

  •     Qualified medical care in a hospital
  •     Short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility (SNF)
  •     Nursing home care (as long as the resident requires nursing care and not simply “custodial assistance” with daily needs such as bathing, dressing, and eating, which fall under assisted living)
  •     Hospice care
  •     Home health care, including physical and occupational therapy, as medically prescribed.

Although Medicare will not cover the cost of an assisted living residence, it will cover qualified health care costs incurred while a senior is living in an assisted living facility.

There will also usually be out-of-pocket copayments unless the Medicare recipient has additional insurance or another form of financial aid that covers these charges. Therefore, Medicare is a temporary or partial resource, not a long-term subsidized housing solution.

Because federal and state laws affect Medicare’s various plans, it’s essential to know what coverage you have. Medicare.gov explains the different types of coverage and simply provides an easy way for you to check whether your service or test is covered.

What about Medicaid? Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 7.2 million low-income seniors who are also enrolled in Medicare. Services that are covered by both programs are paid first by Medicare, with Medicaid funding the difference, up to each state’s payment ceiling.

However, Medicaid generally does not pay for assisted living, unless the cost is less than that of a nursing home. In these situations, a Medicaid Waiverfunds the needed services.

A California-Specific Program

In California, The Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP) serves seniors who need long-term assistance with personal care and household tasks.

The California Department of Health and Human Services requires participants in this program to contribute to their room and board costs. In 2019, this rate is approximately $1039 – $1059 per month, depending on a senior’s income.

Six Financially Savvy Ways to Afford Assisted Living

  1.   Veteran’s Benefits: Veterans and spouses of veterans may qualify for aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Although the VA does not pay the veteran’s housing costs, it may cover some of the services provided by an assisted living facility.

Known as Aid & Attendance (A&A), this benefit is a monthly needs-based payment above and beyond the VA pension that can help cover the costs of long-term care. It is important to note that a veteran or surviving spouse may only receive Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits, not both at once.

In order to be eligible for A&A benefits, a veteran must meet at least one of these criteria:

  •     Need assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, dressing, eating, or adjusting prosthetic devices;
  •     Be bedridden;
  •     Reside in a nursing home due to mental or physical impairment;
  •     Have severe visual impairment, with a correction of 5/200 or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

Eligibility varies, but the benefits can be significant. Contact the Glendale area Veteran Affairs office to determine whether your loved one qualifies.

  1.   Long-term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can be tricky. While it appears to be a natural hedge against a future possibility of becoming ill or disabled, it’s not an all-inclusive solution. Here’s why:
  •     LTCI premiums can be as steep as the cost of care itself.
  •     What is covered varies by policy. For example, a “facility-only” policy covers care in a licensed assisted living facility or SNF, but not in an unlicensed facility or in your own home.
  •     There is usually a waiting period before someone is able to access funds. The shorter the elimination period you select, the more expensive the premiums.

Also, some LTCI insurers may ask for a physician evaluation — of the insurance company’s choice — to see if a senior’s condition qualifies for coverage, which may be determined in part by their ability to perform two or more activities of daily living.

  1.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a federal income program administered through the U.S. Social Security Administration. It’s distinct from Social Security, which is based on the number of years worked and amount of tax paid.

SSI is also different from the similar-sounding SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), which is a payroll tax-funded, a federal insurance program designed to assist people who are unable to work due to a disability.

SSI functions independent of your employment history. Even if you have never paid into Social Security, if your income is below a certain threshold and you’re 65 or older, you can receive SSI benefits. You can check a senior’s SSI eligibility.

Seniors may choose to use their SSI benefit to help cover the costs of senior housing. Some assisted living facilities will work out payment arrangements with individuals in need of care. These arrangements typically involve accepting the person’s SSI income as full payment.

  1.  Life insurance. Many life insurance policies have a provision for long-term care benefits, which can be less expensive than a long-term care policy. Additionally, if you or your parent has been paying premiums on a life insurance policy for more than a decade, you may be able to tap the policy’s built-up cash value.

Just be aware that if you borrow or withdraw more than what you’ve already paid in premiums, you’ll owe tax. Talk with your financial advisor before taking this step.

  1.  Housing Choice Voucher Program. More commonly known as Section 8,this low-income option, offered through HUD, enables low-income residents to rent “safe and reasonable” apartments or other accommodations. While the program is not senior-specific (that is, not contingent on age), many assisted living facilities to accept Section 8 payment.
  2.  Sell the House. Finally, if your loved one has sufficient equity in their home, the simplest solution may be to sell the home and use the proceeds to pay for assisted living.

We look forward to welcoming you home to Glen Park Healthy Living!

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

Benefits of Long Beach Assisted Living

Long Beach provides an essential location for hospice patients to enjoy the moment. The city mainly integrates family-owned restaurants that cater to the community in an exceptional manner. Family-owned businesses set the tone for the area of a shared space, welcoming new and experienced residents of Long Beach assisted living areas.

The California Effect

Clients that choose Long Beach enjoy the luxury of the beach at reach, care at hand, and support at will — it’s what we call, the California Effect. Blue skies and palm trees deem the utmost location for hospice care. The sea breeze and California sunshine provides ultimate areas to relax and focus on the bigger picture — life. Combining social care with medical care, the health of the patient stands as an integral component for family members to trust hospice programs. Hospice care focuses on the health and quality of life in contrast to the length of it.

But, what exactly is hospice care, and who needs it? Hospice care comforts and assists patients and their loved ones when the patient ceases to benefit from medical treatment. Life expectancy of hospice patients varies in age, therefore hospice programs cater to unique patient-needs at all times. Most hospice programs, especially Glen Park Assisted Living, offers 24/7 care to patients and offers highly secured facilities for the safety of its patients. Highly trained individuals help programs engage hospice audiences for a relaxing experience.

Hospice Services

Hospice services are performed by qualified professionals, including physicians, counselors, aides, therapists, social workers and volunteers, who are authorized and trained for medical care and support services for patient wellness and treatment. Family caregivers and friends benefit from patient use of hospice programs. It allows knowledgeable staff members to take on the task to support at an official medical level.

Many hospice programs incorporate daily activities for the patient to stimulate the mind and body. In accordance with the most modern practices, hospice programs in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, and Long Beach Assisted Living) notes the emotional, social, and spiritual impact of all patient diseases. In latest practices, professionals integrate yoga, art, and therapeutic talks, freeing patient minds and bodies from stressful conditions.

Medicare, part of the Social Security Administration, provides hospice benefits for those who qualify at age 65 and older. Certain qualifications apply, therefore, we highly recommend checking with the federal Social Security Administration to review your health insurance plan with your primary health provider.

We strongly believe that all residents should have access to beneficial hospice care. Social care is a concept that assembles trained staff to help ease the situation of patients and family members at a highly professional environment mimicking home standards.