When Should I Consider an Assisted Lifestyle?
There are so many criteria one can evaluate, but you should start with a medical evaluation with your family physician to rule out any temporary condition that could make living independently difficult or dangerous for you or your loved one. Generally speaking, when one cannot take care of activities of daily living (ADLs) needs safely such as, cooking, cleaning, driving – because of physical or other limitations and in-home care is not an option, then sheltered living is a safe and reasonable solution.
Planning for the Costs of Care
Skilled Nursing Care is typically either covered under long-term care insurance, private pay, or Medicaid. Residents of Assisted Lifestyle facilities use private pay to cover the costs. This could include using personal savings, pensions and/or social security to cover the costs, or using a long term care insurance policy. Medicaid and other federal programs do not pay for the costs of assisted or sheltered care living.
How Do I Make The Transition?
This is a big change for anyone, so doing your homework is important. Here are a few tips:
- Take time to research the many options, and list out what is important in terms of a living space to you and your loved one
- Start looking at facilities well before you may need one – many have waiting lists, and you want to be able to make the decision based on what is best for you, and not feel rushed by an urgent need
- Visit a facility more than once on different days and times to get a good sense of how other residents are interacting and how the staff meets their needs
- Work with an eldercare specialist team – this may be a lawyer specializing in eldercare issues, a geriatric care manager or a social worker, who can help to clarify questions and make sure resources are available to care for you or your loved one
- Eldercare or senior care attorneys can assist with advising on managing assets including the sale of a home, power of attorney for health and property, guardianship issues, wills and estates and more
- Understand what type of private insurance, Medicare coverage, or long-term care coverage you or your loved one has and how they work
- Once you make the decision to move, ease the transition by including your loved one in deciding what personal items to take, keeping things organized and easy to see in their new living space, and visiting them often
- Be involved! A licensed sheltered care facility will have all kinds of activities to engage residents, and they always welcome friends and family along – this is a great way to keep your loved one feeling connected and purposeful
- Expect some bumps along the way – this is a difficult transition for any adult, and your loved one may not fully appreciate or understand the reasons behind the decision; just know they need a lot of positive encouragement and support from you