Assisted living is an option for those seniors who just need a little assistance to get through their day. You want to find the right facility for you or your loved one, so knowing what to expect and what to look for is crucial. To find the best community, you need to do your research and find out what is the best option. It’s not only important to think about what meets your needs now, but also what is a good fit in the future.
This article explains what to look for in assisted living including the financial costs, saving money, what to ask a community, finding coverage through insurance or government programs, and included services.
Assisted Living helps seniors live their daily lives. They often provide various services outlined below.
Daily reminders for prescription medications along with help making additional appointments such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy.
Personal grooming assistance such as bathing, getting dressed, or other hygiene.
Regular well-balanced meals and snacks.
Transportation to doctor appointments, personal shopping errands, or worship.
Housekeeping services such as cleaning and laundry.
You can utilize assisted living services at a residential community, large group home, or even in your home. If you choose to live in your home, you can hire help such as a housekeeper, visiting nurse or health aide, or have live-in help to contribute with all daily life necessities.
Typically, an assisted living community offers private residence or an apartment to seniors and has public or shared areas such as a dining hall, sitting rooms, outdoor gathering areas, and fitness center. In addition, many assisted living communities provide residents continuum care. When more medical assistance is needed, the resident can just transfer to the skilled nursing home.
There are more than 1,144 licensed assisted living facilities in Missouri, with 57 in Kansas City.
Each assisted living community is required to employ a licensed Nursing Home Administrator.
The Department of Health and Senior Services regularly inspects these communities.
In Kansas City, assisted living care costs are lower than the national average of $3,628 monthly. In 2016, the monthly average for assisted living care in Kansas City is around $3,000. If you are considering living at home in Kansas City, home health aide services average $4,195 a month.
You will need to do your research and know what to ask each facility when you do your visits. The whole process can be overwhelming. It is extremely beneficial to know what your monthly bill includes, other services offered, and what the community does to handle a resident’s health change.
Here are some other questions for you to consider:
Is there a plan of care for each resident, and how often is it reviewed?
What is the process for assessing a resident’s need for additional services?
Are there additional services and is there a list with all these additional costs?
Are there different levels of care? If so, what are the price differences?
Do residents need to purchase renters insurance to cover contents?
Do the apartments come furnished?
Are you allowed to decorate?
What is the complaints process and how are complaints handled?
Does billing seem fair to you?
Are cable, internet, and phone services offered for each residence? If so, how is billing handled?
Is there a nurse on staff 24/7?
How often are services like therapy offered?
Is transportation offered? Can you secure a ride with a short notice appointment?
What are the training requirements and certifications required for staff?
Is housekeeping provided or is it an additional charge?
Is there a hair salon/barber shop on site?
Are pets allowed? If so, what are the limitations and additional charges?
Are there kitchens in each residence?
May residents store food in their apartment?
How is medication administered?
Are snacks available in the dining hall?
For more questions like these, check out Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Community.
You do not have to compromise on the quality of your care to save money. In order to get an idea of ways to save, you first need to examine which option is the best fit for you. If you stay in your home and hire services, you will need to take into account more than just your mortgage (if necessary), property taxes, and the cost of services.
You will need to also consider any ongoing maintenance and updates you need to do to your home. If these costs add up and are more expensive than the monthly bill at an assisted living facility, you may want to consider selling your home. If your home is paid off and doesn’t need many updates, you may save money by hiring help such as a health aide and housekeeper to assist you.
Having a roommate will save a tremendous amount of money if you can live with another person. You can have a roommate in some assisted living communities or even have someone in your home to help split all expenses. If you choose to live at home with a roommate, you may want to have a written agreement that details the living arrangement and responsibilities of each person.
If you have limited assets, you should ask assisted living communities if they have a sliding scale rate based on your financial situation. There are non-profit organizations that also offer assisted living to low-income seniors at a low rate.
If you qualify for Medicaid or VA assistance, these organizations will usually pay for assisted living expenses. If you have a long-term care insurance policy, it will also pay for assisted living. Make sure you understand your coverage limits and policy exclusions.
If you prefer to pay cash, you can sell your home and use the proceeds to pay for your care. However, if you want to keep your home, you may want to consider a reverse mortgage, which is based on the equity you have in your home. You should research the reverse mortgage including fees and tax implications, or discuss the specifics with a HUD-certified counselor or your financial advisor.
Find assisted living in Kansas City near you.