Assisted living means different things to different people, but no matter how you use it, it is a valuable part of many seniors lives. New Orleans has a few different options for assisted living, so you should know all of the information before you decide on your care plan. This guide will teach you about the services available, the general cost, things to ask, and ways to pay and save money with these services.
Many seniors aren’t quite sure what assisted living means and often get it confused with nursing homes. In simple terms, assisted living services are for seniors that don’t need intensive nursing care but do need help with daily chores. Assisted living services might include:
Housecleaning chores like sweeping, dusting, or cleaning up after meals and activities.
Meal preparation and planning. This can include making a list, going to the store, making the meal, and then cleaning up.
Laundry services which could include clean linens as needed.
Errand services, if you aren’t able to get out of the house yourself.
Transportation to appointments or daily errands like grocery shopping.
Reminders to do therapy, take medicine, or do any other type of treatment necessary.
Personal grooming assistance like bathing or getting dressed.
You can customize your care plan and services to fit your needs. You might use other services not listed here; it’s all up to you and your provider. You can also choose where you would like to be when you get assistance. If you want to stay in your home that is entirely possible with the help of a homemaker or home health aide.
You don’t have to stay in your house if you don’t want to or it’s not an option. Assisted living facilities are located throughout New Orleans and usually set up with private residences. There are some that are more like an apartment building with a community center, and some even have shared rooms. All will help with daily tasks and offer amenities like swimming pools or fitness classes.
New Orleans is home to about seven licensed assisted living facilities and numerous in-home health care providers.
Louisiana has four different levels of assisted living, also called Adult Residential Care.
Level one is a personal care home that serves at least two and no more than eight seniors in a setting most like a single family home.
Level two is a shelter care home that can serve up to sixteen residents with a community group center and private or shared rooms.
Level three includes assisted living facilities that serve two or more residents with a private residence that includes a kitchenette and private bathroom.
Level four is adult residential care that comes with skilled nursing whether it is constant or intermittent.
Cost can be a huge factor in the type of care you choose or even whether or not you decide to use care. Assisted living costs in New Orleans tend to be in line with national values or even a little less.
In 2016, the national average for in-home care options was $45,760 for a homemaker and $46,332 for a home health aide. In New Orleans, both homemakers and home health aides cost around $37,752 per year which is almost $10,000 less than national averages.
Assisted living facilities in New Orleans were a little bit more, though. The national average was $43,539, and the New Orleans cost was $45,450. Not a huge jump, but still more money. The good news for seniors in New Orleans is that these costs are not expected to increase too much over the years. Genworth Cost of Care Survey expects facility costs to rise 1% and in-home care costs to drop 1%.
Remember, these are just average costs and not a guarantee of what you will pay for your services. Look around and make sure you find a provider that fits your budget, needs, and schedule.
You will have to do some research when you look for assisted living services. It’s a smart idea to compare both costs and services provided so you can find what you need. To make the most of your search, you should have some questions ready for any place you visit. These questions will help you get a better idea of the lifestyle and environment as well as what the cost will get you.
Some sample questions to ask:
What does the cost of care cover? Are any utilities included?
Do you accept Medicaid? VA benefits?
Are there any programs that can help me cover the financial costs?
Can I see a copy of the resident’s agreement?
Do you have a provider’s consumer disclosure? This document explains services, fees, and policies.
Can I purchase renter’s insurance?
What are the amenities included and which cost extra?
Can I have a pet?
Am I allowed to have overnight guests?
Are there housecleaning services? What do those entail?
How will the staff coordinate my care during shift changes?
What is the emergency plan?
What services can I get onsite? Barbershop, salons, restaurants, shops, etc.
What does the meal plan include and can I supplement with my own food?
Do you take long-term care insurance?
Does the staff undergo background checks?
You can find more questions like these in the Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide To Choosing An Assisted Living Community.
The large price tag often deters seniors from even considering assisted living. However, there are ways you can be smart with your finances and save money while getting the care you need.
First, decide which would be better for your personal situation: home care or moving to a facility. While the averages above might make it seem like in-home care is the cheaper option, it all depends on your situation. If you don’t own your home or it needs a lot of repairs and maintenance, it might be a wiser financial decision to sell it and move into a facility. If you do own your home and it doesn’t require a lot of work, in-home care could be better.
If you want to cut your costs in half, consider getting a roommate. As long as your community allows this living arrangement and you’ve tested the waters beforehand, this is an easy way to save money. Make sure you have a roommate agreement, and both parties have signed in case anything comes up.
Finally, if you just can’t afford care, ask if the facility will work on a sliding-scale rate. This method is common with places that are non-profit or are part of affordable housing arrangements. While they might not be able to accommodate your request, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Low-income seniors can use their Medicaid benefits to pay for both in-home and facility assistance. Veterans and widows of veterans can use VA benefits to cover their care. Most places will also accept long-term care insurance. If you already have a policy, go through your coverage and make sure you understand all the details.
You can also pay using funds from your home. If you own it, you can sell it or rent it out and use the money to pay for assisted living. A reverse mortgage can help free up funds, but you will need to meet with a HUD-certified counselor to go over all the risks.
Find assisted living in New Orleans near you.