When we begin to notice that someone we love is having trouble with daily self-care, it often signals the beginning of an internal conversation about what the next season of life will bring. It’s a conversation that is filled with uncertainty. Fortunately, there are hundreds of options for assisted living in the Pittsburgh area to choose from.
A 2014 Pew Research study reviewed about 1,700 adults and found that 17% of older adults said they’d move into an assisted living community if a time came when they could no longer live on their own. About 61% of responders said that they’d stay in their homes and have someone care for them there. Both of those plans are considered assisted living arrangements. The study showed that the concept of assisted care living is the fastest growing long-term care option for seniors.
The first step on the path to finding an appropriate assisted living facility is for the family members to educate themselves about assisted living costs now, as well as what they will be in the future. Learning about the types of assisted living facilities that are available, along with their associated costs and ways to fund them, will put everyone’s mind at ease.
The city of Pittsburgh offers hundreds of programs for senior assisted living options including:
Continuing Care Retirement Community Assisted Living Memory Care Home Care Care Homes Adult Day Care
Pennsylvania differentiates between Assisted Living Residence (ALR) and a Personal Care Home (PCH). An ALR allows residents to age in their homes without having to move to a licensed long-term care facility when their needs increase. Residents in a PCH who will eventually need nursing home level of care transfer to another facility when a PCH can no longer handle their needs.
Facilities also vary with regard to shared living arrangements. ALR residents can live in their own units, complete with kitchen and private bathroom. PCH residents live in bedrooms that may be shared by up to four people.
You’ll be happy to learn that not only does Pittsburgh offer its seniors a wide variety of assisted living options, the city offers attractive pricing for every budget. Prices range from $1500 per month on the low end to $4500 per month on the high end.
Since there are so many options in the Pittsburgh area, you may want to start your search online and narrow your choices down to a few facilities that appear to match your needs and budget. Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to visit at least a few facilities. Taking a couple of tours gives you a basis for comparison and gives you an opportunity to observe how the staff interacts with residents.
As you begin to review and compare facilities, you’re certain to form many questions that you’ll want to have answered. While each senior’s needs are uniquely different, here is a basic list of interview questions to get you started:
How accessible is transportation? Do they have programs for on-site continuum of care? What funding sources will they accept as payment? Do they include a standard meal plan? Are there policies for visiting and overnight guests? Do they allow pets? What kind? Are there any limits to size and breed? Which utilities are included?
Compare expenses between assisted living and in-home care in much the same way that you’d compare expenses any time that you move between dwellings. It may make sense to sell the family home in order to fund assisted living. However, if the mortgage balance is too high, it may make sense to remain in the home and secure outside services for personal care and supervision. If you choose the latter option, be sure to include extra expenses for upkeep on the home including cleaning, laundry, home maintenance, lawn and grounds-keeping, snow removal, and other necessary services. Once you’ve tallied the total costs both ways, you should end up with a clear choice.
Some seniors thrive on companionship and others prefer to be alone. Seniors with a social nature might consider reducing expenses by getting a roommate.
There are plenty of options to fund assisted living care, but not all facilities take every type of funding, so it’s extremely important to ask about funding before exploring options. You won’t want to have your heart set on the perfect facility, just to learn that they don’t take the form of payment that you have. Here are a few options for funding assisted living care:
Medicaid VA Aid & Attendance Pension - an additional benefit in addition to pension funds Long-term care insurance Reverse mortgage, if one spouse still lives in the home
There are certain risks and limitations involved with some funding options, especially with regard to long-term care insurance and reverse mortgages. It’s a good idea to consult with a trusted financial advisor before making final decisions.
Find assisted living in Pittsburgh near you.