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Long-Term Care Options

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living is a long-term care option that provides assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s).  It combines housing, support services, and health care services as needed.  When an older adult lives with a chronic disorder or a disability they are in need of care and support with everyday activities.  Assisted living is an excellent option that balances assistance with independence in order to promote dignity.  There are 2 types of assisted living: assisted living homes and assisted living centers.  Assisted living homes offer 24 hour care by certified caregivers and are licensed for up to 10 residents within residential neighborhoods.  They offer both private and semi-private rooms with family style living.  If more supervision and assistance is needed assisted living homes are a great choice.  Assisted living centers offer 24 hour care by certified caregivers and are licensed within commercial properties.  They offer apartment style living with resort style dining.  Assisted living centers are a great choice for the independent adult able to perform most activities of daily living without much assistance.

 

Services Offered by Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living services include three meals daily with snacks in between, laundry and housekeeping services, medication management, and assistance with bathing and dressing.  Health care management and monitoring are integrated with each resident’s personal physician, often one’s who make house calls.  Activities are planned according to each resident’s ability.  Depending on the assisted living facility, transportation may be provided to medical visits, religious services, or an outing for the afternoon.

 

Paying for assisted living

When considering assisted living it’s important to know how much to expect to pay so you can plan accordingly.  Assisted living costs typically start around $2,000 per month and may exceed $5,000.  Various factors are considered like health conditions, level of care needed, type and location of assisted living, and whether you choose a private or semi-private room.

There are several sources of funds typically used to pay for assisted living like personal savings and Social Security income.  Retirement savings, 401K plans, and personal investments may be used to pay the cost of assisted living.  The equity established in your home can be used by obtaining a reverse mortgage loan, or by selling it.  Family may be another source of help paying for the costs of assisted living.  Medicare does not pay the costs for assisted living. 

Medicaid will help pay the costs of assisted living through Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS).  For those adults with disabilities and health conditions that prevent them from living alone, ALTCS will pay the expense of assisted living.  Eligibility is determined by both a financial and medical assessment.  ALTCS applications can take up to 90 days to process for an  eligibility determination.  Benefits include assisted living care, hospice care, home health care, and skilled nursing facility care.  

Long Term Care Insurance Policy pays the costs of nursing home stays, in-home care, and assisted living care.  If you had the insight to purchase this type of insurance policy earlier in life it will shoulder the cost of assisted living care, as long as you meet certain criteria.  Most long term care insurance policies won’t pay for the costs unless the policy holder is unable to perform at least two activities of daily living.

The Veterans Administration offers a pension benefit called Aid and Attendance that helps pay the cost of assisted living.  The Aid and Attendance benefit is dependent on eligibility to a VA Pension, and if qualified is paid in addition to the monthly pension.  A veteran or surviving spouse may qualify for this benefit if one of the following conditions is met:

·       You require the aid of another person in order to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, feeding, or adjusting prosthetic devices. 

·       You are bedridden due to a disability, apart from any course of treatment.

·       You are an patient in a skilled nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.

·       You are blind, or your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

To apply for this benefit write to the Pension Management Center that serves Arizona residents at the following address:

St. Paul VA Regional Office

Pension Management Center (335/21P) PO BOX 11000 St. Paul, MN 55111-0000

Service Area: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

You may also visit your local regional benefit office to file your request. You can locate your local regional benefit office using the VA Facility Locator.

 

Independent Living Communities

Independent Living Communities, also called retirement communities provide a full range of services to older adults 55 and older who are independent and able to perform all activities of daily living without assistance.  These communities are often part of larger assisted living communities and offer apartment style living.  While residents live independently, these communities typically offer services like housekeeping, meal service, medication management, and recreational activities that promote socialization with other residents.  Depending upon the community additional amenities may include facilities such as swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, tennis courts, or even golf courses.  Independent living is all about making your life easier.

 

Memory Care Communities

Memory Care communities go beyond what traditional assisted living communities offer.  Memory care is a long-term care option that caters to residents with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory problems.  Care is provided within a secure area and structured activities are designed specifically to allow the individual to reconnect with the past.

Memory Care communities are designed with specific elements intended to create relaxing environments.  As Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses, the level of care a person needs increases.  A person who suffers from Alzheimer’s or Dementia will eventually need 24 hour supervised care in a relaxing and stress free environment.  Increased natural lighting and circular designs are common and intended to calm residents and allow for safe wandering.  Door alarms and frequent safety checks are common place in memory care communities.  Memory Care is all about providing a safe and secure environment.

 

Behavioral Health Communities

Residential behavioral health communities, like assisted living facilities are licensed within residential neighborhoods to provide treatment and teach life skills to residents living with mental health illnesses.  One in four individuals are living with a mental health illness.  For those adults living with manageable mental health illnesses like schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and other mental health issues behavioral health communities provide structured living environments that support healing and growth. 

Behavioral health communities treat each resident as a unique individual with goals to develop a wide range of habits of self care.  With a high degree of structure built into their daily lives residents establish normal routines.  Residents are held responsible for their behavior, they contribute to the community, and form supportive relationships that contribute to healing and learning life skills.  Quality of life is the goal for residents within behavioral health communities.

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