Assisted Living FAQs
Reformed Church Home Answers Assisted Living Questions
When considering a move to assisted living for yourself or a family member, you will likely have many questions. Reformed Church Home can provide answers to some frequently asked questions regarding senior care in our Old Bridge, NJ assisted living community. Our compassionate staff provides outstanding care and a home-like environment for our residents. Read on to discover more about our assisted living facility and get useful tips about preparing yourself or a loved one.
Q. What Is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care for seniors includes the medical and support services required to help them manage daily activities that many take for granted. Everything from assistance with bathing, dressing, and meal preparation to shopping, managing finances, and bills, and completing household chores may be encompassed in the long-term care provided in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Long-term care may also be administered in the home setting, including home modifications, visiting nurses, and assistance by a certified home health aide through a home care agency. Long-term care isn’t just reserved for seniors. Many individuals who need long-term care are under the age of 65 but have a chronic health condition, disability, or mobility issue.
Q. What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a long-term care option for seniors who may need assistance with activities of daily living. However, some residents move into assisted living while still quite independent, recognizing that as years pass and their health begins to decline, they will need a place capable of required care. An assisted living community like Reformed Church Home provides many health services and amenities to its residents, including medication management, personal care assistance, meals, weekly housekeeping and laundry, socialization, and a 24-hour emergency response system. Residents also enjoy access to gardens and walking paths, a library, beauty salon services, a full-time pastor, and various social, cultural, spiritual, and educational activities and outings.
Q. What’s the Difference Between Independent and Assisted Living?
An independent living community is for seniors who are still able to live on their own with most of the typical responsibilities, such as meal prep, without the demands of household maintenance and improvements. Perhaps their spouse has died, and they seek the valuable social interactions that are gained from living in a senior community. Or it could be too difficult for them to keep up with maintaining their home physically or financially. Whatever the reason, an independent living community allows seniors to enjoy their retirement years without the burdens of living alone. Accommodations in an independent living community are comparable to small homes or apartments, with the resident taking on responsibility for cleaning, cooking, and self-care. Some independent living locations may offer amenities, such as housekeeping or access to communal dining facilities, at an additional cost.
An assisted living community is designed for seniors who are cognitively and/or physically unable to live alone. Whether they have health issues requiring frequent medications and monitoring, such as diabetes or congestive heart failure, or they have limited mobility and may fall, many seniors with chronic illnesses benefit from living in an assisted living community with support staff that’s available 24 hours a day to help with personal needs such as bathing and dressing to arranging for transportation to doctor’s appointments. Our assisted living facility offers various-sized apartments with private baths and kitchenettes. You may view our assisted living floor plans to determine which size of apartment is appropriate for your needs.
Q. What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?
Seniors who may not be able to live safely on their own but who don’t require a high level of care may be appropriate candidates for assisted living. Residents at Reformed Church Home receive assistance with medications, meals, housekeeping, laundry, and social activities and outings. Seniors who need help with most or all activities of daily living may be safer and more appropriately cared for in a nursing home, which will have a higher number of nurses, aides, and other healthcare professionals available to monitor their needs closely, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While seniors in an assisted living community typically live in private apartments or suites that they fully furnish and decorate, seniors in a nursing home may have a private or semi-private room with a hospital bed, dresser, and basic furniture. Family members can customize the room to make it feel homey. At Reformed Church Home, we have been known for our uniquely-designed semi-private rooms, which afford each resident substantial privacy and a degree of separation.
Q. When’s It Necessary to Move from Assisted Living to a Nursing Home?
Assisted living residents usually are quite successful if they need assistance with one or two activities of daily living. The aides and nurses accommodate the specific needs on a daily basis. As residents begin to decline and need help with most or all of their activities of daily living, a nursing home is generally more appropriate. Likewise, when cognition begins to fail and the resident becomes more confused, needing frequent redirection and safety monitoring, nursing home placement may be the best option. Frequently, mobility issues and ability to transfer or walk on one’s own merit is a determining factor. At Reformed Church Home, we offer a continuum of care, with both assisted living and long term nursing services available under one roof, for the times that a transition to a higher level of care in a nursing home setting is called for.
Q. How Do You Approach a Senior about the Necessity for the Move?
It’s often difficult to know how to approach a senior about the necessity for a move into an assisted living facility primarily because of preconceived notions they may have about such facilities. It’s imperative to voice your concerns about their safety if they continue to live alone. Some families find it helpful to assemble a list of reasons why they’re worried about their loved one’s health and wellbeing. However, you should never present this list as an overwhelming account of everything that’s “wrong” with your loved one. Rather, try to take a constructive approach, ideally at a time when the senior is still capable of being part of the decision-making process. After doing some preliminary research online and speaking with friends who have been through the same process, we suggest you visit a few assisted living facilities, so your loved one can see what daily life can be like. So many appealing aspects exist in today’s senior living communities, from gourmet menus to interesting day trips to professionally decorated common spaces, to amenities that make daily life more pleasant. Hopefully, your loved one will like what they see and be more open to a discussion on the benefits of moving to an assisted living community.
Q. Does Medicare Pay for Assisted Living, and If Not, Who Does Pay Then?
Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover the costs associated with room and board at an assisted living communities. Medicare Part A covers the cost of hospital stays and inpatient rehabilitation, among other things, but not for assisted living fees. Medicare Part B should cover rehabilitation for specific therapy needs, such as physical or occupational therapy, so long as it is justified and there are goals for therapy that can be documented and assessed. Then there are a host of other insurances, such as Medicare replacement plans, HMOs, and private insurances, but none will cover the costs of assisted living unless you have a long term care policy. This type of contract is an insurance-type product that carries a monthly or annual premium, acquired at a younger age in the event that long term care becomes necessary. Most people do not have this type of insurance due to the high expense involved, but if you do, investigate carefully what is and is not covered. The contract will specify whether home care, respite care, assisted living, and/or long term nursing home care is a covered expense. On the other hand, Medicaid is the government program that can help pay for home care, assisted living or nursing home care when assets have been depleted. Many assisted living communities have a period of time during which private monthly payments are expected before transitioning to Medicaid, so be sure to ask questions about each facility’s individual policies. If you meet Medicaid’s financial and medical criteria, you must reside in a Medicaid-approved facility.