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Question: Aging parents and senior living facilities

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
3,740
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone had insight to independent senior living facilities? Not nursing homes, but essentially a dorm for seniors with apartments, maybe a dining facility etc. Residents are pretty active and can take care of their day-to-day need, but perhaps need to use a shuttle service to get driven around, etc

1. Does anyone have any experience with it? Did you/your parents enjoy living there?
2. What's the typical way it's funded? My very preliminary research showed most funding would have to be private, e.g. no Medicare. Was it the sale of the primary home? Savings? Long-term insurance?
3. Is there staff or resources in place/near by in case they need more medical help?
4. Any tips what one should look out for when selecting a facility?

My in laws are getting advanced in age, and we're trying to get an idea of how to find facilities and how to pick them.

Thanks,
LC
 

junebug17

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
12,513
Medicare doesn't cover the cost of these facilities. My sil's mother sold her house and bought into a facility for about $250,000. I believe she also pays a monthly fee. She's in her own apartment, but if her health declines further she can enter assisted living or the nursing home that is a part of the complex. So basically all her needs will be met for the rest of her life.

I believe most of these facilities have nurses/medical services but it's probably best to contact each place individually and perhaps arrange a tour to find out the services available. I checked out one in my area when my mother first had her stroke, and it was almost $5000 a month, so these places can be quite costly.
 

taovandel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
1,434
I work at an upscale retirement community in Virginia Beach in the Food and Beverage Department.

At our place we have a few miserable people living there but I would say 99% of them are so happy to be there. It's not at all like a nursing home (we do have two other buildings connected though so if later on something happens they can be cared for with Assistance or to recover from surgery or what not). Our residents own their own apartments/villas which really helps them with the transition to an "old folks home"....they still feel like it's home.

Medicare doesn't help out and I believe most of them live there now from selling their previous homes and from children helping out--and like I said ours is considered upscale so a lot of them have money from their working days.

our apartments/villas run from about 199,000 to about 300,000 or so---used to be more but with the economy....they also have a monthly fee that includes dining services. We have onsite housekeeping, maintenance, security--it's a gated community.

Not sure what you are looking for exactly---but if it were my parents I would want them to be in a place where there is socialization and fun and something that doesn't make them feel too old--I want them to still have some independence.
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,299
LC, sorry it's time to think about this--I know you've been through so much with your in-laws and I also know it can be very overwhelming thinking about their long-term care.

My grandma moved into an independent living facility two years ago. Previously she was living alone and we all became very concerned about her having an an accident with nobody around to help. She made it very clear that she wasn't interested in any type of nursing home, so we took her on a few tours of independent senior living facilities in the area. It sounds very similar to what you and the other posters describe: everybody has their own private apartment or villa, they have housekeeping, all meals are prepared, there are nurses on staff, they have activities each day for the residents, they have buses to local shopping malls, grocery stores, etc.

Long story short, my grandma ended up really liking one community in particular and we let her make the decision. To answer your questions:

1. Does anyone have any experience with it? Did you/your parents enjoy living there?
My grandma did enjoy living there, but if I'm being honest, I think she had a harder time adjusting than she thought. She'd previously lived in her house for 40+ years and I think she often missed it.

2. What's the typical way it's funded? My very preliminary research showed most funding would have to be private, e.g. no Medicare. Was it the sale of the primary home? Savings? Long-term insurance?
My grandma signed a 1-year lease for an apartment, which she paid out of savings. She didn't want to commit to anyting up-front in case she didn't like it. She wasn't ready to sell her home. Long-term, she did plan to sell her home and if she ever ran out of money, my father and his siblings would have shared the cost.

3. Is there staff or resources in place/near by in case they need more medical help?
Yes, nurses on staff, a hospital within 2 miles and a more assisted-living type area for those residents who needed more care.

4. Any tips what one should look out for when selecting a facility?
Again, we let her make the decision. I read reviews online to make sure there were no red flags, but the decision was ultimately hers.
 

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
3,740
NEL, Tao, Junebug, thanks for your responses. Yes, I think we'll be looking for something that allows them to keep their independence and as close to a normal life as possible. At the same time, we won't have to worry about them home alone if something happens. I also feel like just the nature of these communities will be safer, that the residents know everyone's in the same boat and will look out for each other.

Example, we live in an elevator building downtown. But there's days that I can go without seeing a neighbor. And I don't think twice about it. However in a senior community, I would thing neighbors would be a little more vigilant about watching over each other.

Anyway, I really don't see it as a worrisome issue, because I think they can be happy and social and independent. Of course we'd be looking for something close to us, or we'd move close to whatever community they select, just so there'll be a lot of visiting back and forth.

Does anyone know if you're allowed to "renovate" units after you buy into them? Example: it's best for my MIL to have non-carpeted floors. Easier for her wheelchair, and for her to shuffle around. Can I replace carpet for wood floors? Can I paint? etc.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
My grandmother lived in the Selfhelp Home on Argyle for the last few years of her life. They are a Medicare certified health care facility, so they accepted Medicare to cover some of their services. There was a monthly fee, based on the level of care she needed, and we paid it from money she had stashed away. The nice thing about the Selfhelp home is that they don't turn residents out once they've moved in, so if someone runs out of funds, they find a way to cover their expenses.

We were very happy with the Selfhelp home. I wanted her to live with me, but she refused. She was very concerned about remaining independent and becoming a burden, and though we fought about it often, she felt that the only way to maintain her dignity was to live in a facility like the Selfhelp home.

There was a wide range of services available. Residents have their own one-bedroom apartments, but there is an entire floor that is essentially its own hospital, so residents can move there if they are in need of more serious medical care. There was a dining hall, regular daily activities (live music, card games, lectures, etc.) and a huge staff of people around at all times.

We looked for a facility that offered different levels of care, because we knew she may need an increasing amount of assistance as time went on. By the end we hired a FT nurse to stay with her.
We also wanted someone at a front desk 24 hours a day.
The general feel of the place was important. My grandmother was sort of in denial that she was very old, and so we needed a place that had mobile seniors as well as people wheeling around. We had her in another place for a short time, I can't remember the name, but she complained that it was too depressing because she was surrounded by all these old people. :cheeky:
We needed a staff that was kind but firm. My grandmother would have refused to join the community for every single meal had it been up to her. We needed people who would get her out of her room at least once a day during the day. We came in the evenings, but she needed to get out more.
We also wanted a private parking lot, as silly as that may sound. This is Chicago, after all, and I knew I'd be driving in every day and didn't want to have to drive around looking for parking and wasting time that I could be spending with her.
ETA: We also needed a place where she'd have her own real apartment, with a mini kitchen.

I'm sorry you're facing this. It's so difficult, but there are a lot of places in the area, at least.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,294
A good friend helped her parents move into a senior assisted living facility two years ago after a good deal of research. In her case, it's paid for on a month-by-month basis. Her parents are visited by one of the staff once a day, and all medications are administered by the staff. There's a central dining facility, although they also have a small kitchen area in their unit. My friend's mother has memory issues and is probably in the early stages of Alzheimer's or something similar, so one of the things they were looking for is a facility that offered progressive care and a memory care facility. Right now her parents get (and pay for) a minimum level of care, but that can be increased as warranted. They'll also be able to move her mother into an on-site memory care facility, while her father maintains a small apartment unit, if necessary.

A co-worker just helped her mother move into a seniors-only apartment complex that offers central dining and recreational facilities, and services like shuttle busses to shopping etc, without any of the medical-related care. Her mother had been living with my co-worker and was reluctant to move, but she now likes the place and is socializing with the other residents.
 

taovandel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
1,434
At our facitlity you can renovate the place to suit your needs--carpets/floors, paint, etc.

Another thing about our community is that it really keeps residents involved. We have committees that residents can join to help out to improve things or voice concerns or kudos for staff, etc. We have one committee that helps invite new residents to be more social by sitting at the "friendship table" at dinner to meet other residents (the table fits 8 and is sponsored by an active member of the community who will invite a few new residents as well as their friends).
 

taovandel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
1,434
Another thing my community has done in the past year or so....

One of the residents jokingly said one day in one of the committees that the residents should do a male only "nudie" calendar. He passed away shortly after and the members of the community decided to honor him and put out a calendar to benefit the fire/rescue squad that services our community. We were in the press for it and everything...they were in a parade at the beach, and are nominated/won for a national award. Those male residents were like rockstars for a bit--doing autograph signings in their robes---it was pretty awesome.
 
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