Senior Home Connection LLC
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Transitioning to a new Home is an efficient resource to narrow down your choices when seeking senior living options. It’s a great first place to start, however, many things need to be taken into consideration when transitioning into a senior living community or home. One of the most important questions that is asked refers to how the resident intends to pay the monthly fee. Independent and Assisted Living Communities and Homes DO NOT TAKE MEDICAID. Depending on the type of care, Medicare may pay a portion of your expense, but this needs to be reviewed with the admissions staff. Skilled Nursing Homes generally take Medicaid but some require private pay for a specific length of time. Long Term Care insurance may also cover the costs. Meet with an elder law attorney to get advice on estate planning, Medicaid, Medicare and long-term care insurance before you apply to a nursing home. It is also advised that you discuss payment options and requirements with each individual community or home that you are interested in.

The following are some additional questions to ask and tips to think about.

Independent Living

  1. Can I hire privately a home health aide to assist me while living in independent living?
  2. If a resident is incontinent and is capable of addressing his own needs, can he or she still reside in independent living?
  3. Are meals included in the monthly cost? How does the meal plan and dining service work?
  4. Is gratuity during meals expected in a senior living community?
  5. What general activities can I expect at most active adult communities?
  6. Is an Emergency Response Device generally included in independent living section of a retirement community?
  7. Is there typically security 24 hours a day provided at most senior retirement communities?
  8. What type of expense is incurred other than rent in a senior retirement community?

Assisted Living

  1. Have a clear understanding of your family member’s needs.
  2. Ask lots of questions related to pricing and what is (and isn’t!) included in the monthly fee.
  3. Pay close attention to the staff and ask questions about their credentials and training.
  4. Understand how the community handles increased level of care needs.
  5. Investigate the opportunities for socialization and recreation.

Skilled Nursing Home

  1. Prior to admission to a skilled nursing home in New York State, a Patient Review Instrument (PRI) must be conducted on the resident.
  2. The Patient Review Instrument (PRI) is an assessment tool developed by the New York State Department of Health to assess selected physical, medical, and cognitive characteristics of nursing home residents, as well as to document selected services that they may receive. These can be performed by a physician or registered nurse.
  3. The admissions agreement (also called the financial agreement, admission contract, entrance contract or some other term) is a legal agreement between the nursing home and the resident to spell out conditions for admission. The contract should state the costs, services included, and all legal responsibilities of the resident.
  4. Ask questions about the contract. Ask your attorney, the nursing home administrator or admissions director to explain anything that is not clear.
  5. Most homes require full financial disclosure from residents who will be paying privately.
  6. Physical Appearance
    1. Take a good look around at everything.
    2. Do residents have personal belongings decorating their rooms?
    3. Does each resident have at least one comfortable chair?
    4. Does each resident have his/her own dresser and closet space with a locked drawer or other secured compartment?
    5. Is there an out-of-doors area where residents can walk or sit and is it used?
    6. Does the equipment—wheelchairs, therapy devices—appear in good condition?
    7. Is there a lounge or other area where residents can entertain visitors privately?
  7. Safety – Look For:
    1. Handrails in hallways and other critical places
    2. Wide, clear walking areas
    3. The absence of hazards that might cause accidents
    4. Good lighting
    5. Telephones and large print notices placed so that wheelchair-bound residents can make use of them
    6. Appropriate inside temperature and whether or not residents are dressed appropriately
    7. Clearly marked exits and well-lighted elevators
  8. Cleanliness
    1. A good home should be clean. Look in the corners of residents' rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, nurses' stations, etc., as well as in the main visiting lounges. Look for cleanliness everywhere
    2. Unpleasant odors reflect problems. If there is an odor in a particular section of the home go back to see if it has been eliminated within a reasonable amount of time. This will give you an idea of how long it takes the home to deal with the cause of the unpleasant odor
  9. Room Assignments
    1. Do residents socialize with each other?
    2. Is there activity in the corridors?
    3. Are residents engaged in doing things or just sitting in a lounge or in the hallways?
    4. Are residents neatly dressed and do they appear to be wearing their own clothing?
    5. Are residents out of bed?
    6. Do staff interact with residents in a warm and friendly manner?
    7. Do staff address the residents by name?
    8. Do staff respond to someone calling for help?
    9. Are people assisted in walking for the purpose of exercising or retraining?
    10. Do residents share rooms? How many people to a room?