Finding an assisted-living facility that is right for you can seem like a daunting task. There are many factors to consider and options to choose from that will suit your particular needs and wants. So, here are a few tips to help you narrow your options.
Consider your current and future care needs
You should take an inventory of your health needs and decide what type of assistance you need. Talk to your physician about the level of care he thinks you need now, as well as what care he thinks you may need in the future, should your health needs change. Equipped with this information, start calling around to various assisted living facilities to see if they will be able to meet your needs now and in the future. This way you may be able to avoid having to move to a difference facility if your needs change.
For example, if you have been diagnosed with dementia, but it is still in the early stages, it may be advantageous to choose an assisted living facility that also has a memory care unit. A memory care unit is uniquely qualified to assist you as your disease progresses. Be sure to be realistic about the care you may need in the future.
Ask trusted sources
It is likely that many of your friends have already had to face this similar situation, either for themselves for previously for a parent.
Social workers are a good source of information since they are familiar with local facilities.
A geriatric care manager will be able to help you locate a facility.
An experienced elder law attorney is uniquely qualified to be able to offer advice. He is usually quite familiar with the various assisted living facilities in the area and can direct you to one or another based on your needs and his awareness of the facility in general. While some fancy facilities may appear to a nice place to live, if it doesn’t meet your specific needs, you will not be happy there. Consider more modest facilities where the staff is friendly and caring and where the facility is less restrictive.
The cost of assisted living can be expensive. Be sure to ask how the fees are to be paid. Does the facility require a large down payment or buy-in up front, or simply a monthly payment? What does the monthly fee cover? How much does each additional level of care cost, and what type of care is provided at each level? Is laundry included? Facilities vary in their rates and billing methods. Ask questions to ensure you understand completely what you will be expected to pay and what that will cover.
Next, determine how you will pay for your care expenses. Will you be using a long-term care insurance policy, drawing from an investment account, or selling your home to cover the costs? Will you qualify for the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit available through the Department of Veterans Affairs? What steps will you need to take to qualify for that benefit? Speak with an elder law attorney for assistance in creating a plan to cover your assisted living expenses.
Attorney Daniel O. Tully is a partner in the law firm of Kilbourne & Tully, P.C., members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc., with offices at 120 Laurel St., Bristol. 860-583-1341.