Assisted Living by Longevity Explorers: Recent @ Providence
Continuing our exploration of living alternatives from the September meeting, members Elissa Arffa and Joyce Walsh presented information about selecting an Assisted Living facility in Rhode Island. Information and ratings are available from the Rhode Island Department of Health. One should check the ownership, licensing, admission and discharge criteria, and the services available at any facility in which one is interested. Are there charges for extras, like administering medication or bathing? Most assisted living facilities have limited space for Medicaid patients, so you will be checked to see if you can afford the facility. Be prepared to share the details of your financial situation.
A care manager can be hired to help in identifying a facility that suits you medically, socially, psychologically, and sociologically. One can find a care manager through the RI chapter of “A Place for Mom,” through the Jewish Community Center and similar organizations, and from the Aging Life Care Association. Care managers offer different services, including maintaining a connection with you after you are in a facility and with any distant family members.
Key to making a decision is to determine the level of medical care that the facility provides. Are registered nurses on duty? Are physicians readily available? Are there “hidden costs,” such as laundry, transportation, or medication delivery? Many facilities have annual increases in their costs, so one needs to read the small print. The AARP website (aarp.org) has guidelines for evaluating a facility and a lot of other information easily accessed by using search terms. The RI Department of Health and the RI Assisted Living Association both offer additional guidelines. Residents of some assisted living facilities are expected to be able to leave a building independent if there is a fire alarm; at other facilities, residents are assisted.
Medicare does not cover long-term care, so a facility’s cost is usually a major consideration. Long-term care insurance can help, but be sure to check the deductible.
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