Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the Options for Senior Living?
Independent Living (IL) - Also called retirement apartments or Senior Living Communities are not required to be licensed if they only have independent options (no assisted living.) You may contract with an outside company for "In Home Care" if you need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting or medication management, IL communities may offer meals, activities, transportation, security, housekeeping and emergency response systems, etc. Additional services such as a beauty salon or laundry services and transportation may be purchased for a fee.
Assisted Living Homes/Adult Care Homes (ACH) - Required by the state to be licensed and mandated by the rules and regulations of the state of Arizona. These are private homes usually for 10 adults, but sometimes as many at 15. Services offered include housekeeping, meals, 24 hour supervision, assistance with personal care, medication administration and activities. Specialized dementia care is available in some homes. In most cases, less expensive than an Assisted Living "community" or "center" because they have less residents and therefore less amenities offered. Some have a full-time nurse on staff while others offer the services of a Nurse Practitioner who usually visits the home monthly or on an on-call basis.
Assisted Living (AL) Community or Center - Licensed, apartment setting with meals, transportation, housekeeping and laundry services, 24 hour supervision, administration of medications, assistance with personal care. More than 10 residents. Many amenities offered and the type and frequency varies by community. Specialized dementia care may be available. Many have one or more nurses (LPN or RN) on staff.
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) also called Rehab - Licensed residential health care facility offering ongoing nursing care. Three levels of care may be offered: Intermediate care, Skilled Care and Dementia/Secured care. Most people go to a SNF to rehabilitate after a hospital stay or illness. In this case it is a temporary stay and is paid for by insurance and is for a specified amount of time based on progress. If you have very high care needs and are on Medicaid, then you may qualify to live in a SNF in their "long terms care" area. In most cases you would be discharged from a SNF back to your home, to IL, AL or an ACH. If you're not on Medicaid and live in a SNF in long term care, then you would pay out of pocket. Most people do not do this because the average cost is $350/day AND UP.
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) - Licensed and offers a full continuum of care ranging from IL/Retirement apartments or villas to assistance with personal care in AL apartment, to long-term care in a SNF. They are specifically designed to allow residents to receive all of their care needs on the same campus. Types of contracts available vary. There are only a couple of these in Tucson.
Memory Care (MC) - Licensed. Most of the larger communities have a Memory Care (also called Dementia or Alzheimer's) unit on site. In many cases, but not all, this is a secured (locked) unit or wing in a building. There is also the option of a Free-Standing Memory care unit that is a secured building. We will go over these options carefully to ensure the safety of your loved one if you are in need of Memory Care.
- What do I do if I want to move back Home?
- If you sign a lease for Independent Living, you are contracting to live there for one year. The same for a senior apartment or retirement community. If you are in an Assisted Living or Memory Care arrangement in the state of AZ, you are required to give 30 days written notice if you would like to vacate.
- What, if any, financial assistance if available to me?
- Most communities are private pay only and are not covered by your medical insurance. All communities will accept a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. (This is a plan that you have purchased, paid premiums over the years and they pay you a benefit after you private pay for a specified amount of time). This should not be confused with AZ Long Term Care Insurance otherwise known as ALTCS (pronounced AL-Tex). This is Medicaid in the state of AZ and is designed for people who classify as low income. If you qualify for ALTCS, you must live in a community who has a contract to provide care for residents on ALTCS. It's a complicated process and not everyone will qualify. I can direct you to resources to help determine if ALTCS is the best option. There is also a benefit for low income veterans and their spouses called VA Aid and Attendance and I can provide you with information on how to apply and qualify for this benefit.
What do I bring when I move in?
Most senior and assisted living communities are unfurnished, so you should bring enough furniture (not too much) to be comfortable. Small sofa, favorite chair, pictures for the wall, memorabilia, photo albums, bedroom furniture, etc. We can discuss this in detail with the community and they may offer a suggested pack list that will help you to downsize and make the most of your new space. If you are moving to adult assisted living (adult care home) or memory care setting, most have an option for you to use their furniture if needed. If you are on hospice a hospital bed and all durable medical equipment (wheel-chair, walker, shower chair, floor mats, incontinence supplies, etc.) is delivered and paid for by Medicare Part "D".
What about my pet?
Many senior living options are pet friendly. If bringing your pet is important to you then I will help you select a pet friendly location. In most cases small dogs are welcome, but there may be breed or size restrictions. Most facilities that are pet friendly have a common area for walking and playing with your dog. Cats and birds can also be accommodated provided you take care of them and clean up after them. In most cases you will be required to pay a nominal pet fee.
If you have specific questions regarding your situation please call me. 520.373.0349