Who qualifies for Assisted Living?
If you’re considering an Assisted Living community in the near future, but you’re not sure if you or your loved one meets the requirements to qualify, you might be interested to learn about admission eligibility. Assisted Living provides long-term care and housing solutions for older adults who need extra help with the activities of daily living or ADLs. With supportive services and an extra hand when needed, residents at an Assisted Living community can continue to live as independently as possible.
Admission eligibility for Assisted Living at Aberdeen Village is based on the level of care the potential resident needs. Assisted Living is not for people who need more than a moderate level of care, high-level memory care, extensive skilled nursing, or continuous supervision. Generally, Assisted Living provides housing and personal care and is considered appropriate for individuals who need:
- Daily assistance with everyday tasks — things like meals and bathing • Assistance with medication management
- Help keeping track of vital signs, blood glucose, weight, etc
- A safe and comfortable environment with socialization opportunities
- Minimal skilled nursing
When Assisted Living is Needed
Moving to Assisted Living can be a difficult choice. If you’re having trouble making a decision, consider the following things that might help you come to a resolution. These will help to determine what level of care you or your loved will need in Assisted Living:
- Safety Concerns: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults over 65 years old. Residents are safer at Assisted Living communities for many reasons. First, the communities are designed to keep residents safe and include elements like wider hallways, walk-in showers, ramps and elevators, and accessible door handles and light switches. There is also someone available to lend a hand 24/7. This is peace of mind for both residents and families.
- Overwhelmed by Home Maintenance: Is mail piling up on the kitchen table? Is it too difficult to take the trash out? Has shoveling snow and removing ice from the sidewalk become too dangerous? Is it impossible to even consider getting leaves out of the gutters? There’s no need to worry about any of this in Assisted Living because it’s maintenance free. There’s even help with housekeeping, laundry and three meals served every day. Living maintenance free removes a lot of worries, and residents are able to focus on things that they enjoy.
- Caregiver concerns: If you’re the primary caregiver, it’s important to remember your needs too. Caregiver stress is a real thing. Taking care of an aging loved one can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. It also takes a lot of time. If you or the primary caregiver cannot continue to meet the needs of your aging loved one, then it might be time to find professional support and create a plan for your loved one’s future care.
When Assisted Living is Not Appropriate
Assisted Living is not appropriate in some situations. For example, if a resident needs a mechanical lift to transfer, or if a resident needs two persons to complete transfers, then it’s considered a higher level of care. If a person does not recognize they are incontinent, or cannot participate in their incontinence care, the resident needs “total assistance” which is more than Assisted Living generally provides. Eating is another example. It’s acceptable if a resident needs help getting food to their mouth or they need a meal cut up or pureed, but if a resident has advanced to needing eating assistance, then there is a need for increased monitoring in a smaller environment to ensure the resident has their needs met in a dignified way. Lastly Assisted Living may not be appropriate for people with behavioral issues, such as if the resident is disrobing in public or if they have aggressive tendencies, for example.
Some communities may ask you to take a tour and a nurse will perform an assessment to see what type of care will be needed. Others rely on health history and the application process. It’s important to share all information so you don’t end up making a bad decision and having to repeat the process.
How to Choose an Assisted Living Community
It will take more than just reading websites and marketing materials to make a decision to move to an Assisted Living community. Schedule a tour and make time to visit to get a first-hand perspective. When you take a tour or visit, ask questions and meet people — the key to making the right choice is finding the community that feels right, suits your personality and meets your needs the best. What makes senior living communities stand out are all the details. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
As you begin to research different communities in your area, AARP has a helpful printable list to help you keep track and compare. Most of the retirement communities offer things like dining, housekeeping and transportation, but places like Aberdeen Village offer a true sense of community with additional things like fun on-site Happy Hours, live entertainment, a fitness center, a monthly activities calendar, and haircuts at an on-site beauty salon and barbershop.
Finances are a major factor in your decision to move to an Assisted Living community. After you’ve taken a few tours and decided on your list of top choices, you’ll want to get a clear idea on costs. At the community, ask about the fees and expenses — is there a one-time entrance fee and/or a recurring monthly fee? What is the base cost and are there additional fees or out of pocket expenses? Find out if the Assisted Living program is certified to accept Medicaid Funding. Some communities do not accept Medicaid. Speak with your financial advisor or trusted family member/friend to help determine what you can afford.
Transitioning Your Loved one to Assisted Living
Studies show that the move to Assisted Living or another care setting can simply change the type of stressors a caregiver experiences rather than eliminate them. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for possible feelings of guilt, conflicting opinions, and handling your loved one’s emotions. It’s also important to understand that you will still be involved in your loved one’s care.
There are many resources available to help you and your loved one through this transition. These include placement management services, transition counseling programs, caregiver coaching, and mediation services. Most caregivers continue to be involved in their loved one’s care in the following ways:
- Visiting regularly and taking care of the smaller details
- Helping with day-to-day activities in the facility
- Being the point person and communicating with staff members
- Making arrangements for insurance, finances and medication
Assisted living can be the perfect option for seniors who need a little extra help and support but still want to maintain an independent lifestyle. Congratulations on taking the first step toward learning more about Assisted Living. Reaching out to supportive services at an Assisted Living community like Aberdeen Village online or by calling 314-394-8943 can help you through the process. You’re not alone