Assisted Living facilities are a popular and rapidly increasing segment of senior housing. However, what many people don’t know is that some assisted living facilities are “non-medical” models of care—not requiring nurses or any medically trained personnel onsite daily. This misunderstanding can create real problems for those residents with multiple complex and chronic medical issues.
Assisted Living does not include senior housing such as active adult communities or skilled nursing facilities. Assisted living communities are licensed facilities that provide private housing (in the form of at least a private room with a private bathroom, a kitchenette, and a door lock) to each resident. They also provide meals. They provide, when needed, personal care, nursing, social work, transportation, and pharmaceutical services.
According to the National Institutes of Health, assisted living facilities provide care to a large number of older adults, including many with complex health problems. The most common reasons for entering AL are dementia and functional impairment, but most residents (94%) have at least one chronic medical condition, with 76% having two or more chronic conditions.
Families often don't have realistic expectations. The marketing person makes promises about what's available. However, families don't know to ask questions about the staffing levels, the supervision, and how medications are administered. Loved ones don't realize it’s not a nursing home, and that it doesn’t have skilled nursing care.
The reality of this lower level of care may result in loved ones receiving a midnight call, that Mom got confused, wandered away from the facility and is now lost. Or that Mom’s fallen and broken a hip. One fall can change the direction of care needs forever.
At Van Dyck Law, we have taken strides to help educate our clients on services available to clients and their aging loved ones. Once you are a client at Van Dyck Law, you have access to the services of Sheli Monacchio, our Director of Life Care Resources. Sheli can help educate you on the differences between the communities and narrow down those that may be appropriate for your family member. She can also work with you to see if options for care in the home would be safe if this is your family’s preference. Sheli has an extensive background in working with seniors and their family in helping to provide various solutions based on the care needs and budget of many aging adults. No family is exactly alike. Sheli will hold your hand through the daunting process of deciding on Long Term Care options and help you to find the right solution for your family.
Reference: San Diego Union-Tribune (May 9, 2018) “The key thing to know about assisted living”