Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Business

Choosing senior housing a complicated, costly task

One of the most difficult decisions a family faces is when to move an elderly family member into specialized housing. One of the first questions you must answer is what kind of care your family member needs. Virginia Traweek, of SeniorHousingMove.com, said there are essentially four different levels of care offered by senior living communities, and it's important to understand what each offers.

1. Independent living: For seniors who don't require assistance. Independent living is usually offered in either apartment or cottage settings and generally includes meals, housekeeping and social events. Costs can range from $1,000 to $3,000 a month, she said.

2. Assisted living: For seniors needing assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and eating. Costs range from $3,000 to $5,500 a month.

3. Memory support/dementia care: For seniors with Alzheimer's or other diseases. Costs range from $3,000 to $5,500 a month.

4. Skilled nursing care: For seniors in the end stage of life who require care 24 hours a day. Costs range from $4,166 to $6,666 a month.

In addition, there are senior living communities that offer multiple levels of care on the same campus in what is called a continuing care retirement community, or CCRC.

For a CCRC, the entrance fee ranges from $150,000 to $400,000, with 90 percent refundable when you move out, Traweek said. Monthly fees range from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on whether the resident is single or in a couple and on the services provided.

"One of the most difficult things for family members is to be objective about the condition that their parents are in," said John Falldine, managing director of the Edgemere senior living community in Dallas.

Here are other steps you should follow in choosing the correct senior housing:

Start early

"Even if you think you won't need senior care for a long time, learning about local communities, their pricing and amenities can make it easier when you decide to move," said Traweek. Also, she notes, there are advantages to moving into senior housing before there's a crisis.

Visit the communities

This is critical. There's no better way to get to know a community than spending time there. When you visit, use your senses: sight, smell and hearing. "Is it clean? Does it smell good?" Falldine said.

Also, notice whether residents are clean and how the staff interacts with them. Do they treat them with respect and kindness?

Vary your visits.

"Visit the place at least twice," said Lue Taff, geriatric care manager at the Senior Source, a Dallas nonprofit. "If you visit on a weekend, you will get an idea of how the place operates without a lot of management staff there. If you visit during a meal, you will see more of the people who actually live there. You will notice if the staff is very helpful."

When you visit, talk with the families of residents to get their insights.

"Talk with family members in the parking lot, because they will give you the real story," Taff said.

Understand the costs

Taff said some assisted living communities charge a monthly fee that includes things such as bathing, dressing and dispensing medication, while others charge a base fee and charge extra for "however much care you need." That may include having meals brought to your home or getting assistance to get to the dining room. Determine which fee structure best fits your needs and budget.

You should also ask: How does the community decide on increases in monthly fees? Does it cap yearly increases?

"In independent living, is it possible to purchase additional services from an agency or program that offers help with things like getting to the dining room, helping with medications or doing extra laundry and housekeeping?" Taff said.

It's also important to know if there is an entrance fee to a community. This may also be known as a "buy-in" and can be substantial. Is the fee refunded after you move out or die? How long will your estate have to wait before getting the money back?

Ask about health care

"What hospital will you go to if they call 911?" Taff said. Are your loved one's doctors and hospitals within the range of the senior community's transportation services?

The bottom line: Never move your loved one into a place that makes you uneasy or doesn't feel safe.

Comments
Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Q: I have become very disillusioned with my telecommuting job. I accepted this position about a year ago because I liked the idea of working from home. However, I now have so many assignments that I can barely keep up. I was recently given a huge pro...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

DUNEDIN — The Pinellas County Commission pulled the final trigger Tuesday on dedicating $41.7 million in bed taxes for upgrades to the Toronto Blue Jays’ stadium and spring training facilities, a pledge that amounts to covering more than half of the ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida small business owners say their top concern is a lack of skilled workers, according to a recent survey by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Workforce quality has been a recurring issue for small businesses, according to previous surveys. In th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

TAMPA — The world’s biggest hotel company already has 29 properties in the Tampa Bay area, but its CEO says a plan to put more than 1,400 rooms in three Marriott-branded hotels within a few blocks of each other says something about how Tampa is evolv...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

If you’ve ever complained about other motorists on the road, you may have been justified. The Sunshine State ranked No. 8 on GasBuddy.com’s list of states with the most aggressive drivers."Our findings indicate that states with densely populated citi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

Amazon is taking the growing curb-side delivery trend a step further — now shoppers don’t even have to be inside their cars to get their items.The online retailer announced Tuesday it has begun delivering packages to newer cars with OnStar service in...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

WASHINGTON — The company formerly known as Yahoo is paying a $35 million fine to resolve federal regulators’ charges that the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history. The Securiti...
Updated: 11 hours ago
The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

"Stay thirsty, my friends," the most interesting man in the world is coming to Tampa to tend bar on Friday. Jonathan Goldsmith, the face that launched a thousand memes, will be slinging cocktails at Tampa’s trendy Hall on Franklin, the food hall anno...
Published: 04/24/18
So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

NEW PORT RICHEY – The typical tourist in Pasco County this year most likely is a Floridian.But there are lots of Canadians here as well. Nearly 80 percent drove, rather than flew, to the region. Forty percent stayed in hotels, but more than a quarter...
Published: 04/24/18
Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

NEW PORT RICHEY – Hockey pucks could replace lacrosse balls as the required sports equipment for the holiday tourism season in Wesley Chapel.The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, founded by Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, is seek...
Published: 04/24/18