Share your knowledge of Assisted Living Facilities

duluthinbloomz4April 19, 2007

What I know about assisted living is mainly by osmosis as my Mother went from home directly to LTC. An elderly Aunt, on the other hand, lived in a senior independent living apartment building in a complex that also had assisted living apartment buildings. All apartments in the complex, regardless of the status of the residents, had call buttons in the bathrooms and bedrooms, residents had communal meals at least once a day as a check, etc.

The assisted living building had a nurse on call, and there was staff available to help those residents who needed assistance in rising, dressing, bathing, med taking. Communal meals were a way to keep track of everyone. In most cases, the residents have something/someone to take care of bill paying and the more routine financial matters if that was necessary. Many also had independent housekeepers who would also do laundry and hair dressers who made house calls. This particular complex had no level of care beyond assisted, so a resident requiring LTC would have to move.

The complex my Mother is in has all levels of care from adult daycare services to independent to assisted to LTC. Once in, you can seemlessly go right through the system.

This is all I can say. I know assisted living is an interim step between independence and LTC, but from anyone's experience what do you - or better yet - what should you get for money spent on assisted living?

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My mother is currently in an assisted living facilty in Sacramento, CA. We visited several places before the move, and the care she is receiving is pretty much standard in the area.

She has her own apartment with a good sized bedroom, private bathroom, small living room, and kitchenette. Her bathroom is equipped with a no-barrier shower & a corded call button is next to the shower & toilet. The toilet is a handicapped toilet. The bathroom sink has no drawers underneath, so it is wheelchair accessible.

Her kitchenette has an apartment size refrigerator, sink & microwave. (Most of the places we looked at only provided dorm size fridges.)

All meals are provided in the dining area. There are usually two choices for lunch & dinner, plus an additional list of alternatives.

The residents can go to the local grocery store once a week to stock up on snacks, etc. The facility has activity rooms and washer & dryers on each wing. The facility has an in-house hairdresser, manicurist, & podiatrist.

All medications are kept in the locked nurses' station. The aides administer the meds to each resident. The staff communicates with doctors if necessary. Residents can use the facility's pharmacy for prescriptions. In addition, all residents wear a GPS device, so in an emergency, they can press the button & the staff knows exactly where they are.

Transporatation to medical appointments is provided. Regular, weekly housekeeping is also provided -- dusting, vacuuming, etc. Trash is emptied daily. Laundry is also provided, depending on the resident's wishes. My mother washes her own clothes but has aides wash her bedding & put her bed back together.

Residents can have assistance with dressing, toileting, & bathing if needed. They can also have aides wheel them to meals, activities, etc. Obviously, all their medical needs are taken care of by aides. For example, my mother wears compression socks. Aides help her get them on each morning & take them off each evening. Aides bandage wounds, etc.

Residents have many activity choices, usually about five different ones daily. In addition, two or three "field trips" are scheduled monthly.

This facility also allows hospice for end-of-life situations. It is not a skilled nursing facility, so the staff won't manage IVs, injections, etc. However, private health aides can be brought in to take care of those issues.

My mother has fallen a few times and the staff has arranged for her to be taken to ER. They communicate with me regarding her medications, etc.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions that I haven't addressed, please let me know.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:12PM
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I forgot to mention that monthly costs are determined by the amount of care needed. Residents are re-evaluated frequently as their needs change and rates are adjusted accordingly. Right now my mother is still pretty independent. But after hip surgery last year, she required a lot more help. Her costs during the months of recuperation were higher then.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:38PM
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I often lurk here, but haven't posted before...

I used to work for an agency that sent out companion-aides to assist elderly clients with nonmedical assistance. We had several clients who lived in assisted living facilities so I got to see them up close.
All had dining rooms and clients could eat there or take meals back to their apartments. The apartments had small but completely self sufficient kitchens. Call buttons were in the bathrooms. The facilities provided transportation for shopping, entertainment, dr's appts, and also to the local pool timed to coordinate with special water exercise classes.
The apartments were small, but nice. Light housekeeping and laundry were included. My favorite facility had small entry areas in front of each apartment - a small recessed area that the occupant could decorate. There was a steady stream of activities and it was a cheerful place. It also had a nice gym. I could envision myself living in a place like that someday.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 12:33PM
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I only have experience in one. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is that there was a signal light that was supposed to be turned on just outside the apartment door when she went to bed. She was to turn it off when she got up. Any light still lit in the morning after a certain time was investigated by the staff in case something had happened during the night.

The apartment was small, but everything was arranged for a wheelchair. The bedroom was quite large for the apartment size. In addition to the regular bedroom furniture, there was room for a sewing machine table...someone else might want to have a computer or writing desk.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 1:04PM
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