How to Choose Assisted Living for Someone with Disabilities

Here’s a startling statistic: by 2020, the number of seniors is projected to outnumber children worldwide. By 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population will be 65+. Those 85 or older will be the fastest-growing segment over the next few decades.

For many elders, life on a day-to-day basis is challenging. More than half of the “oldest old” (those 85+) are dealing with at least four chronic diseases, and 25 percent have more than six.

As the senior wave grays the globe, there is a corresponding surge in the number of elderly people who need assistance with their ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). But how do you know whether someone is “disabled” — and if their plan to age in place is no longer viable?

Defining “Disability”

Disability changes the landscape of senior living options. Below are the primary parameters researchers with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services use to define “disability” in the elderly. Consider these points a guide to help determine if your loved one may be disabled, or becoming disabled:

  1. Ability to manage 5 core ADLs: bathing, dressing, using the toilet, transferring from bed to chair, and feeding oneself.
  2. Ability to manage daily life tasks, known as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, or IADLs. IADLs include:
    1. preparing meals
    2. taking medications properly
    3. grocery shopping
    4. housework
    5. managing money.

Many elderly individuals do not require assistance in core ADLs, but cannot perform these IADLs without occasional or ongoing help.

  1. Cognitive functioning. Some seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, may be physically capable of performing ADL and/or IADL activities, but should not be allowed to perform them independently because of their cognitive impairments, which impede their ability to handle these tasks safely and accurately. In other words: if a senior with dementia is cooking her own meals, she may leave the stove on and accidentally set the house on fire.
  2. Impaired in an ADL, but able to perform the task with the aid of an assistive device, e.g., getting to the bathroom with the aid of a walker, or climbing into the bathtub with the aid of a grab bar.

Measuring disability is therefore not a straightforward matter. Some elders require the active assistance of another person to perform an activity; they absolutely can’t do it on their own. Others may be able to perform an activity with difficulty, but just need someone nearby in case they require assistance.

The most common approach, per the Department of Health & Human Services, is to define someone as disabled in an ADL if he or she requires the help of another person to perform the activity. Thus, elders who can manage on their own with assistive devices are generally not considered to be disabled.

How to Select the Right Assisted Living Facility

An Assisted Living community may be the answer for a senior with disabilities, because it can provide the degree of help needed, allowing the resident to maintain as much independence as possible. A residential care home might be another good option, especially if the home specializes in serving seniors with disabilities and is equipped to provide the level of care your loved one needs. The smaller, homey atmosphere can be very soothing for someone with dementia or other cognitive impairment.

When considering an assisted living facility or residential care home for an elder with disabilities, be sure to address the following ten questions:

  • Is the facility clean and odor-free?
  • Are the residents well groomed?
  • Do residents seem happy?
  • Are caregivers and employees engaged with the residents? Do they seem to like their work?
  • Are caregivers trained to meet the special needs of people with the disabilities my loved one has?
  • Who administers medication and attends to urgent medical needs?
  • What types of training do caregivers and other employees receive?
  • Ask to see a resident’s room or apartment. Is the space clean, and in good condition?
  • Are the common areas — kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, guest rooms — clean and well maintained?
  • Are family members and residents encouraged to stay connected?

Financial Help for Elders and the Disabled

A non-profit organization known as Elderly or Disabled Living (EDL) is a housing help service that assists seniors or people who are disabled (an applicant doesn’t need to be both) with paying a portion of their bills. Because it is a private charity, there are no waitlists or special requirements. ElderlyorDisabledLiving.com is open to all U.S. citizens on an equal basis. An applicant may only receive financial assistance once per year, and is welcome to reapply at any time if they are not selected.

 

The Plaza at Clover Lake Assisted Living Facility in Carmel, NY

Imagine living in lush grandeur, with acres of beautiful gardens that someone else lovingly tends for you — even your own private lake! You’ve just described The Plaza at Clover Lake, a deluxe senior living community that offers both independent and assisted living with superb quality of life.

Located on 135 acres in scenic Carmel, New York, our community, founded in 2000, provides the kind of respectful, attentive, friendly service an older adult desires and deserves. Your loved one will enjoy three nourishing, delicious meals each day, housekeeping services, a full program of activities, and a scheduled car service for outings and errands, among many other amenities, so their life here can be truly carefree.

Pricing

General Pricing Information for Carmel Assisted Living 

Room TypeMinimum CostAverage CostMaximum Cost
1 Bedroom$5,500$5,500$5,500
Semi-Private$3,200$3,200$3,200
Studio$3,990$3,990$3,990

 

Reviews

“Everyone who is employed at Clover Lake is extremely personable, and helpful. The aides are to be commended for their service. I can not say enough about the care at this facility.”

 

“I loved Plaza at Clover Lake, I even joked with Maureen to save me a room in 10 years, when we took our tour.

The place was clean, they have a gym and I observed the residents working out. They also have an old-fashioned soda shop with music from the 50s playing in the background. I saw other residents reading the paper and you could see how the staff took good care of them.

The other thing I liked about Plaza at Clover Lake was that in the end when the money runs out they would take Medicaid. I know that many communities will ask you to move your loved one out when their options are gone. It was explained to me that I could keep mom here and with some private pay along with Medicaid, they would work with us. It was so refreshing to have a community take that approach.

Maureen did explain to us that they are still remodeling Plaza at Clover Lake. This place is friendly and beautiful, it sits on top of a mountain and overlooks a lake. I could see my mother enjoying her time here.”

 

“My Mom seems fine and seems to like it. My Mom is very social and she likes the people that work there. Some of the residents are not so friendly, but that cannot be helped. Overall, a good experience so far.”

 

“We toured this community when we were looking into senior living options for our loved ones. Plaza at Clover Lake was a beautiful, up to date, and overall very nice looking community. However I do not think it would have been a great fit for Mom. It is a big place and there just would have been too much walking for her. It also ended up being one of the more expensive options we saw.”

 

“My parents are very happy at the Plaza, my only issue is that they need more aides. Since my parents are paying extra for my mother to get more home care there have been times that the aide does not show up or is late. She is mildly self sufficient with the help of my Dad. But they insist that my Dad not help her so we sometimes have a problem.”

 

“They were a reasonable value. They do work towards Medicaid without a spend-down first which is nice. They do have a lot of activities but they could have a little more. My dad is pretty particular and I haven’t had any complaints from him.”

 

“Lovely facility, great staff very warm and informing.”

 

“Pretty nice facility. Liked the central arrangement with the resident halls extending from there. Price was about $1K higher per month than APlaceForMom.com had, plus $1-2K additional for care. Has fairly recently become an assisted living facility after being independent living so they are not quite up to speed with things. No nursing on site, which is a concern.”

Features

  • Daily medication monitoring and assistance
  • Bathing, dressing and grooming assistance
  • Three delicious, well-balanced meals plus evening snack daily (special diets accommodated)
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen services
  • Personal laundry service
  • Planned daily activities and entertainment
  • Scheduled group trips
  • Suite maintenance service
  • Holiday activities and family social opportunities
  • Scheduled transportation to doctors, shopping and banking
  • Incontinence management
  • Reminding and socialization encouragement services
  • Case Management Services
  • Personal Banking

Amenities

  • Comfortable lobby and sitting area with fireplace
  • Quiet social and recreational areas throughout Community
  • Grand living room
  • Convenient postal area with private mail boxes
  • Diner
  • Outdoor shuffleboard courts
  • Arts and Crafts Center
  • Library with computers and Internet access
  • Card and Game Room
  • Outdoor garden areas
  • Free guest parking
  • Conveniently located elevators
  • Comprehensive fire alarm system
  • Complimentary laundry facilities
  • Billiard table
  • Fitness room
  • Theatre for movie and TV viewing

Alternatives

N/A

Click here to contact us now to see if The Plaza at Clover Lake may be right for you.

 

Assisted Living Options for Low Income Elders

Finding assisted living on a limited income can be challenging — but for many seniors, the definition of “low income” is itself perplexing. What determines whether someone qualifies?

Defining income levels

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as of 2015 the low-income limit is “80 percent of the median income for the county in which the person resides.” The median number refers to the midpoint in a series. So, if income levels for a senior’s county of residence range from, say, $15,000/year to $60,000/year, with $30,000 as the middle (not average) of this range, a senior who receives $24,000/year (80% of $30,000) would be considered “low income”.

While this definition of low income may still seem quite adequate to someone living at or below the poverty level, HUD makes two additional distinctions. “Very low income” is no more than 50 percent of the median income (which would be $15,000 in our example), and “extremely low income” is just 30 percent or less of the median income (e.g., $9000 or under, per our example).

Keep in mind that the government isn’t just looking at a senior’s Social Security check. HUD counts income from pensions, retirement accounts, IRAs, insurance annuities, and assets such as real estate, cars, etc., when assessing eligibility.

Here are five public and private resources seniors and their families can explore to help low income elders afford assisted living:

Section 202

Low-income seniors 62+ may qualify for subsidized rental assistance via HUD’s Section 202 program, which covers both independent and assisted living environments. Established in 1959, Section 202 is the only HUD program that provides housing exclusively for seniors. The rent-assisted housing is designed specifically to enable seniors and the disabled to live as independently as possible.

Although the federal government funds the program, applications are accepted and funding is distributed at the state and county levels. Section 202 vouchers help pay for rent and other housing expenses, and a senior must contribute to the overall cost.

Assisted Living Conversion Program (ALCP)

ALCP may be the best of both worlds: aging in place with assistance. Since 2012, HUD has channeled $26 million in grant funding to owners of multi-family housing developments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Texas. The monies have been used to convert existing units into affordable apartments for seniors who need the types of support services assisted living provides, but still want to live independently.

Eligible projects must also qualify as Section 202 or similar subsidized HUD housing. This article explains ALCP in detail.

Veterans’ Benefits

Veterans and spouses of veterans may qualify for aid from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Although the VA does not pay a veteran’s rent, it may cover some of the services provided by an assisted living facility. Known as Aid and Attendance (A&A), this benefit is a monthly, needs-based payment above and beyond the VA pension that can help cover the costs of long-term care. It is important to note that a veteran or surviving spouse may only receive Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits (if they are unable to leave their home), not both at once.

To be financially eligible for A&A:

  • A single veteran must have countable income under $12,907 a year
  • A veteran with a dependent or spouse must have countable income under $16,902 a year (as of 2016).

This article explains veterans’ benefits in detail.

Long-term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance, or LTCI, can be tricky. While it appears to be a natural hedge against a future possibility of becoming ill or disabled, long-term care insurance is not a catchall solution. Here’s why:

LTCI premiums can be as steep as the cost of care itself; what is covered varies by policy. For example, a “facility-only” policy covers care in a licensed assisted living facility or in a skilled nursing facility, but not in an unlicensed facility or in your own home. And, there is usually a “waiting” or “elimination” period before someone is able to access funds. The shorter the elimination period you select, the more expensive the premiums. Learn more here.

Residential Care Homes

Another possibility is a residential care home, also known as RCFE (residential care facility for the elderly), adult day home, board-and-care home, or personal care home. These small group settings provide basic services (usually meals and light assistance) at a much lower cost than typical assisted living communities or nursing homes. Medicaid may also pay some of the cost for residents who meet eligibility requirements.

Finding Appropriate Housing in Your Area

HUD has compiled an exhaustive multifamily inventory of housing units for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Though not all housing units qualify as assisted living, they are all subsidized HUD housing for seniors and persons with disabilities. You can click the link for your state, and begin to make inquiries at locations that sound promising.

White Pine Senior Living Facility in Fridley, Minnesota (MN) Reviews, Pricing & More

Senior living doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and affordability in the form of a set cost is one factor that attracts families to Fridley’s White Pine Senior Living residence.

Offering both assisted living and memory care, White Pine eschews the nonrefundable assessment or application fee many other assisted living and memory care facilities charge. Likewise, White Pine does not charge an “entrance fee” to move into their residence. Their philosophy is, “Great care without great cost,” and this is reflected in the outstanding leadership and care providers the community employs.

White Pine offers amenities uncommon in assisted living and memory, including home-cooked meals prepared from scratch, and carefully designed communities that enable residents to retain their independence for as long as possible. White Pine Senior Living may also allow residents to keep a dog or cat.

Pricing

As described, White Pine Senior Living has one, all-inclusive price for services:

Room TypeMonthly Range (USD)
Studio (bed and bath)$4,550 – $5,725
I Bedroom (Designed for one

person. May also include small

living area and kitchenette.)

$4,950 (approximate)

Reviews

“My mom was a resident of White Pines Fridley for about 15 months. I knew we were fortunate to have Mom living in his facility, but while preparing for her funeral and talking to friends and family about her passing it has become even more apparent how blessed we were to be part of the White Pines family.

“I have lots of people to be thankful for there — the management style, the knowledge and support of the nursing staff, the cooks and cleaners, and especially the loving and caring support that the aides and assistants give the residents every day. The staff truly works as a team with the goal of providing comfort and care to each resident ever day. They meet them on their level and in their space and time. They encourage, laugh and cry with them. They help set realistic expectations and support the residents through each stage of their decline. And then they are there to support and hold the family in our grief.

“Thank you to each and every White Pines staff for the patience and kindness you showed to me (and other members of our family) while I learned about dementia and treatment, for helping me to have realistic expectations of Mm and what the staff can do for them, for helping me understand what it’s like living with dementia in an assisted living environment, for guiding me through the disease process itself, and for helping me give Mom what she needed to feel safe and loved in her final days of life.

“I count my blessings often and when I get to Mom, I count White Pines twice.”

 

“Overall we’re very pleased with how things have gone at this community. It’s a great looking place, everything is always very clean and well kept. The staff have all been very friendly and professional. My parents rave about how friendly and helpful the girls here have been for them! They’ve also got a good variety of activities in their memory care section. The biggest complaint they’ve had is that the memory care unit is the last stop when it comes to meal delivery so the food and coffee often arrive cold.”

 

“Beautiful Property!! I really liked this property, it was actually one of my favorites out of all the different communities we had looked at for my loved one. The staff where on time to our appointment and did a great job maintaining a clean beautiful property. My cousin just did not want to be on the first floor and that was the only thing they had open at the time.”

 

“The staff is taking good care of my father and he is doing well since the move. One of our frustrations is that they do not go get him for activities. I know if they ask, my father will refuse but they could tell him that they are taking him or just take him down to join. Also, there have been a couple of times that his bathroom has been out of toilet paper. Other than that, we are happy with the care and we like that there is a set fee, that’s what drew us in.”

 

“I think the staff is fabulous and I think they are a very caring group! They are wonderful to all the residents — there is a broad variety of patients in there. It’s amazing to me that they can take care of such a wide variety. Every time I walk in there it’s homey and when driving up to everything it is very nice. I like that it’s all-inclusive. I didn’t want to get into a place that nickeled and dimed things. I have seen a calendar with a lot of activities.”

Features/Amenities

White Pine provides the following services as part of their senior living package:

  • Transportation at cost
  • Complimentary transportation
  • Property convenient to bus line
  • Resident parking available
  • Staff available 24/7
  • Home-cooked meals

Amenities

  • Activities both onsite and offsite
  • Beautician onsite
  • Devotional services onsite and offsite
  • Indoor common areas
  • Outdoor common areas
  • Visiting podiatrist
  • Pets permitted

Alternatives

N/A

Click here to contact us now to see if White Pine Senior Living may be right for you.

 

The Walpan Residence: Refined Retirement Living

 

What could be finer than retiring to a charming, turn-of-the-century colonial on a quiet, residential street? Not having to worry about the upkeep — or preparing your own meals! Since 1963, The Walpan Residence in Montclair, New Jersey, has offered seniors elegant independent living in a luxurious, family-like atmosphere designed to provide all the comforts of home.

The Walpan Residence offers the best of both worlds: independence, with the assurance that a helping hand is there when you need it. Similar to an Inn or Bed & Breakfast, The Walpan caters to a senior’s every need, treating each resident as a treasured guest. Residents enjoy stylish living accommodations, three delicious meals a day, and a relaxed, supportive environment that allows them the freedom to pursue personal interests.

For the independent senior who no longer wishes to maintain his or her own home, The Walpan is an outstanding, cost-effective alternative to a long-term care facility. Its mission is luxury with dignity and choice. Along with the benefits and convenience of a professional staff trained to serve a senior’s special needs, family members enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved one is being cared for in a secure, nurturing environment.

Pricing 

Unlike assisted living and nursing home costs, which are published annually by Genworth Financial, there is very little published pricing information available on independent living facilities. According to a state-by-state chart compiled by SeniorHomes.com, independent living prices in New Jersey as of 2015 range from a monthly minimum of $2000, to a monthly maximum of $5355, with an average cost of $3371. We suggest you use these figures as a guideline when considering The Walpan Residence.

Reviews

“My sister is so busy now since she moved into The Walpan Residence. She is having such a great time. I think she has adjusted well with the move into the community. She thinks everyone is super-kind and helpful. They help her with transportation to and from her appointments. They really care about her and look after her very well. The community is wonderful and really nice looking and the location is around the block from her old neighborhood she grown up in, so she is still close to her friends. It has been a good experience for us, the owner of the community has been great to us and I would highly recommend this community.” 

“My Mom is really enjoying this place! The staff is incredible, the owner is really great, and the family that fills in for him when he takes time off is wonderful. They are all very warm, caring, and responsible, all of Mom’s needs are cared for. Mom says the food is excellent, the chef is great.

“Mom has complained that resident turnover can be high, it’s hard to meet new people that often. I also believe they should have more mentally stimulating activities for the residents to keep them active.”

“They are very clean. I feel like I am definitely getting my money’s worth. I have heard that they are really good about responding if he calls for help. I can’t really think of anything I would like them to do better or any concerns either. We chose them because they were the best fit for our loved one.” 

Features/Amenities

Walpan Residence Features:

  • 3 carefully prepared, superb meals daily
  • 24-hour access to staff and personal care assistance
  • Bilingual staff
  • Elevator
  • Medical assistance on call
  • Cable TV
  • WiFi
  • Complimentary transportation service
  • Convenient to nearby shopping and NYC transportation

Amenities:

  • Beauty salon
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Planned leisure activities and events, both onsite and offsite
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • Laundry and linen service

Alternatives

  • Respite Care is available

Click here to contact us now to see if The Walpan Residence may be right for you.

Aster Retirement Community of Marshfield: Five-Star Senior Living

If you’re looking to retire in style, Aster Retirement Community of Marshfield is an excellent choice. Housed in the historic Purdy Building, a renovated schoolhouse, Aster combines elegance and tradition with contemporary senior living. Fifty-three assisted living suites are situated in a comfortable neighborhood setting, with manicured flowerbeds, a cozy parlor, bright sunroom, and a dining room serving delicious meals. Residents enjoy all the comforts of senior living while receiving the level of care that best meets their needs.

Aster Retirement Community of Marshfield meal plans are prepared with fresh ingredients from specially designed menus that can accommodate nearly every type of diet. Private dining, family style, cookouts, and picnics are all available for every style of meal desired. Aster offers seniors the latest amenities in the comfort they would enjoy in their own homes. The staff is fully trained, friendly and accessible.

The assisted living lifestyle at Aster Retirement Community provides a balance of assistance and independence. Our professional team develops a personalized plan of care to suit each resident’s specific needs. Residents enjoy the privacy of their own apartment, with the support of caring staff for whatever they may require, from personal care to transportation to medication reminders — and sometimes just a friendly chat.

Residents enjoy of a full schedule of social, educational and entertaining activities. Aster’s structured program helps residents maintain a high quality of life. Many of the fun and entertaining activities encourage members to socialize and develop friendships with other residents.

Pricing

Pricing for one-two bedroom apartments is in the $3300-3700 range for Marshfield assisted living facilities, which is very reasonable compared with Wisconsin assisted living rates overall, and assisted living costs nationwide.

Nearby Cities

CityDistanceNumber of FacilitiesAverage Cost for 1 Bedroom
Marshfield0 miles1$3,330
Colby18 miles1$4,500
Neillsville21 miles1N/A
Wisconsin Rapids27 miles3$4,280
Nekoosa27 miles1$2,980
Wausau30 miles7$3,200

 

General Pricing for Marshfield Assisted Living

Room TypeMinimum CostAverage CostMaximum Cost
1 Bedroom$3,325$3,325$3,325
2 Bedrooms$3,775$3,775$3,775

Reviews

“I visited Aster Retirement Community of Marshfield. I didn’t taste any food, but the dining room looked nice. I was unable to visit a room because they were filled and the person whose room they were usually able to show was in the hospital and so there was no room available for my mother to look at. The staff seemed to be very friendly, not pushy, and informative. It was a little bit dark, I thought, but they had older typed furniture, which might be on purpose, thinking that they were dealing with older people. It was very clean and the people that I did see appeared to be quite satisfied. What I liked about it was that I have heard good things about it from people who lived there because I don’t live there at all. Everybody had a private room — it was not a studio — but rather they did have a separate room and a separate sitting area, and I feel that would be more suitable than having a studio apartment. I also liked that they checked on the residents and they will get their medications ready and dispense them if they were having trouble doing it themselves. They’ll help make their appointments for doctors or beauticians or anywhere. They had a van that would take them shopping or to appointments, and I think that also was very good.”

“I think they do a very nice job at Aster Retirement Community. The staff is friendly and hardworking, and the facility itself seems like a nice place. They’ve got a good variety of activities and events, and my loved one has had very good things to say about the food! There have been a few minor maintenance issues, but in general they’ve been accommodating and on top of things. Our loved one really seems happy here.”

Features/Amenities

Aster Assisted Living features:

  • Three delicious meals a day
  • Special diet accommodation
  • Complimentary transportation
  • Resident and guest parking
  • Property convenient to bus line
  • ​Assistance scheduling medically-related appointments
  • In-house digital emergency response system for each resident
  • Respite care
  • Memory care
  • Hospice services

Amenities:

  • 24-hour, trained in-house caregivers
  • Personal laundry and housekeeping
  • Onsite beautician
  • Beautiful common areas for entertaining guests
  • Devotional services offsite
  • Social events and trips inside and outside the community

Alternatives

Respite Care

Aster Respite offers short-stay assisted living, perfect for family caregivers who need a break to rest and recharge, and for seniors who need time to recover after a rehab stay, hospitalization, or illness. Respite residents may choose to furnish their own apartment or rent one of our fully furnished rooms. Respite Care guests enjoy the same assisted living services and exceptional care as long-term assisted living residents.

Memory Care

Aster Memory Care Communities provide a safe, comfortable, caring environment for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other forms of memory loss. These secure communities combine all the comforts of home with design features specifically intended to enhance the quality of life for persons with memory loss. Aster Memory Care Communities feature unique programs designed to promote the highest level of independence possible, while supported by caring staff.

Hospice Care

Aster Assisted Living & Memory Care Communities maintain strong relationships with many hospice providers in our communities so that residents can receive hospice care in their apartment. If there comes a time when a loved one needs hospice care, we will work closely with the hospice provider of your choice to provide quality, comfort and dignity for your loved one’s final days.

Click here to contact us now to see if Aster Retirement Community of Marshfield may be right for you.