Inspired Living is your partner in the journey ahead. Do you have questions about senior living community costs, sources of funding, or other senior living subjects? We’re here to help.
GLOSSARY OF SENIOR LIVING TERMS
If you’re new to the concepts of Assisted Living and Memory Care, trying to understand all the terms related to these types of care can feel a little overwhelming. We understand! That’s why we put together this glossary of key terms related to the senior living industry.
Accreditation is an official “approval” given by an independent governing body to a senior living community and/or their staff, showing that they provide senior care to very high standards.
Activities of daily living (ADLs) refer to normal day-to-day living tasks related to self-care and maintenance. These include eating, dressing, bathing, using the toilet, grooming, taking medication as prescribed, and others.
The Activities or Program Director plans and oversees all onsite and offsite activities offered by a senior living community. Their role includes ensuring there are plenty of activities to provide an engaging, vibrant lifestyle to residents with a wide range of ages, backgrounds, physical and cognitive abilities, and preferences.
This is also called a Living Will. An Advanced Health Care Directive is a legal document that lays out someone’s wishes and decisions relating to life-saving procedures and devices. They’re used when an injury or terminal illness makes a person unable to decide or communicate their decisions on their own.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. It’s a disease that causes problems with behavior, thinking, and memory. It usually develops gradually, getting worse and worse over time. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s right now, but research is ongoing, and there are treatments available for its symptoms.
A senior living assessment involves a qualified professional, often a registered nurse (RN), carefully assessing their residents to keep an accurate, detailed, and up-to-date account of their current health, care needs, ability to perform ADLs, and more. These assessments identify specific services needed and guide each resident’s individual care plan, including their health care, medications, Assisted Living services, and other recommendations.
A caregiver is a trained health care professional who provides personalized care to senior living residents.
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is a certified health care professional who provides personalized care. A certified nursing assistant helps patients or clients with health care needs under the supervision of a nurse.
A deficiency-free survey shows that all of the services and facilities a senior living community provides meet or exceed all federal and state standards, as decided by a government-approved inspector.
Dementia is a broad term for a set of symptoms that interfere with someone’s reasoning, judgment, and memory enough to disrupt normal daily living or their ability to perform activities of daily living. Dementia is not a natural part of the aging process, and it always has a root cause.
Durable power of attorney is a legal term for choosing a capable adult or adults, generally a family member or very close friend, who will take legal control over a person’s affairs if they become physically or mentally unable to manage themselves. It’s a legally binding document drafted by a lawyer. Affairs can include health care and medical treatments, finances, estate management, and more.
The Executive Director is in charge of the overall operations of the senior living community. The Executive Director oversees everything from staffing and personnel to facilities management, financial health, quality of care, resident activities, and more.
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are an extension of ADLs and include important activities like paying bills, transportation, cooking, cleaning, shopping, caring for pets, and other activities that allow a resident to live within an Independent Living community.
A living trust is a fund of money set aside to ensure private property is managed a certain way, without court involvement, if the individual is incapacitated or passes away. These are more expensive to set up than wills but will allow control over what happens to someone’s property after they’re gone, without private details of the estate becoming public.
A living will is a legal document that lays out a person’s wishes and decisions related to lifesaving procedures and devices. They’re used when an injury or terminal illness makes a person unable to decide or communicate decisions on their own. An “advanced health care directive” is another term for a living will.
Wills are signed and witnessed (notarized) legal documents that detail how someone’s property will be divided up and given to family members and friends at the time of the person’s death.
TYPES OF SENIOR LIVING
There are many types of care available to seniors. These include:
Home care, also called “aging in place,” relies on caregivers coming to someone’s home regularly – often daily – to provide in-home care, including help with ADLs and IADLs. This allows seniors to stay in their own home instead of moving into a senior living community. But it’s also more expensive, and it’s not the best choice for people with certain health or cognitive issues or levels of need.
Senior living communities are purpose-built care centers, staffed by different types of caregivers and professionally managed to offer many types of support for residents. Types of senior living communities include CCRCs, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, nursing homes, and short-term respite care facilities.
These senior living communities are designed to include the full range of care and lifestyles in a single campus or property. That means residents can remain at a single community as they continue to age, moving from Independent Living to Assisted Living to Memory Care and other specialized forms of care, as needed.
Independent Living communities offer apartment or condo-style housing for residents and offer them the independence of living on their own and coming and going as they please. They also get the benefit of living in a social community with shared amenities and regular activities. Should it be needed, some or most levels of health care services are often available onsite.
Assisted Living communities combine the independence of apartment-style housing with full-service, onsite care for residents who need help with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) each day. Assisted Living communities provide organized social activities, community dining, and a full range of engaging activities and programs both on and offsite.
Memory Care communities are designed and operated to serve the unique needs of residents suffering from various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. These residents often require extensive daily assistance from highly trained, certified caregivers as well as other health care services.
Also known as “respite care” or “adult day care,” these programs offer temporary housing in a short-term community. Residents will generally stay between a week and a month, depending on their needs. These programs are provided for seniors who are recovering from an illness or injury, to offer a full-time caregiver time to recharge, or to give residents a chance to explore a new senior living community before committing.
Also known as “skilled nursing facilities” or “convalescent care,” long-term care communities serve residents who need full-time, 24-hour care from a skilled nursing staff. This usually involves residents who have complex medical conditions or high levels of care needs. These communities meet accreditation standards set by the federal government to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
PRIVATE PAY VS. GOVERNMENT ASSISTED
There are a variety of ways to pay for the costs of senior living communities. The two main options are private forms of payment or various government assistance programs. Need help finding the one that’s right for you? Continue reading below to learn more about each program so you can make a more informed decision.
There are many communities that accept federal and state government programs that provide financial assistance with certain health care costs. This can include some expenses associated with senior living, Assisted Living, and others. Right now, there are assistance programs from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), certain Medicaid programs, and many others that will help pay for costs associated with senior living communities.
“Private pay” refers to each resident’s ability to pay for the costs of living in a senior living community on their own. This is largely payment out-of-pocket. There is also a range of long-term health care insurance policies offered by private companies that covers some or all of the living costs in these senior living communities. Inspired Living is a private pay community.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUDGET
When considering private pay senior living, budgeting is among one of the most significant things you must consider. In this budgeting guide, we have listed several factors to consider when planning a budget for senior living expenses:
Your Monthly Cost of Living
Whether you are just getting started or have done your research, this guide is here to help you understand your budget and if private pay senior living is the right choice for you.
When planning your budget, your monthly living costs are an important consideration. Understanding how your current income pays for your expenses will give you an idea of your cost of living. Things like rent, food, entertainment, maintenance, utilities, care needs, and other expenses are important to know when comparing your current costs to senior living costs.
Family supplementation is when a loved one helps pay for the costs of senior living such as room and board fees. This consideration is unique to each family, state, and monthly income but is a common budget component when planning for a senior living budget.
Considering additional assets that are available to you can also help budget the costs of senior living. There are many examples but a few to consider are:
- Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Does your life insurance policy have a cash value? This is another source of funds that you may want to investigate. You can receive money from your current life insurance policy or even cash out the value of your policy. Talk with your family and your financial provider to determine if this is a good option for you.
If you own your current home, you may want to consider selling it. If an immediate sale or final sale does not make sense for you, your home can be utilized for cash with these two commonly used options:
- Reverse Mortgage – Having lenders pay out the current worth of your home each month
- Bridge Loan – Using your current home to buy an additional home
There are a number of benefits that can help you budget and minimize the cost of senior living. Inspired Living is a private pay community, meaning residents must pay out of pocket. However, we do accept two types of benefits that can help reduce the costs of senior living:
You can learn more about the benefits we accept and if you qualify for further compensation.
- Long-Term Care Insurance – Insurance that is provided by many private insurance companies and covers a portion of Assisted Living
- Veterans Benefits – Caregiver assistance with daily living benefits given to veterans or if their spouse was a veteran
BENEFITS WE ACCEPT
If you’re a veteran or a veteran’s spouse, you may qualify for financial benefits and services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Inspired Living is proud to support our veteran residents, so we invite you to explore the information below to learn more about the financial assistance the VA provides to senior veterans. Benefits from the VA’s Aid & Attendance (A&A) program offer an increased pension to senior veterans who need caregiver assistance with daily living. This includes the resident-inspired care provided by the passionate staff at Inspired Living communities across the Southeast.
That means if you meet one or more of the following conditions, you may qualify for a larger VA pension benefit:
- You need help with normal daily living, including bathing, dressing, or eating
- You are a nursing home patient
- You are bedridden
- You have very poor eyesight of less than a corrected 5/200 in both eyes or concentric contraction of the visual field of 5 degrees or less
- You may also qualify for Housebound pension benefits if you have a permanent disability that confines you to your immediate premises
Click here to learn more about the VA’s Aid & Attendance Pension and Housebound benefits on the VA’s website.
Long-term health care insurance policies are provided by many private insurance companies. In return for paying a premium, policyholders are entitled to benefits that cover at least a portion of Assisted Living and related service costs.
Generally, to qualify for your long-term insurance benefits certain conditions known as “benefit triggers” must be met. For the most part, this involves the policyholder’s inability to perform predefined activities of daily living (ADLs). The most commonly recognized activities of daily living are things like dressing, eating, bathing, walking, using the toilet, and remaining continent. If you’re unable to perform two or three of these activities on your own, your benefits will be triggered.
When looking at your options for long-term health care insurance policies, there are a few special things that are very important to consider:
- What will the premiums cost? – Understanding what your plan will cost monthly or yearly is key to knowing what coverage you can afford
- What benefits will you receive? – Based on your premiums, it’s important to figure out how much the policy will pay out in when triggered
- What activities of daily living (ADLs) trigger the policy’s benefits? – Every policy is different, so be sure to understand which ADLs your policy requires that you need help with
- Are cognitive impairments an issue? – Developing cognitive impairments, like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, can affect ADLs under certain policies. That means you may be physically capable of performing certain daily activities but still need help. Be sure you understand your policy’s triggers as they relate to cognitive impairments
- What are the coverage exclusions? – There are a range of conditions that might exclude you from receiving your benefits, so be sure to get a full understanding of these exclusions before buying a policy
- What are the waiting and elimination periods? – Most of these policies have a waiting or elimination period that must pass before benefits will be paid out, generally ranging from zero to 100 days. Be sure to understand how many days will pass after you are certified to be unable to perform your required number of ADLs before your coverage will kick in
For more information about long-term health care insurance policies and how to shop for the right policy for your needs, we encourage you to see this helpful resource from AARP.
RIGHTSIZING PERKS & TIPS
Downsizing is a key part of simplifying your life and cutting costs. Explore the tips below for help on making the transition as easy as possible, and learn more about the advantages that proper downsizing can bring to your life.
Downsizing is made far more difficult the more you put it off. You don’t have to think of it as a single huge project! Start today, and start with something as simple as cleaning out one drawer in your kitchen or bathroom. Have more towels or bedding than you can use? Set your extras aside for donation or disposal.
Another excellent tip, especially if you’re relocating very soon, is to start by packing items you’re certain to need rather than starting with all the stuff you won’t bring along. Starting with your “keepers” will make the process feel more positive, manageable, and productive.
If you’re moving into a smaller condo, apartment, or senior living community, you’ll probably have fewer rooms and less storage space. Keep this in mind as you make your downsizing plan.
A great strategy is to begin with rooms you won’t have at your new residence. Places like your garage, basement, attic, backyard shed, or spare bedroom are good examples. Make it a weekend project to clear out one area at a time. Remember to start small and start early! If a garage or attic is simply too big to handle in one day or weekend, invite friends or family over to help, or give yourself more time. Segmenting your downsizing by room will help keep an overwhelming task far more manageable.
A great way to cut down on clutter is to get rid of duplicate items, like kitchen utensils, tools, linens, and household mainstays. This is a process you can start today and keep doing every day, as you come across clutter around your home. How many coffee mugs do you really need? Think about the most you could ever actually use at one time and discard from there.
Another issue people can come across when downsizing is deciding what to do with cherished collections and items that hold memories and emotional value. One possible solution for dealing with old photos, albums, or slides is to have them digitized and store them in a digital photo frame, tablet, or computer. Knickknacks or other collectibles you know you won’t have space to display in your new home can be photographed in high resolution and added to an easy-to-display coffee-table album you can enjoy for years to come.
Be sure to be honest with yourself about what items are genuinely important and which you can comfortably part with. It’s important to understand that there likely won’t be room for everything you own, so you will need to be realistic about what items you want to bring along.
While a consignment shop or yard sale can be quick and fairly effective, there are many ways to sell your unneeded items online, potentially making you a lot more money. Look into sites like eBay, Craigslist, and others, and get help from younger friends and relatives. You never know how much your items might be worth to the right buyers.
There are also many charities, such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and others, who will be glad to take your items for a tax-deductible donation. Your unneeded stuff might be just the thing a struggling family truly needs.
Also, if you really can’t stand the idea of losing certain cherished items, turn them into legacy gifts and heirlooms. Think about younger family members who might really enjoy these things and use them regularly. It’s never too early to pass along important family heirlooms. Plus, you’ll still get to see and enjoy these items whenever you visit.
If you plan your downsizing right and break it up into manageable pieces, it can be a fun activity for the whole family. Invite over your younger friends and relatives for a day of memories and bonding. Send the grandkids on a treasure hunt in the attic. Share your stories as you look at your belongings, and make new memories everyone will cherish for a lifetime.
Embrace the process, and it will become a fun, confidence-inspiring task that simplifies your life and makes your relocation far easier.
BENEFITS OF SENIOR LIVING
Most seniors want to live in their own homes as they continue to age, preferring to age in place with in-home care. It’s very understandable, as you are likely more comfortable in a familiar place and don’t want to deal with the difficulty of moving. But there are many advantages to senior living communities. Here’s why living in a senior living community might be the best option for you:
One of the biggest challenges reported by seniors who are aging in place is isolation. Being unable to drive and having friends and family move away can lead to loneliness, and this lack of stimulating companionship has been shown to shorten lives and may even contribute to the progression of dementia.
Living in a senior community enables seniors to socialize and make new friends. Communities offer daily social dining, indoor and outdoor amenities and gathering places, and regular social programming to ensure an abundance of stimulating interaction. Many residents even report feeling more energized with a renewed sense of purpose.
Many seniors who continue living at home struggle to eat right, manage their medication, and get the regular health care they need to live comfortable, fulfilling lives. Poor nutrition and lack of physical and mental health care can be serious issues.
With community living, seniors have centralized social dining, with meals prepared by culinary teams who always have proper nutrition in mind.
Also, community staff members are always there to help with medications, and many regular health care services are available onsite.
Many seniors who age in place feel they are a bother to family members and caregivers who must come to their home to assist with daily living tasks, housekeeping, and errands. Additionally, seniors who can no longer drive must rely on friends, family, and caregivers for regular transportation. This can lead to greater feelings of isolation and dependency.
At a senior living community, the compassionate staff and caregivers provide the ideal level of support and assistance, giving residents a greater sense of independence. And residents have daily access to shuttles and other transportation for shopping, church, errands, and entertainment, all within a social environment.
There is a long list of modifications that must be made to a senior’s home to keep it a safe environment. But adding non-slip surfaces and grab bars, widening doorways, installing ramps, and other modifications can become quite expensive. And, in the event a senior falls or has a medical emergency in their home, help might not be readily available.
With senior living communities, all these safety modifications are already in place. And should they have a medical emergency, there’s always a trained professional ready to respond immediately.
The organizations listed below are good resources:
The Alzheimer’s Association – the largest private, not-for-profit supporter of Alzheimer’s disease research – provides information about the disease, as well as useful resources and supportive programs to help individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers cope with and understand the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers information about research advances, publications, and events.
The Alzheimer’s Association Helpline is available 24/7 and provides dependable information and emotional support to those who need assistance – individuals with memory loss, caregivers, health care professionals, and the general public. The helpline staff can answer questions about Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, medications, and treatment options. Additionally, the helpline can provide tips on caregiving and offer referrals to local community events and support programs.
Hosted by the National Institute on Aging, ADEAR provides information from a database that contains almost 8,500 pieces of material about Alzheimer’s disease – from journal articles to brochures to newsletters and reports. Information can be found about research, diagnosis, and treatment options, as well as breaking news and publications.
Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) is a disease process that results in progressive damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain. It causes a group of brain disorders that share many clinical features. FTD is also commonly referred to as frontotemporal dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), or Pick’s disease.
LBD affects an estimated 1.4 million individuals and their families in the United States. Because LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it is currently widely under diagnosed. Many doctors and other medical professionals still are not familiar with LBD.
Brain injury is not an event or an outcome. It is the start of a misdiagnosed, misunderstood, underfunded neurological disease. People who sustain brain injuries must have timely access to expert trauma care, specialized rehabilitation, lifelong disease management, and individualized services and supports in order to live healthy, independent, and satisfying lives.