Do you think I will qualify to live in a senior housing community if I have a pre-existing condition?
Without knowing the specifics of your condition, it is hard to say. There are many senior housing communities that have medical criteria to be accepted for residency. The medical review process could include reviewing your medical history and a one-on-one meeting with a representative from the community’s medical staff. Someone who has a pre-existing condition may represent a higher than normal risk of requiring care and may not be accepted. Cognitive types of medical issues or progressive medical diseases are red flags and may disqualify you, so it is important to plan ahead. It is important to ask questions early in the process, so you don’t sell your home only to find out you did not meet the qualifications for residency. Medical acceptance varies from community to community, so you might find one that is more willing to accept you than another. If you are considering moving to an assisted living facility, the State of Florida requires a form called an 1823 to be completed by your doctor to verify that this is the proper living arrangement for you and to document the care levels you require.
What is a Life Plan community?
A Life Plan Community is a replacement name for the category known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). The name change from a CCRC to Life Plan Community switches the emphasis from passive care to active living and planning – a shift that appeals to younger, healthier senior adults.
A Life Plan Community is a residential community for people 62 and older that provides a variety of living options, along with services, amenities, and a continuum of care designed to address the changing needs of residents as they age. In exchange for these services, amenities and care, residents typically pay an upfront entrance fee and a monthly fee.
We are independent and not sure if we are ready to move to a retirement community. What are our options?
Basically, you have four options to consider. First, you can do nothing. You can continue to stay where you are living and wait for something to occur to force you into a decision. This option may seem to be the easiest but has many implications that you need to think through. By waiting for a medical incident or a change in health, you run the risk of not being medically accepted. You also place a great deal of responsibility on your spouse, your family, and your friends to provide daily assistance. Managing care at home is not easy and can be quite costly. Keep in mind that thinking nothing will change is not being realistic.
The second option is to find a community geared specifically for independent living. There are some rental apartment communities in this area that provide a “maintenance free” lifestyle. This might be a good first step to lessen the responsibilities of homeownership.
The third option is to move to independent living in a senior living community. Most people who choose this option claim it was the best decision they have ever made. They have peace of mind knowing they have made a plan for the future should they require care and services as they age, all the while enjoying a vibrant lifestyle.
The last option is to move in with your children. This is probably not the best solution; but, for some this may be the only option due to limited finances.
I am not a social person, are there senior living communities that will fit my lifestyle.
The lifestyle at many senior living communities is geared toward providing social opportunities for residents to enjoy. Most offer a wide variety of activities such as exercise classes, lectures, wine tastings and cocktail parties, art classes, and book discussions. However, choosing to participate is totally up to you. If privacy is a concern, ask questions up front to see how the community will respect your privacy.
Are there any tax implications to living at a senior living community?
Yes. It is wise to consult with your tax advisor for the specifics to your situation. If you live in a Life Plan Community (CCRC), a portion of your entrance fee and monthly fee may be considered a medical expense. This percentage varies from community to community and year to year. If you live in an assisted living or skilled nursing residence, your care may also be able to be deducted as a medical expense.
We have a small dog, are there senior communities that are pet friendly?
Pets are important in people’s lives. There are studies that show that people live longer and healthier with a pet. Some communities will permit pets while others will not. There are also communities that have designated “pet friendly” residential buildings within their campus. Size limits and number of pets allowed also exists at many communities as well as rules regarding acquiring a new pet after you move in. It is important to note that if you move with a pet, you must be able to properly care for your pet. Most communities have a pet policy, and your pet must be well behaved and not be a nuisance or threat to other residents or to the staff.
Are there any senior housing communities in our area for low income seniors?
Low income housing in SWFL is a major problem facing many seniors in our area. Unfortunately, many times people will need to relocate out
of the area to find affordable housing. It is advisable to fully evaluate all your personal resources prior to visiting senior communities and identify any outside assistance that may be available to you. This may include Veteran’s benefits and even unused life insurance benefits. Speak with your family and your church to see if they can offer any assistance.
What are some other senior housing researching tips?
Tour the health care facility. One of the main reasons you are considering a move to a senior housing community is to have the peace of mind of future care should you need it. Take the time to tour the health care facility to see for yourself if the residents are receiving good care and if the environment is clean and well-maintained. Speak with family members, residents, and staff to learn as much as you can about quality of care. It is also important to learn what type of care the facility is licensed to provide, and what charges are associated with that care. As a senior housing advisor, we research state violations, license types, and annual state survey results. We will join you on your tour to ask questions you may not know to ask.
Review policies and procedures. Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts of a specific senior housing community before you move should be a priority to you. The more you know up front, the better you will know if this community is the right fit for you.
Sample the lifestyle. Finding a senior housing community where you can live with like-minded people is very important. If possible, enjoying a dinner at a community or joining in on a social activity before you move in will give you chance to meet people and see you want these people as your neighbors and friends. There isn’t a “one size fits all” senior living community, so being able to experience the lifestyle will help you see if this community is right for you.
Senior Housing Solutions, the first locally owned senior housing placement company in Southwest Florida is celebrating its 10th anniversary. In the last year, the company has successfully expanded its market base to cover both Collier and Lee counties. In addition, consumers have access to a free online Preferred Provider Network of services for seniors. This expansion resulted in 38 percent revenue increase in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same time frame in 2017. “We started in 2008 when our local economy was taking a nosedive. To start something during that time took a great deal of fortitude and perseverance,” said Bruce Rosenblatt, founder of Senior Housing Solutions. In addition to their free referral service, Senior Housing Solutions has also organized senior housing bus tours as a way for people to tour senior living properties in the area and produced educational seminars for many organizations, churches and civic groups. Rosenblatt also authors a senior housing column for the Naples Daily News. “We are passionate about providing knowledgeable advice to our clients. Therefore we stay current on significant trends in the marketplace and quality of care at the various facilities in the area.” The firm engages with other senior-related organizations including the Leadership Coalition on Aging, CAMEO of Lee County and Naples Interagency Council. The Preferred Provider Network is available for free to the public at seniorhousingsolutions.net.
Senior Housing Solutions is locally owned and operated. We have been proudly serving Lee and Collier counties since 2008. Being locally owned and operated, what does this mean to you?
One of the most important aspects of being locally owned and operated is our firsthand knowledge of all the senior living communities in the area. We make it our passion to get to know each community in the area so we can provide you with expert advice on which community best fits your needs, lifestyle and finances. We stay current on pricing, availability, operational and staffing issues as well as trends in the market place. Yes, you can try to do it on your own, however wouldn’t it better to make one phone call and find the right solution? Being a qualified resource to you is our core mission.
Our reputation is everything to our business. Since 2008, we have established ourselves in the local community as a qualified and trusted resource. We are not a franchise and are not controlled by any outside influences. We build trust with our clients and from that relationship, we grow our business through referrals. We also partner with other quality businesses in the area and support them in their efforts. In fact, our online Eldercare Directory is a free resource for people looking for reputable businesses that we feel comfortable recommending to you.
We live here
We are residents of SWFL and are familiar with the wonderful lifestyle in our area. We dine at the same restaurants as you and play golf and tennis at similar clubs that you belong. We watch our amazing sunsets and walk on our beautiful sandy beaches. We attend the same cultural events as you and participate in local charities and religious events along with you. Our parents and our friends live in this area too. We understand why you enjoy this lifestyle and want to maintain it.
Personally, I have lived in this area since 1992 and Peggy has lived here since 1974. I am a native Floridian and a graduate of Florida State University. My dad was one of the first men to attend FSU (which was originally a college for women). I have a unique connection with our Florida history and a special appreciation for the Florida nature and ecosystem.
Dear to my heart is our desire to give back to the community. During Hurricane Irma, I personally volunteered with Operation BBQ Relief and served over 126,000 meals to people in need to people in our area and in Keys. We are active in our places of worship and donate either monetarily or with our time to many worthwhile causes in the local area. Being community-minded is who we are. It defines our character and provides a solid foundation with the people we serve.
Advocate for area seniors
As an advocate for local area seniors, I have served on the board of Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida, Jewish Family Services, Napes Interagency Council and the Retirement Housing Council for the State of Florida.
We are proud to support the many seniors and their families in the area and look forward to building even stronger ties in the greater community in the future.
In my 30+ years’ experience in senior housing, I have met clients who struggle with having conversations with their loved ones about making the decision to move to a senior living community. There are many emotions involved in these conversations including guilt, fear, sadness and rejection. Unfortunately, these conversations never get any easier and the longer it takes, the harder they become. Hopefully these insights will be helpful to you.
Change is not easy
The common phrase I hear is “We have spoken with dad and he refuses to move.” People who have dementia have a difficult time with change. They become accustomed to their daily routine and surroundings. If you bring up the subject about moving or bring in help, the immediate response will be “No, I don’t need any help.” This is very common with people with dementia. They resist any type of help and they don’t realize the impact that their decision is having on you or your family. Until you realize that your roles have changed in your household, this cycle will continue.
Dementia effects judgement too
Many people think dementia is only about someone’s memory loss. It is important to realize is that dementia can also effect judgement. This is especially difficult if the former decision- maker of the family is not able to make sound decisions anymore. Many spouses who are caregivers find themselves in the situation, where they expect their spouse to make logical decisions and have a hard time recognizing their loved one is not capable of doing so anymore.
Like a hike in the woods
A good analogy to consider is a hiker lost in the woods. The hiker walks endlessly in the circles trying to find the right path out of the woods, however he is unable to find the right way out. It is frustrating, scary and a embarrassing to be lost. Imagine now, you find this hiker and you take him by the hand and lead him down the correct path. Yes, there could be some resistance along the way, however you know you are the doing the right thing. You stay the course and eventually, you and the hiker arrive at a safe place that is familiar. You have saved the day! Discussing the senior housing option is very similar. You need to take the lead and make the decision. Yes, your role as the follower has changed. You now need to take charge and be the leader.
The danger of doing nothing
Yes, you can do nothing and not ‘rock the apple cart,’ however doing nothing is actually doing something. The end result may not be what you expected! Too many times, the caregiver is the one that becomes ill and requires care. By being the caregiver, your immune system is weakening and you are most susceptible to illness or experiencing a severe medical condition or even a fall. If something happens to you, who is going to take care of your spouse? Unfortunately, the person with dementia and the denial to do anything is creating a potentially dangerous situation for you. In addition, senior housing options become more limited and more expensive if you wait until care is needed to force a decision. It is always better to “select rather than settle.” Making a decision in a crisis mode is never a good idea. Being proactive and recognizing that it is important to have a plan for your future health care needs is a much wiser (and less expensive) route to take.
Prepare to be open, honest, and non-argumentative when discussing these topics with your loved ones. These conversations need to take place in a quiet and comfortable setting such as your living room or around the kitchen table. Keep in mind that you already know the resistance you will be get. Be prepared. You also need to recognize that you know best in this situation and that even though you would like your loved one’s approval, a decision needs to be make. Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. One tactic that I’ve found to be useful to tell your loved that a temporary move needs to occur. It can because of a home repair or a pending vacation to go up North. A temporary change is much easier to handle rather than a permanent move. You can also tell your loved one that he needs to do this for you since you are not feeling well and you need some extra help. Keep in mind that even though you would want your spouse’s agreement, you are in charge now and the decision is yours to make. “Honey, we are going to do this and we are going to make the best of it together.”
Trying to resolve this by yourself is difficult. If what you have been trying isn’t working, it’s time to call in the cavalry. Seeking the help of an independent third party to step in is not a bad idea. Do you have a family member or close friend that can be ‘the heavy?’ You may also want to reach out to your doctor, clergy. attorney and financial advisor. There are support networks such as the Alzheimer’s support network and other caregiver support groups to help you. As senior housing advisors, we can also help. We have year’s of experience helping people through these difficult situations. We do the research for you and have resources available to make this much easier on you.
The new normal
Amazingly, once the decision has been made and you move to your new home at a senior living community, a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. There are many advantages of living at a senior living community and it won’t take long for your new home to be your new normal. Your loved one, who put up so much resistance will develop his routine in very little time and be thankful you made the decision. Just like the hiker in the woods, you have save the day!
Researching an Assisted Living Facility is a difficult and complicated process. The decision to move involves many factors including financial, lifestyle and health care needs and preferences. In addition, the emotional factor can never be understated. Learn more about the top 5 Assisted Living Researching tips.
1). Start the process early.
Finding the right place will take time and it is always better to make a decision when you are not in a crisis mode. Most people would rather not move than go through the ordeal of moving, so it is important to understand that this is process may take some time.
It is also important to recognize that many people have preconceived thoughts about what an assisted living facility is like and feel if they are not living at home, they will be as losing their independence. Amazingly, people actually gain more independence since they are burden with household responsibilities and have access to social activities, dining, transportation and on-site health care services.
2). Utilize the services of an expert.
Attempting to do this alone is not a wise idea. Utilizing the services of a professional who is familiar with all the options in the area and can help streamline the process will not only make the process easier, it will reduce your stress and help you make a better, well-informed decision. Be careful of online internet search providers, which will come up high on your Google searches. These companies advertise free advice, however they rarely know anything about the places they are recommending. Once you fill out their online, be ready to be immediately bombarded with phone calls. In addition, all of your contact information is now their property and they will sell it to third party vendors, like medical alert companies, hearing aid businesses and even cremation companies. More phone calls!
There is a better way. Utilizing a senior housing advisor in your local area, such as Senior Housing Solutions will provide personal, concierge-level referral services for you. We are familiar with all the options in the area and stay current on availability, pricing, staff turnover and health care surveys. Our services are provided at NO COST to our clients and your information is always maintained with the highest level of confidentiality. We are knowledgeable, compassionate and resourceful when you need it the most. Our proven process helps you every step of the way. For more information, go to: www.seniorhousingsolutions.net
3). Know about the different types of assisted living licenses.
Many people do not know that there are different types of assisted living licenses which impacts what and what not an assisted living facility can provide to you. The last thing you want to do is move twice, so it is important to know everything up-front. Licenses vary from state to state. In Florida, there are Standard, Extended Congregate Care (ECC) and Limited Nursing Services (LNS) assisted living licenses. A good resource is the Agency for Health Care Administration for the State of Florida http://ahca.myflorida.com/
4). Understand the terms of the contract.
Reviewing the contract terms is an important step in the overall process of researching an assisted living facility. What services are included and what are extra? Knowing about the additional fees, including charges for levels of care, will help you make a well-informed decision. You might want to consider utilizing your attorney to review the contract so you are familiar with all the terms and conditions.
5). Be realistic about your expectations.
Moving to an assisted living facility will be an adjustment. Your ‘new normal’ will take some time to get used to. Understanding this on the front end will help you. If you are a couple, it is always better to move together so you can make friends and get settled together. If you are single you will have an opportunity to meet many new people and it won’t take long for you to find your niche. Keep in mind that nothing is ever perfect. Be patient and understanding to the staff and you’ll see that most issues can be resolved, however if problems continue, it might be necessary to speak up. If you feel you’ve made the wrong decision, it is better to seek an alternative living arrangement rather than sticking with something that is isn’t the right fit.