Helping families and seniors make the right senior community choice is our focus at Care Service Options when it involves Assisted Living(ALF) or Residential Care (RCF) Both types of facilities/communities are great for seniors who are social and still active enough to enjoy the daily activities, outings and social interaction with the other residents. I focus much of my attention on what each facility has to offer for life enrichment of its occupants. I am looking for a diverse and flexible array of activities for all the different levels of cognition, as well as likes of their residents. What programs and options do they have in place for crafts, games, movies, current events and politics, spiritual, sporting events, parties, outside entertainers, outings and the list goes on… Most offer shopping, Dr. appointment transportation, pet services and beautician services. As I am walking through I look for clues in order to understand to which group of seniors this specific building would appeal to. Seniors who love the city are looking forward to go to the theatre or concerts and might not enjoy a country setting, while others are looking forward to walking in nicely landscaped surroundings or even on some short trails. Each facility will appeal to a certain group of seniors with similar interests. It is extremely important for them to be able to connect and not feel left out, otherwise they will not partake in the daily activities – but rather stay in their apartment.
As the seniors age-in-place – levels of care availability and staff-to-resident-ratios are of the upmost importance. Since no one can see into the future, it is essential to understand what level of care a facility is able to provide. Hospice at times can help manage, since the duration is generally short term.
Many seniors live for years happily in an Assisted Living or Residential care facility and when the need arises move to a higher level of care type facility, if needed. The focus should always be “quality of life first!” A good match would be when a wheat farmer from Eastern Oregon would want to move to the Tri-County area to be close to his children and ends up in a facility with other like-minded people. That’s what we do on a daily basis. We have matched WW2 vets, pilots with others who have similar interests, quilters with facilities who have a quilting program, just to name a few. That’s why we are known in some circles as “The Senior Match Makers”.
Money/finances … often play a central role in the placement of a senior. Many facilities are private pay only. Not all facilities have “a spin down to Medicaid policy”. It is vital to know the Medicaid status of a facility prior to placement, primarily if a senior has 12-18 months of private funding left. Facilities can and do change their policies. So just because you checked their policy when the move-in happened, that does not always mean that the same policies are still in place.
Do your home-work prior to deciding to visit facilities. It’s important to know the status of ownership. Over the last few years many local facilities have been bought out by large corporations headquartered outside the NW. The ones still locally owned and operated will have a long track record in the local community. It can make a big difference in the way a facility is run. Some policies and procedures in different regions in the country might not be a good fit in the NW.
By Monika with input from Michael-Ann after visiting Alfs & RCFs.