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Frequently Asked Questions
Independent Senior Living
Licensed Assisted Living
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Frequently Asked Questions
About Assisted Living Care
 
Q. How do I know if my mom needs assisted living?
A. There are many indicators that you can look for that may mean your mother needs assisted living. Is she keeping up with the responsibilities of living on her own, including housekeeping duties and home repairs? Is she still able to shop for, store and cook food correctly? Does she take her medication on time and in the right dosage? Is she keeping a regular bathing schedule? Does she still socialize with friends? Does she use home appliances safely, including operation of the stove? If the answer is no to any of these questions, it might be time to consider assisted living for your mom.

For more information to this topic, visit the "Helpful Resources" section of this website.

If you need additional help in making this determination, feel free to contact the Administrator of the assisted living home of your choice.

Q. Do I have to sign a lease?
A. We have a written residency agreement, but you rent your assisted living apartment on a month-to-month basis. We do require a 30-day move-out notice if you choose to leave. If you are moving due to medical care need, the move-out notice is waived.

Q. Do you allow pets?
A. Pets are welcome if the resident is able to care for it without assistance. There are certain restrictions on size and type. There is an extra security deposit and a copy of your pet’s current vaccination certificate is required. For more details, feel free to contact the Administrator of the assisted living home of your choice.

Q. My dad has high blood pressure and needs to be checked often. Can you monitor it for him?
A. The staff at each of our assisted living communities is trained and available to monitor your father’s blood pressure as ordered by his health care provider at any time.

Q. How can I be sure Mom gets all the help she needs?
A. We will conduct a “Personal Needs Assessment” before your mother moves in, to determine exactly what support services she requires. This assessment will be reviewed with you, your mom and other family members as well as her physician. From this assessment we develop a service plan that is unique to your mother’s needs. This plan serves as a guide so our staff knows exactly what support your mom needs — and how we can best meet those needs.

This assessment will be updated 30 days after your mother moves in, to allow us to confirm the accuracy of the initial assessment and to give her time to adjust to her new home. From that point on, this assessment is updated quarterly or upon any significant change in her physical or mental status.

Q. How many staff members are on duty and how do you screen them?
A. We make sure we have an appropriate number of staff available at all times based on the number of residents we have living with us at any given time and the level of care required by those residents.

Trained staff members have interviewed personnel—staff as well as regular volunteers— and personal and professional references have been thoroughly checked. We also verify licenses and certifications (for licensed personnel such as RNs, LPNs, CNAs, etc.) and confirm there are no complaints or charges against that person. Finally, each staff member is required to pass a criminal history background check, which includes a fingerprint screening and national criminal registry check.

Q. What can I bring with me?
A. We encourage you to decorate your apartment to suit your taste. We provide a bed (with orthopedic mattress) and nightstand at no additional charge if you choose to use it. If not, we will remove those items so that you may bring your own furniture. We want this to become your home and encourage you to decorate as you please.

Q. May I join my mother for meals?
A. Residents are encouraged to invite family and friends to join them for a meal or a snack at any time for a nominal fee.

Q. My mother has always been the hostess – she loves entertaining family and friends. Can you offer her the ability to continue to do that?
A. Our staff can handle all the preparation and service details, which will allow your mother to host family dinners and get-togethers with friends – without the work or the worry!

Q. Dad never did any of the housekeeping. What services do you provide?
A. To ensure our residents are comfortable in their environment, beds are made daily by staff. Each apartment is vacuumed and dusted, linens are changed and the bathroom is thoroughly cleaned each week. Personal laundry is done once a week. Towels are changed twice a week. If additional support is needed, we pick that up in the “Personal Needs Assessment” and incorporate those services into the individual’s plan of service.

Q. What happens if my aunt needs assistance in the middle of the night?
A. Emergency call systems are installed in the main living area and in the bathroom of each apartment to allow residents to summon assistance if and when it is needed. No resident ever has to feel alone and helpless.

Q. What happens in the case of an emergency in the building? Would the residents know what to do? How do you ensure their safety?
A. Each month we conduct fire drills with our residents. These drills are conducted at different times of the day and night to be sure that everyone gets “practice.” Once a year, we invite the fire department to monitor our practice drills. We also have tornado drills each month from April through October. This ensures the residents feel confident that during any emergency, or in the event that the building needs to be evacuated, they know what to do to be safe.

In addition to the practice drills we conduct monthly inspections of all fire safety equipment and conduct routine fire safety inspections throughout the building. Finally, we are inspected annually by the state Bureau of Fire Services, Fire Marshal Division.

Q. My dad has become very inactive. What do you have that will get him up and going again?
A. We have a wide variety of activities. He may be interested in our Men’s Group or our daily exercise program. We will encourage him to attend activities that interest him and who knows—he may just take up a new hobby or two.

Each assisted living home develops their own activities calendar based on the interests of the residents; to view it online select the assisted living home of your choice and select the “Social Activities” link.

Q. I’m concerned my parents are not getting enough nutrition because my mother eats like a bird and my father sleeps late and misses breakfast. How can you ensure they eat enough to stay healthy?
A. A hot breakfast, made to order, is served from 7-9:30am. Cold breakfast items are available from 6-11am. Snacks are available throughout the day. Our meals are not only tasty, but also nutritious.

The Heritage Classic Menu is always available in addition to the chef’s daily specials. They are designed to follow the food pyramid to assure we meet all nutritional needs. In addition, we will weigh your parents monthly to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy weight.

Meals are a very social time for our residents. You may find that your parents are eating more when they are surrounded by friends instead of dining alone.
Q. My dad prides his independence, but needs to be monitored. Will you be respectful of his privacy?
A. We want residents to be as independent as possible, while assisting them with anything they may need help with. We will use meal time, medication administration, delivery of mail/ newspaper and reminders for activities as non-intrusive opportunities to monitor his well-being and offer assistance as needed.

Q. I have heard about “continuum of care communities” but don’t know what they are. Can you tell me anything about them?
A. A “continuum of care community” simply means that a variety of housing and service options exist in the same building, on the same campus, or nearby. Often, the continuum includes independent living cottages, congregate apartments (apartments with services such as meals, social activities, transportation and housekeeping available as a package or as optional “fee for service” amenities), assisted living, dementia or Alzheimer’s specialty care and skilled nursing care – such as a nursing home.

Several of our assisted living centers are near or share a campus with independent senior living communities. If, after any time, you find that you are able to live independently, a “sister” community may be the right fit and we will waive your 30-day move out notice if you are moving into one of our independent senior living communities. Residents of the assisted living communities are also given priority status on the waiting list in our “sister” independent living communities.

Q. It is so hard for me to take my husband to doctor’s appointments. Do you have a doctor on site?
A. Although we do not have a “house” doctor, there are agencies or physician groups who do make house calls. Our Resident Services Coordinator may also know of other private physicians who will come into the living centers. We also partner with podiatrists and therapy groups who provide their services on-site.

Q. Isn’t assisted living expensive?
A. The cost of residing in an assisted living home may seem like a lot of money at first glance. However, when you consider the services provided for the fee and compare that to the cost of other living options, the true value of assisted living is easy to see.

Our Cost Comparison Worksheet may be helpful for you to use to evaluate your personal situation.

Some assisted living homes charge a “one-size-fits-all” fee; you pay the same amount regardless of the services you need or receive. A person who needs very minimal support service pays the same as a person who receives a high level of service.

The starting point for our fee structure is based on the apartment style selected and includes basic services such as housekeeping, laundry, cable television, assistance with basic daily care, participation in all social activities (on-site and off-site) and medication administration.

An additional fee is added based on additional services needed. This way, you are only paying for the services you need and want. The level of care needed is determined by the Personal Needs Assessment which is reviewed at least quarterly and when there is a significant event in the resident’s life – such as an acute medical condition or hospital stay, or ending therapy services, etc.
Q. Does Medicare cover the cost of the monthly fee?
A. Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living care.

Q. What about health care insurance? Is there any help available to pay for it?
A. Health care insurance does not cover assisted living but many long-term care insurance policies do and some plans can be purchased into your 80s.

If you are a veteran, or the spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may qualify for certain financial supports through the Veteran’s Administration at 800-827-1000.

Life Settlements offer a unique opportunity to supplement your resources through the sale of a life insurance policy that may no longer be needed.

In some cases, the MI Choice Waiver Program may be available if a person meets certain level of care, income and asset eligibility requirements.

Q. Is assisted living tax deductible?
A. Under IRS guidelines, the entire cost of assisted living may be deductible. Refer to IRS Form 502 for more information and be sure to check with your accountant, financial planner or attorney.

Q. I seem to have so many questions. Do you have additional information I can review?
A. This is a big decision and your concerns are completely normal. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about our home and the services that are available here. Feel free to contact the Administrator at the assisted living home of your choice who would be happy to answer your questions and talk to you about your concerns.

We also encourage you to check out our Helpful Resources section for additional help.

Q. If my mother needs Hospice services, will she have to move out of her apartment?
A. No. If a resident’s care and service needs change due to a terminal illness, Hospice services may be brought into the assisted living home to assist with the care needs. These services do not take the place of the care and services provided by the living center’s staff, but offer a supplement to help meet the end-of-life needs.

In addition to personal care, pain and comfort medications, counseling and chaplain services are available through a variety of hospice care agencies. It is our pleasure to work with a number of these agencies to assure the best end-of-life care possible to our resident and their family members.

Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans pay for hospice care. As with any third-party payment source there are rules and conditions that must be met to qualify for payment.