Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Cost of Assisted Living

One of the primary concerns for families whose elderly loved ones are considering moving into an assisted living facility is cost. In many instances, families may be covering the expenses associated with the elder care that their seniors need. For this reason, it is crucial that they are able to understand how much such care will cost—and what options are available to seniors who have limited income and must stick to a strict budget. If your loved one is looking at assisted living facilities in the Durham area, or in any other community within North Carolina, here are some basic details regarding the costs that such care may incur.

Ø  On average, assisted living costs $2,600 per month.

Ø  The seniors who live in assisted living facilities in North Carolina, and oftentimes their families, pay between $1,700 and $5,100 per month.

Ø  Additional fees may be charged to residents of assisted living facilities according to any extra services that seniors may need. For instance, short-term medical care after a surgery or fall may increase the charges associated with a month at an assisted living facility.

Ø  Some seniors opt to hire outside in-home care after a medical treatment or other procedure. This is a cost that may increase the total amount spent on senior care, but not the amount paid to the assisted living facility.
The cost associated with assisted living services can vary greatly from one community to another. By comparing both the expense that each facility presents and their amenities and resident programs, you and your elderly loved one can find a community that fits your budget and the best interest of your senior.

When visiting the different assisted living facilities that you are considering, it is important to understand why they charge certain costs and which, if any, are optional. Don't hesitate to ask the professional who is guiding you through the tour what the monthly costs cover, including social events, community programs, meals, and other items. Remember that the least expensive assisted living facility is not always the best choice, but that the cost associated with the community that your elderly individual chooses is of central importance.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reporting a Complaint against Your Senior's Nursing Home

Legitimate complaints against nursing homes are rarer than people may imagine, given the stories that circulate regarding abuse and neglect. While it is true that seniors have experienced unprincipled treatment at the hands of healthcare professionals in such elder care facilities, it is also true that the majority of nursing homes are staffed with caring, honest, and ethical professionals. Regardless of the odds of needing to report neglect or abuse at the hands of senior care providers, it is important to know where to go to make such a complaint if the issue ever arises in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

My Elder Advocate has provided a wonderful list of tips to help you through the process of making a complaint:

  1. Write the complaint out. While you may be tempted to simply speak with the professional in charge of the nursing care facility, it is important to have your complaint documented. Be specific when describing the incident(s) and avoid speculation.
  2. Remember not to threaten action. Try to stay as calm and professional as possible. This may sound impractical, given that you will certainly be concerned for the safety and health of your senior; however, getting angry and making threats will not help the situation.
  3. Make use of the chain of command, ensuring that you go up the proper channels. This may take longer, but making your complaint by the book will ultimately be the best move. Additionally, should this be an issue that is limited to one employee, rather than a widespread problem, it can be dealt with more quickly by going to the right professionals.
  4. Request a meeting with the nursing facility to discuss the issue and the plans that are in place to resolve it. Don't apologize for complaining—remember that you are advocating for your loved one.
  5. If your complaint is ignored or if the facility fails to prevent abuse or neglect from happening again, consult with an attorney and report the community to the Department of Health. If necessary, file a police report.
Making a complaint against a nursing home is a daunting task, but it is important that you stand up for the rights and safety of your senior. With these tips, you can document the incident and work to ensure that it will not happen again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Assisted Living Communities: Who to Talk to If You Have a Problem?

Assisted living communities often offer invaluable services to seniors who need help with daily living activities. From  assistance with grooming and dressing to housekeeping, these communities offer the services elderly individuals need while providing residents with a social calendar that allows them to stay active. But sometimes assisted living facilities fail to deliver on their promises. Horror stories abound regarding the abuse and neglect that seniors have endured at the hands of unethical healthcare professionals. While these stories represent the minority of assisted living communities, it is important that you know where to turn should your elderly loved one experience improper care or disreputable treatment.

Talk to the Executive Director of the Community
Immediately upon discovering that a complaint should be made, talk to the Executive Director of the community. In the best case scenario, the problem is limited to one employee and can be quickly and easily addressed; however, it is important to determine if the root cause is an individual or the community as a whole.

If, after talking to the manager of the assisted living facility, the issue is resolved, your loved one can most likely remain in the community if they wish. If the problem has not been addressed, however, it is important to take the next step toward filing an official complaint.
Contact the Licensing Agency for Your State
Senior care facilities in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, fall under state jurisdiction. In fact, all elder care communities across the country are regulated by state laws. For this reason, it is important to deal directly with the state's licensing agency. You should be able to file a complaint with this agency directly.

Reach Out to the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance
A national organization, the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance is a great resource for families that have loved ones in assisted living communities. Filing a complaint with this organization will further spread the word regarding the unethical, illegal, and/or abusive treatment that seniors in an assisted living facility experience.
When considering filing a complaint, do your due diligence to ensure that a complaint is warranted. If you are certain that your senior experienced unlawful treatment and the issue has not been resolved, it is crucial to alert the right authorities.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Skilled Nursing Facilities: What Services Do They Provide?

The aging process naturally requires people to need a bit of assistance as they grow older. For some people, basic in-home care is enough to allow them to retain their independence and continue aging in place. For others, the services of an assisted living facility, which are a bit more comprehensive, are preferable to trying to maintain a home on their own. Others, still, may benefit most from moving into a skilled nursing facility.

Skilled nursing facilities, or nursing homes, as they are more commonly called, provide what is known as custodial care. This form of care offers a long list of services to elderly individuals, including assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, eating, and housekeeping. While assisted living facilities also provide this form of aid, nursing homes go a step further by offering medical care.

To ensure that residents receive the best care possible, nursing homes often employ licensed physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals. Donna, a resident of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, recently discovered that not all nursing homes are the same. In fact, when trying to choose the right skilled nursing facility for her father, Donna learned the importance of comparing the living arrangements and services that each nursing home supplies to its residents.

The key to securing accommodations for your elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility that will see to their every need is to compare the nursing homes in the area. While all of these facilities offer similar services, they may have different living arrangements, varying staffing levels, or diverse healthcare professionals on call. Understanding your loved one's needs and seeing how each nursing facility measures up to them is the best way to determine which will provide the most comprehensive, reliable care to your senior.

Nursing homes are often associated with a negative connotation; however, these facilities play a crucial role in the aging process. It is true that some facilities are better for your senior than others. For this reason, elder care professionals encourage you to take stock of the services and living arrangements that each contender offers before deciding which facility is best for your loved one.