There are many senior housing options that are available to those 55 and older in New York. Senior housing can cover a wide range of options, from Independent Senior Apartments to Senior Living Communities to Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Facilities. In the article below, we hope to help you understand these options better. Choice Connections New York is a FREE senior housing advisory service serving the Greater Capital Region, The North Country and The Berkshires. We advise families on their “best fit” options when they are looking to move from their home to senior housing.
Independent Senior Housing
Independent Senior Housing apartments range in pricing and amenities. Most apartments require a resident to be 55 or older, some require the resident to be 62 or older and a few may allow for 50 and over. These communities provide a safe residential environment that are equipped with amenities such as handrails in the bathroom and 24/7 emergency call systems. Independent Senior apartments do not provide their residents with any personal care, such as assistance bathing or dressing, but may have amenities included in the rent that assist seniors with their activities of daily living. Some of these amenities are: transportation to doctors and grocery stores, cleaning services, activities and meals. Some communities have none of these amenities and some have all of the amenities listed.
The cost of Independent Senior Apartments ranges greatly. The least expensive senior apartments are the Subsidized Rental Housing which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (www.hud.gov or www.nyshcr.org). There are two types of subsidies; both are for lower income seniors, but one allows for a higher income than the other. Some subsidized apartments are called tax-subsidized and are a set monthly price that includes utilities. Others are 30% of a senior’s monthly income. These apartments often have lengthy waiting lists, so it is wise to plan ahead if you believe you will income qualify. The local HUD office phone # is 518-862-2804.
There are also “market rate” senior apartments and senior living communities that range in cost from approximately $700 per month all the way to over $3000 per month in the Capital Region. Of course the size of the apartments and the amenities included in the rent factor into the cost. The more expensive apartments will usually include amenities such as; activities, transportation, cleaning service, and possibly meals. Again, these apartments do not offer any personal care included in the rent. If that were needed the senior would have to hire a home care agency or get help from family or friends.
Assisted Living Residences
If a senior needs personal care, an Assisted Living Community or Adult Home may be their best option. These communities are licensed by the NYS Department of Health and provide assistance with activities of daily living while also encouraging a resident’s autonomy and independence. They provide caregivers in the building 24 hours a day seven days a week, and develop individual care plans for each resident. Some residents may need a large amount of care, while other need very little.
An Assisted Living or Adult home will provide three meals a day, housekeeping services, transportation to doctors and scheduled activities, laundry and linen service and assistance with personal care and medication management, if needed. These are included in the monthly rent. Some communities separate the care charges from the base rent, but it is paid together as a monthly rental fee.
The types of apartments in Assisted Living and Adult homes range from one room studios to two bedroom apartments. Assisted living apartments do not have full kitchens, but may have a kitchenette consisting of a small refrigerator, sink, and cabinets and possibly a microwave. This is because the senior has all his or her meals in the dining room. Meals are served restaurant style, with choices offered for each meal. Not all communities have kitchenettes, some of the “apartments” are more like large bedrooms with a private bath. Assisted living apartments are most always smaller in square footage than an average apartment, but the communities often will have comfortable living areas throughout the building where the senior can relax and read or do a puzzle, or visit with family.
There are usually a wide range of activities offered in assisted living as well, both in and out of the building. This allows for a very social environment, if the senior chooses to participate. Activities may include exercise daily, weekly happy hour, entertainment, and outings to local events. Transportation is provided to grocery and big box stores weekly. Transportation is also provided for doctors appointments within a certain radius of the community. A senior would keep his or her own doctors while living in assisted living, but some communities have a doctor that makes house calls to the community. If a resident wants to use that doctor as their primary care they may. The resident does not have to use that doctor’s services, but can choose to, so as to avoid a trip out to see their doctor.
Services that are offered within the assisted living or adult home, but are not necessarily included in the rent are personal care and medication management, salon services, physical therapy services and visits from a podiatrist. Personal care may include assistance with dressing, grooming and bathing, and escorts to meals and activities. If an assisted living has an Enhanced Assisted Living License, they can assist with transfers, diabetic care, dementia care and a whole range of specific medical care needs. There are dementia specific assisted living communities that provide care for those whose dementia does not allow them to live in traditional assisted living. These communities provide a secure, safe environment with specific activities and care for those with dementia.
The cost of Assisted Living in the Capital Region varies from a low of $2000 monthly to $9000 monthly approximately, depending on many factors. Room size and care level are the two biggest factors when determining price. Enhanced Assisted Living and memory care communities will usually be the most expensive, while Adult Homes that offer smaller rooms and fewer care levels tend to be less expensive. There are Assisted Living that do accept Medicaid as payment, but most are private pay monthly rentals. Some Assisted Living will require a financial application and require that the resident have the funds to pay privately for a minimum amount of time, usually two to three years. After that time, if the senior has spent down and can no longer afford the monthly rent, they may reduce the rent to what the senior can afford; this is up to the discretion of the community.
Skilled Nursing Homes
Skilled Nursing Homes offer the highest levels of care for seniors, though there are no age requirements to live in one. One needs to have chronic physical or mental conditions that require 24/7 care in order to qualify to live in these facilities. They provide medical, nursing and other services, such as physical and occupational therapy to persons of all ages. They offer private and semi-private rooms and the cost ranges from $300 to $440 a day or approximately $9000-$13000 per month. Skilled Nursing Homes do accept Medicaid if a person qualifies financially for it. If the resident does not qualify for Medicaid then they will pay privately until they have spent down to Medicaid eligibility levels. Often, if a senior is faced with paying for a nursing home privately, they may instead consider Enhanced Assisted Living. This is expensive, but not as expensive a nursing home.
Choice Connections-A Free Service
Making a move to Senior Housing can often be a confusing and emotional process. At Choice Connections we work on a one-on-one basis with families to identify the home or community that best fits your needs. After taking a thorough Needs Assessment, we will make recommendations and schedule tours and assist throughout the transition. Our goal would be to save you and your loved ones time and energy by sharing with you our expertise on the various senior living options in the Capital Region. Don’t wait until a crisis occurs to consider your options. Plan ahead and begin your search early so when the time comes, a well informed decision can be made. Give us a call today at 894-2443 and visit us on our website www.choiceconnectionsny.com.