OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Assisted living has become a popular alternative for many older Americans.
This way, necessary services can be provided in a comfortable setting without a nursing home environment. Before a final decision can be made, there are some things you may consider.
Make a list
According to officials, there are plenty of sources you can use for referrals to popular living communities in your area. Those resources can include your parent’s health care provider, friends or neighbors who have experienced a loved one in assisted living, or visiting caring.com.
It may be a good idea to research assisted living communities nearby by calling your long-term care ombudsman. An ombudsmen is a government official who looks into long-term care facility complaints and speaks up for residents and their families.
An ombudsman can help find health inspection reports on certain facilities and can explain which ones have had complaints or other issues in the past. To find your local ombudsman, visit LTCombudsman.org.
Once you have found a few potential living communities, officials say to reach out to see if they have any openings, ask about their pricing and if they provide the specific care your loved one needs.
Take a tour
According to officials, it’s a good idea to walk through your loved one’s potential new home and take note of cleanliness and the smell of the facility.
It is also important to ask yourself questions. Does it appear to be a homey and inviting environment? Is the staff responsive and nice to residents? Request to taste test their food and, if available, speak with current residents and their families.
You also might want to visit the facility multiple times at different times of the day and different days of the week to get an overall opinion.
While you’re at the facility, get a copy of their admissions contract as well as the resident rules that explain fees or any extra charges, services and residents’ rights, and reasons a resident may be asked to leave because of their worsening condition and the facility can no longer take proper care of them.
Also, ask the facility about their turnover rate, COVID protocols and when they have medical professionals on site. Caring.com has a checklist that can help you rate your visit. You can download and print the checklist here.
How to pay
According to Savvy Senior, monthly costs for assisted living in Oklahoma City is approximately $5,100 per month. Medicare does not cover assisted living so most residents and their families pay out-of-pocket or some have long-term care insurance policies.
If those option are not possible and your loved one is lower-income, the Oklahoma ADvantage (Medicaid) Waiver Program may be able to help out. Or, if your loved one is a veteran, spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran, they may be able to receive funds through the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit.
To learn more about these programs, ask the assisted living facility director, or reach out to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services at 800-435-4711, or regional VA office at 800-827-1000.