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In The Know - Assisted Living Referral Services

Dec 29, 2017

What Is An Assisted Living Referral Service

Assisted Living Referral Services or Assisted Living Placement Agencies (as they were called prior to the Internet age) are organizations that help families identify which assisted living residence is best for their loved one. Choosing a residence is a surprisingly difficult process, especially for persons unfamiliar with assisted living and who are currently caring for an elderly person. They are also helpful for persons who live far from their loved ones that require care. Referral services provide significant assistance in narrowing down the choices and they provide their services to families free of charge.

Services Assisted Living Referral Services Provide

When matching an individual to an assisted living community, there are many factors to be considered, such as location, cost, current and future care requirements, and amenities. Referral services can provide all of this, as well as more community-specific information in minutes. Were an individual to attempt to gather this information from each of the many assisted living communities in their preferred geographic area, it would take them days of phone calls and meetings. It would also subject them to countless sales pitches in which it would still be difficult to obtain the information they require.

In addition to the obvious information a family would want, referral services also have access to information about which a family might not necessarily think to inquire. Information, such as pricing variables, occupancy rates, number of residents, resident to staff ratios, proximity to hospitals, family reviews, and resident complaints. Furthermore, referral services can save families money by helping them to understand how to negotiate with the assisted living residence and making sure they sign-up for the correct level of care.

Prior to deciding on a community, most families will take a tour of the residence. Tours are necessary, but vastly time-consuming, difficult, and emotionally challenging. Working with a referral service might decrease the number of tours that are needed from 5 to 6 to just 1 or 2. In addition, they provide scheduling assistance in arranging tours.

Pro's of An Assisted Living Referral Services

-Free service
-Have comprehensive list of residences
-Can save families money
-Access to information that families do not have
-Reduces the number of tours a family takes
-Provide free tools to help you with your search

How Assisted Living Referral Services Are Compensated

Assisted Living Referral Services is a FREE service to the client who they are placing.  The agency is directly compensated by the community that you or your loved one moves into.  Payment occurs 30 days after client has moved in.

How To Best Use An Assisted Living Referral Service

While assisted living referral services help you figure out which is the best assisted living community for your loved one, it is helpful to give some thought about assisted living residences prior to contacting them. At a minimum, you should know the location in which you are seeking a residence. Be that a specific city or town, or (for example) something less than a 30-minute drive from your home. You should also know the approximate type of care your loved one requires, specifically do they require assistance because of Alzheimer’s / dementia or simply assistance with the activities of daily livingFinally, you should also know if you are seeking the most affordable assisted living in the area, a mid-range or high-end residence.

Once you contact the referral service, ask them specifically what other factors should be taken into consideration when choosing an assisted living residence. Keep a list of the factors and request that the referral service research those factors for all the potential communities in your area.

When you’ve narrowed the decision down to several options, ask your Referral Service Advisor about negotiating with the communities. They should be able to discuss "occupancy rates” and know which fees are negotiable and which are not. Use the Service to pit one residence against another to determine if a discount is available.

A good assisted living referral service will be informative and unbiased about the residences. If they do not know an answer to a question you have, they should volunteer to find that information out. They should not put that responsibility on you. They should also be responsive. Expect answers to your questions (which they cannot answer immediately) within a day or two. If they don’t respond within that time frame, expect them to follow up and say when they will be able to respond. Finally, if you do not like the service you are receiving, do not hesitate to find another service. You are under no obligation to continue working with anyone just because you initially started working with that agency.

Assisted Living 101

Dec 6, 2017

Interested in learning more about Assisted Living? Click here to read our comprehensive guidebook. Inside you'll find information on the benefits and cost of Assisted Living, as well as whether or not Assisted Living is the best choice for you or your loved one. To read the black and white version, please click here.

Conversations Adult Children Must Have With Their Aging Loved One's

Dec 2, 2017

As today's senior population continues to age, it has become increasingly important for their adult children to step and make sure that they are prepared to take care of their aging parents. Whether parents suddenly pass, need to go to the hospital or must be moved to an assisted living facility, many times these big life changes come unexpectedly.

While these conversations can be uncomfortable for both seniors and their adult children, it is very important that all loved ones are prepared with some specific information on their senior loved one and their wishes. Having legal documents in order and knowing how to handle a senior's state of affairs can ensure that this individual has all of their wishes met, and it can make life much easier for the family of that senior should something happen.

Power of Attorney

If there is one conversation that all adult children need to have with their senior parent, it should be about a power of attorney. All seniors should have someone in mind to act as power of attorney so they have someone to take care of their affairs if they are unable to make decisions on their own. This can be a physical or mental incapacitation set on by an accident or even an illness such as Alzheimer's disease. This power of attorney can either handle all decisions, or they can have a health proxy and a financial proxy, meaning one person to handle health decisions and one to handle financial ones.

Wills and Living Trusts

All seniors need to have some type of will or living trust. These important legal documents detail what a person wants to happen to their money and possessions once they pass away. A living trust is slightly different than a will and it indicates who they want to be in charge of their assets in case they are incapacitated or pass away. Both of these documents are very important, knowing where they are can help all parties involved make decisions in the interest of the senior, should something happen to them.

End-of-Life Wishes

This is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable conversations that adult children tend to have with their senior parents, but it is a very important one to have. Many seniors will have what is known as a living will which proclaims their choices about end-of-life care, such as a "do not resuscitate" statement or information on whether or not they would want to stay alive in a permanent coma. Living wills are the best way to make sure this information is clear, but children should at minimum know what their parent's wishes are, especially if they are the health care proxy.

Access to Documents

There are a number of legal documents, including their will and bank information that they may need at one point or another. If they are unable to located these documents themselves, it is important that their children know how to get their hands on this information. This may be a safety deposit box or a safe. In these situations, someone should have a key or combination that lets the individual into these secured areas.

General Health Information

It is always a good idea to check in with seniors about their general state of health, especially when the topic isn't brought up very often. Many adult children are surprised to find that they really do not know much about the parent's health condition, even if they feel very involved in their day-to-day life. Many senior adults are understandably private about their health information.

With this in mind, it is important for adult children to check in on their loved one's health, make sure that they are visiting the doctor regularly and to double check on all medication that their parent or loved one is taking. A great question to ask in order to get a feel for a senior's understanding of their medication is to ask them if they understand why they are taking all of the medications they have been prescribed, this can give any person a clear picture of whether or not they are able to manage their own medications and insight on that senior's overall health, should a medical emergency take place.

Financial Advisor

Many seniors have financial advisors that are managing their money and their assets, children or caregivers that may need to oversee this senior's estate in the future should have information on who that financial advisor is and how to get in contact with them.

Long-Term Care Coverage

There are many seniors who have some type of long-term care coverage such as long-term care insurance or even a special savings account meant for long-term care. Either way, their children and loved ones should know what finances are in place should that senior need to suddenly transition to assisted living. Some seniors have a plan, while others do not. 

Assisted Living

There are many seniors who have ideas or thoughts on where they would like to go if they can no longer care for themselves. Conversations about long-term care can be uncomfortable, but getting a senior parent involved in the discussion early on can help adult children and their loved ones plan for the future. Some seniors will be open to the idea of assisted living while others may prefer in-home care. While not every senior ultimately gets to be in the place they want, knowing what they would prefer can help families make more informed care decisions in the future.

No one ever wants something bad to happen to their loved one, but it is still important to have these conversations with aging seniors sooner rather than later. Sometime as seemingly minor as a slip and fall can put any senior in the hospital or in rehabilitation, and many families will have wished that they had this information handy. Family members should it slow and approach these topics in a calm manner and they can get the information that you need to keep their senior's best interest in mind and make sure their family is prepared for the unexpected should it ever arise

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