Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Living
Have questions about senior living? We understand this is a major decision for the whole family. That’s why we took the time to produce a series of educational videos, along with this FAQs page. If you would like to speak to someone about your senior living options, reach out to our team.
Are Senior Living Communities Regulated?
Most senior care facilities are regulated by state law. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Human Services (DHS) inspects assisted-living licensed facilities annually. More than 400 areas are assessed during this process. DHS inspectors are trained to evaluate:
- The amount of time dedicated to patient care and the quality of the care given
- The company’s risk and safety procedures
- The amount and effectiveness of training given to staff
- Whether the living environment is safe and well-maintained
What is the Difference Between a Nursing Home and an Assisted Living Facility?
Nursing homes are medical facilities designed to provide short term, skilled nursing care for patients with an acute illness. The approximate cost to receive care in a nursing home is $300-$400 a day. Medicare and private insurance may cover a portion of this cost for a short period of time.
In contrast, personal care homes or assisted living facilities are designed to feel more like home. The average cost to live in this type of community is $80-$200 per day, depending on the services needed and the type of apartment. Assisted Living communities are designed to be a long-term living solution for residents with a desire for social interaction and those who may need assistance with daily living.
Both levels of care are overseen and inspected by the Department of Human Services. About 90% of the regulations are identical, and the differences are very minor. In Pennsylvania, there are more than 1,200 licensed personal care communities and only about 50 licensed assisted living facilities. The primary reason being that the state licensing fees and documentation requirements are less for personal care. The current regulations permit residents to age-in-place under the care of licensed staff in either setting.
Does Senior Living Help with Medication?
Personal care or assisted living facilities offer medication management services, which means they help seniors organize and take their prescriptions. At Providence Place, only licensed nurses and certified medication associates assist residents with their medications. The nursing staff uses an electronic medication administration record (eMAR) to document and ensure residents receive their medication as prescribed. We partner with a professional pharmacy who blister packages individual doses of medication for added safety.
What Nursing Care is Available in the Event of an Emergency?
While nursing homes provide the highest amount of medical support with round-the-clock care, assisted living communities usually have licensed nurses on site for medical needs and emergencies. Nurses can provide assistance when residents have an urgent medical need.
Providence Place offers emergency monitoring and assistance to residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The emergency response team includes the Executive Director, Director of Wellness, RN, LPN, and the Shift Leader. All of our caregiving staff is also trained on how to respond in case of an emergency. Residents in need of help simply use their call pendants to alert a caregiver, who responds promptly.
Can You Have Pets in a Retirement Community?
Pet policies vary by community. Providence Place is pet-friendly, and each community encourages residents to bring their pets to live with them because it makes our community feel more like a home. Research shows that pet ownership has a positive effect on aging. There are physical, social, and emotional benefits associated with caring for a beloved pet.
What Should I Look for in a Senior Living Community?
The most important things to look for in a retirement community are cleanliness, an adequate level of care to accommodate your needs, and a homelike environment. You or your loved one will want to feel comfortable there in the long term.
According to our President, David Leader, the most important thing you can do is visit the facility in-person. Schedule an appointment or stop in at your convenience to see how it really operates. It should appear organized and there should be a manager on duty. Use all of your senses. Does the environment look and smell clean, like your own home? Ask if you can sample a meal and observe the activities program. Lastly, it’s important that the staff is happy and engaged. Make sure that their interactions with residents are friendly and respectful.
What Does Aging-in-Place Mean?
Aging-in-place means that a resident can stay in the same apartment or community as they age and receive a higher level of care as needed. At Providence Place, we support aging-in-place. In fact, more than half of our residents choose to remain in our care until the end of their life. We work closely with home health and hospice providers to allow our residents to stay in their apartments as long as their safety, health, and comfort permit.
How Much Does Senior Living Cost?
Senior living ranges from $80 to $400 per day, depending on the level of care. There are options for nearly every budget. Our Vice President of Sales, Gino Gentile, advises families who are considering senior care to first learn about their loved one’s personal finances. “It’s important to understand what budget you are working with before you start your search,” he says.
When you take into account all of the costs associated with maintaining a residence, such as homeowner’s insurance, utility bills, and property taxes, you may be surprised to learn that senior living can be a better value. Providence Place’s costs are all-inclusive for three daily meals, housekeeping and a vibrant activities schedule.