Tag Archives: Aging Parents

Choosing an Assisted Living Residence: Is Free Advice the Best Advice?

By Miriam Zucker LMSW, ACSW, C-ASWCM

Often when family members seek the guidance of an Aging Life Care specialist, it is at a time of change. The concerns may be about obtaining home care, learning of entitlements, a discharge from the hospital or a move from home to assisted living. With the latter, the ever-increasing prevalence of assisted living residences, can make the selection overwhelming.

The residences all look beautiful.  In fact, you jokingly say to yourself, “I wouldn’t mind living in one of these places myself.” Residents appear cheerfully engaged in a game of cards, attending a morning exercise class or eating what appears to be mouthwatering meal. They are attired in casual elegance with their snow-white hair coiffed to perfection. Beautiful places, beautiful people. Where to turn for advice?  In the back of your mind you recall a TV commercial or someone’s caring voice on the radio saying, “I’ve been there, I know how hard this decision can be and I can help.” You feel relieved, someone understands, there’s help and to make things even better, it’s free!

When this Aging Life Care specialist hears “free” it makes her think of those TV commercials. “Just add shipping and handling and we’ll send you the second vege-o-matic absolutely free.” There’s got to be a catch. And so it is with the free services offered in finding an assisted living residence. Let me explain.

The service is indeed free to the caller, but the offerings presented to you by the elder care adviser consists of only those assisted living residences that have signed on with the company. Those residences will pay a commission to the advisor representing the referral company, if you sign a contract with the residence they have recommended. So yes, it is free to you, with a commission coming from the assisted living once a contract is signed.

But this is the caveat, it is ONLY those assisted livings that have signed on to the referral program that the senior advisor will tell you about. What about the other senior residences that prefer not to sign on to this referral service? You, the consumer, may not learn about other assisted living facilities in the area and just maybe, they would be a better fit for your relative. Enter the Aging Life Care specialist.

The Aging Life Care specialist, is not bound by any restrictions. We have a familiarity with ALL the assisted living residences in the respective areas we serve. Often, we have had long standing relationships with the administrative staff. We have learned from our own experience and those of the families we have helped, the strengths and the weaknesses of each of these facilities. We know which ones to stay away from. The Aging Life Care specialists are looking to make the right match using their professional and experiential knowledge combined with their concrete knowledge of the array of senior residences.

So, two vege-o-matics may be nice to own, but when it comes to making the right choice for assisted living, the use of an Aging Life Care will bring a full spectrum of knowledge to the situation and only after a thorough understanding of the needs of the adult senior will recommendations be made.  And those recommendations will be based on ALL the residences in the desired geographic area.

Miriam Zucker, LMSW, ACSW, C-ASWCM is the founder of Directions in Aging based in New Rochelle, New York. She has been an ALC specialist since 1988. Throughout the years, she has been wined and dined by assisted living residences throughout Westchester County, New York.  But no matter the enticements, she has never been sidetracked by the fact that good food, aged wine and an annual Christmas gift, do not equate with quality care.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Moving to a Nursing Home: Making the Right Choice for Your Family

Moving to a long-term care facility or nursing home can be a shock to an individual and to the family. And you’ve probably figured out how expensive it is. With questions ranging from cost to quality of care to food choices, you may feel overwhelmed or trapped. An Aging Life Care Professional™ can help you navigate the nursing home maze and be an extra set of eyes and ears.

Aging Life Care Professionals Know the Ins and Outs of Nursing Home Care

By Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC – Aging Life Care Association™ Member and
Fellow of the Leadership Academy


 Why Nursing Home Care

There are many reasons someone may be living in a nursing home. After a hospitalization, your loved one may have been placed in rehabilitation; and during that rehab stay, it may have become clear the person can no longer live alone. If finances preclude in-home care, nursing home care can be covered by Medicaid if the individual is clinically and financially eligible. Or if the individual’s needs are so complex that the care of a registered nurse on a regular basis, a nursing home is a practical solution.

Paying for Nursing Home Care

All of a sudden you are told your loved one’s time in rehab is up and that he/she must go home or move to long-term care.  While the rehabilitation stay may have been covered by Medicare, the transition to a long-term care can be confusing. You probably have figured out how expensive nursing home care is. Medicaid will pay for long-term care if the individual meets specific eligibility requirements. There are very specific rules, some depending on if there is still a spouse in the community, as well as others regarding how much money the elder can have spent for certain things. If you are confused or unsure about the Medicaid application process, reach out for professional assistance from an Aging Life Care Professional or even an Elder Law Attorney.

Choosing a Nursing Home

Which nursing home is best for your loved one? A great place to begin your research is with Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. Nursing Home Compare allows consumers to compare information based on yearly surveys conducted in person by the Department of Public Health. The website contains quality of care information on every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country – more than 15,000 nationwide.

For information beyond the survey, a local Aging Life Care Professional can offer up-to-date information and insider knowledge based on current or previous experiences with clients at particular facilities. Nursing home staff frequently turn over, so this personal, insider view is invaluable. Aging Life Care Professionals will know the little things like whether all those activities on the calendar actually happen.

Navigating the Maze

An Aging Life Care Professional can be your guide to all things nursing home. Whether you live in the same town or across the country, an Aging Life Care Professional can be your eyes and ears. These experts can also help you answer all of the questions that may be racing through your head, or that may come up along the way such as:

  • Does my relative get to choose a roommate?
  • Can she still have her favorite foods?
  • Who is my contact person at the facility?
  • Who do I tell that my mother never wears her hair that way, or that red lipstick makes her day?
  • Who is responsible for laundry and should clothes be labeled?
  • What if the roommate keeps the TV blasting late into the night?

Though nurses are on staff, the bulk of the care is provided by certified nursing assistants (CNA) who are taking care of a number of people on a daily basis. Forming a bond with the regular CNAs that assist your loved one will help you get timely information and also go a long way towards making sure your loved one is getting the care you hope for.

Nursing homes are required to have quarterly care plan meetings to establish exactly what they are doing for a resident. There need to be goals with progress towards those goals reviewed. Having an advocate attend with you – or in your place – can be invaluable. If the Aging Life Care Professional knew your relative before placement in long-term care, they may have important history to share with the facility staff.

With experience working in and with nursing homes, Aging Life Care Professionals are great partners to work successfully with nursing home staff. Find a local Aging Life Care Expert at aginglifecare.org.

About the author: Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC is an Aging Life Care™ specialist in Brookline, MA who works with families to find solutions to complicated elder care problems. She has been a leader in the Aging Life Care Association and quoted extensively in the media as seen on her website modiglianigeriatrics.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.