Group homes or assisted living facilities allow elderly residents to live a more active and independent lifestyle than they would find in the traditional nursing homes in our country. They typically have 1-10 residents that reside at each of these homes. They have caregivers that are available to provide care 24 hours a day. They all vary in the level of care they can provide and the amount of activities that they offer for their residents.
Financially speaking, it could cost the same per month or even less than what your monthly expenses are in your own private home. The main difference is that you will have 24 hour around the clock caregivers to prepare your meals, do your laundry, assist with your shower and grooming needs, and much more.
This is an example of what expenses would be living in your own private home vs a group home in your community:
The group home or assisted living home you choose should be licensed by the State; these homes must meet mandatory requirements and standards set by the State, as well as receiving regular inspections to ensure compliance.
State regulations require they all should have three (3) well balanced meals, specific activity programs, and adequate trained staff to provide assistance with bathing/grooming/etc. needs.
Each home can customize their services to offer more than another assisted living home in the same neighborhood, so choosing the right one can be time consuming and perhaps overwhelming if you don't know the right questions to ask. You may also choose to have a placement specialist (at no charge to you) to assist you in finding a home. This specialist will make appointments for you to tour several in a specific area you wish to live.
Specific questions you may want to ask when searching for the perfect home:
1) Do you have 24/7 awake staff to care for the residents in the home?
2) How is your home staffed? How many caregivers are available during the day or night?
3) How would I call for assistance?
4) Who responds to emergency calls?
5) Do you have a nurse available?
6) Do all of your staff speak your language well?
7) Are there set visiting hours?
8) What kind of payor source do you accept? State Funding or Private Pay only? And are your rates negotiable?
9) Do I have the freedom to come and go as I please?
10) May I have company over during the day hours?
11) Do you offer menu choices if a resident does not like what is served that day?
12) Can you and do you accommodate special dietary needs?
13) Do your residents have a choice to eat their meals in their rooms?
14) How many times a week will I get a bath or have my hair washed?
15) Do you offer activities in your home?
16) Do you have transportation or have a transport company available if I need to go to the doctor?
17) What is your ratio of men to women?
18) How will you ensure my privacy?
19) May I have my own television? Any extra charge for this?
20) May I have my own phone?
21) May I bring my own furniture and belongings in to personalize my own room?
22) Do you have semi and private rooms? What are the difference in the rates?
23) What is included in the base rate?
24) Are meals nutritionally well-balanced?
25) Are services such as hair cuts/stylings, manicures, pedicures, etc. available on-site?
26) What are your back up plans if staff calls in sick or does not show up for work?
27) How is your staff trained to care for my needs?
28) How medically complex diseases or conditions will you accept in your home? (ie: foley catheters, wheel chair bound, bed bound, pre-active or actively dying residents, blindness, residents that are on oxygen 24 hours a day, incontinent of bowel and bladder, bedsores or any wound care residents, dialysis residents, behavioral problems with residents, tube feedings, etc)
29) Do you have a physician available that makes house calls?
30) Do you have a podiatrist or dentist available that makes house calls?
31) May I still see my own physician?
32) When the time comes, will I have a choice of what hospice company I wish to have?
33) Does the Health Department come out and make regular inspections?