This is a reprint of an article written by Barbara E. Friesner, The Country’s Leading Generational Coach from AgeWiseLiving
Barbara is also the creator of “The Ultimate Caregivers Success System” which I have recommended to many caregivers.
In this interview Barbara interviews Laurene Hartman, is the Director of Community Relations at Sunrise Senior Living in East Brunswick, New Jersey
I wanted to share this article, because it is so in line with the questions we answer everyday. Please enjoy and let me know your thoughts!
Barbara Friesner: What is an assisted living community and what services does an assisted living community provide?
Laurene Hartman: Assisted living is a worry-free
lifestyle with supportive services for the residents and their families
as well. Assisted living communities provide meals, activities and
levels of care. Services vary greatly and depend on the type of
resident each community will accept. A vast amount of services and
amenities are provided based solely on the individual needs of each
resident. I most assisted living communities, residents can totally
independent; they can have their vehicle, they can travel. Families
really have to do diligence before considering an environment for their
loved one. Some might require one to be completely ambulatory – they
might need to be able to transfer from a bed to a chair. At Sunrise
communities, residents can live in the community until the end of life
because we also offer Hospice care. It is definitely not
“one-size-fits-all. It really represents the individuality of each
BF: What are the requirements for admission?
LH: It depends on the community. For some, the
requirements for admission are really basic: no age requirement and
the financial ability to private pay for two years meaning that
residents moving in do have to have the resources for at least a 2-year
There again, families need to really be proactive in asking those
questions as part of the process of a family visiting a community, but
every assisted living has their own criteria for their financial needs.
Once in, it is strictly a month-to-month rental and residents are
billed monthly, and they can leave at any time with proper notice based
on their reasons for departing the community.
BF: What are some ways residents can pay?
LH: Some people have long-term care insurance which
assists them with their own personal finances. Families should also
check out the Veterans Pension and Disability benefit that is an
entitlement to veterans and their spouses. (For information on the VA Special Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefit, go to https://agewiseliving.com/2009-09-24-VeteransPension.htm or the 9/24/09 newsletter on the Newsletter page on my website www.AgeWiseLiving.com.)
BF: What are some other requirements?
LH: Once the decision is made on the community,
there needs to be an assessment which is done through our health care
coordinator in speaking to the family and the potential resident about
all of the things that we might need to provide for that resident.
BF: Does someone actually go to their home and do an assessment?
LH: We can go to their home, we can go to a
sub-acute private discharge, it can be done in our own community; we
will do whatever it takes to make it convenient for that family member
and the potential resident.
BF: Does the assessment tool assess mental and physical abilities?
LH: Yes, it includes both mental and physical
abilities because again, if someone’s memory is at a certain point
where there might be a wandering risk, or again, recognition of family
is no longer there with that particular situation, then of course, we
would know again, with that assessment tool, where that resident would
best be served; where their quality of life would be best, whether its
in the assisted living neighborhood of the community, or the
Reminiscence neighborhood of the community. And of course the needs of
that particular resident would translate into the levels of care that
we provide based on the degree and severity of their needs. Do they
need total assistance? Do they need minimal assist? Do they only want
assistance with a shower once a week? Things of that nature. Do they
have continence issues that we need to address? Do they need to be
toileted because they’re not ambulatory? So again, that tool tells us
every nuisance of that resident to create that individual service plan
that’s designed specifically for them.
BF: In addition to the assessment, what else do they need to do?
LH: Then the family needs a physician’s report
completed by their primary, a clean TB test, and to be free of
communicable disease, (different states have different requirements so
be sure to ask the community), and a resident profile that the family
must provide. The resident profile – basically a biography about the
resident so that way we can create and generate a service plan based on
their spiritual needs, their physical needs, how to approach them . . .
all those things based on their particular circumstances.
Watch for next week’s newsletter when we will look at accommodations
for those with memory impairment, different levels of care, and what
happens if a resident’s situation changes and they can’t stay in the
If you think an Assisted Living Community is the perfect choice for your parent, I urge you not to wait for a crisis to develop.
Tomorrow we will feature part 2 of this interview!