Assisted Living in Atlanta: 3 Signs You Need A Senior Care Expert

As your parents get older, you may begin to notice that they have trouble with tasks that they once found easy. Perhaps your mom or dad is struggling with medical problems, or you’re starting to notice a dangerous change in their driving habits.

While you want to do everything you can for your parents, your life is hectic, too. It may not always be possible for you to be there as much as you’d like. For some families, it may be time to hire an outside caregiver. Others may find that mom or dad is more comfortable in a senior community that is designed for their unique needs.

One important thing to know is that you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. A senior care adviser is someone who knows all about the different care options available in your area and who can give you concrete advice on choosing the best care option for your parents. But how do you know when you need to reach out to a senior care expert? Consider these three signs:

You Want to Learn the Difference Between Senior Living Communities, Assisted Living Facilities, and Nursing Homes

You’ve probably driven past these facilities or seen advertisements on television. But do you know the difference between a senior living community, an assisted living facility, and a nursing home? What about a memory care facility? Is in-home care a viable option for your active parents? When it comes to assisted living in Atlanta, as well as other senior living arrangements, there are many different options. When you find yourself curious about these options or unsure what the differences are, it may be time to reach out to an expert.

Mom or Dad is Ready For the Next Step

If you feel that your mom or dad would be better served in an environment that provides care assistance, but you don’t know how to approach the subject, a senior living advisor can be a great solution to help navigate this difficult conversation. On the other hand, it may be that you aren’t the one who wants to make a change; it may be that your mom or dad is asking about options. It can be hard for you to face the fact that your parents need a little help with day-to-day living.

This is one time when it can help to have someone else on your side to look at things from an outsider’s perspective. Since you are so close to your parents, and you have known them so long, it can be harder for you to recognize that the time is right for them to move to a senior living facility. A senior care expert will be able to show you the benefits.

You Need Answers to Your Senior Living Questions

For most of your life, your parents always had the answers. Now, you are the one who is supposed to have it all figured out. If you find that each day leaves you with more questions than answers, perhaps it is time to turn your questions over to someone who has experience with this situation.

Maybe you want to know more about the costs associated with assisted living in Atlanta, the difference between a personal care home license and assisted living license, or maybe you want to learn more about the activities offered at each community. A senior care expert can help you look at the big picture and the small details so you can understand what to expect from the next steps in the process.

No matter what stage you are at in the process of evaluating senior care options, working with a senior care expert just makes sense. Don’t try to do everything yourself — assisted living reviews in Atlanta and other resources can be very misleading. There is a lot of information to sort through and a lot of that information is bad information. You may not find the answers you need for your loved one’s specific care needs.

If you’re currently considering any senior care community, in-home care, assisted living in Atlanta or another option, we encourage you to reach out to us at CareChoice. You can reach us by email through our website or by phone at (404) 402-1499. We will connect you with one of our experienced family advocates and offer complementary guidance.

Our service is all about helping you every step of the way, from learning more about these options to the day your loved one moves in — and beyond. Call us today and you’ll quickly realize that a senior care expert is your best resource for all your senior care questions.

How Much Do Assisted Living Facilities Cost for Long-term Care?

Are you concerned about the long-term care costs for your parent or loved one? It’s one of the foremost concerns people have when they begin looking for senior care options in the Atlanta area. While the cost may seem like a stumbling block in some cases, the truth is that senior care options can be found in varying budgets.

Option 1: Independent Living Community for Long-Term Care – around $1,900 to $3,500 per month

An Independent Living Community is usually less expensive than other Georgia long term care facilities because care is not usually being provided. In these communities, residents are normally fully capable of caring for themselves. Independent Communities offer maintenance-free lifestyles for seniors to enjoy their best years. Many communities offer contracted services so when residents develop care needs, they do not have to move. These services are an additional charge to the monthly rent.

There are more than 90 Independent Living Facilities in Georgia, 40 of which are in the greater Atlanta region. The average cost of a true Independent Living Community in Atlanta is approximately $2,500 per month though some communities may charge between $1,900 and $3,500 per month.

Benefits of Independent Living Communities

  • An Independent Living Facility can be the ideal choice for a person who is reluctant to leave home, but who does require a safer environment. This type of facility has a home-like feel, since the senior has their personal space and lives a largely independent life.
  • One of the biggest benefits with Independent Living Facilities is that residents can participate in a wide range of activities provided by the community, such as games, outings, fitness activities, and more.
  • Many Independent Living residents prepare and eat meals on their own, since their apartments often have small kitchens. However, meals in the dining room can be included in the overall cost, if desired.

 

Option 2: Assisted Living Facilities for Long-Term Care – around $2,500 to $3,500 per month

Assisted Living is much like an Independent Living Community, except they are staffed to provide non-medical assistance with daily living. The goal of Assisted Living is just as the name implies. These facilities foster a discrete lifestyle aimed to provide privacy and extend independence while providing the care needed. Your parents can live in an apartment or condo and still enjoy a sense of community. Most Assisted Living Communities range from 25 to 150 units. In Georgia, communities with 25 beds or more may be licensed either as a Personal Care Home (PCH) or as an Assisted Living Community (ALC). Depending on the services provided expect to pay around $2,500-$3,500 per month for the median level of care.

Benefits of Assisted Living Facilities

  • Assisted Living Facilities are great for seniors who are still independent but need help with activities of daily living — bathing, dressing and grooming.
  • While in residence at an Assisted Living Facility in Atlanta, your parent will have access to experienced and licensed staff who assist with medication management and perform other non-medical services the resident may require.
  • 24-hour staff prepared to respond to accidents and emergencies.

Option 3: Memory Care – around $2,200 to $7,000 per month

Memory Care centers, often found in Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living facilities, are designed for seniors who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or other forms of dementia. As with most specialized medical care, the cost for memory care is quite high. Medicaid can cover expenses for a memory care placement, but eligibility requirements must be met.

In the Atlanta area, costs range from approximately $2,200 to more than $7,000 per month depending on the needs of the senior, location of the center, amenities offered and other factors. At these facilities, residents receive help with many or even all of their basic daily activities.  With progressive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, resident care needs are expected to increase with time.

Memory Care Benefits

  • The biggest benefit of Memory Care for seniors is that they receive specialized care for their level of memory impairment. Seniors who are proud of their ability to do the basic tasks of daily living can still do those things, but the staff will be there to help with what they cannot do.  

As you’ve learned costs vary based on the care provided. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay, out-of-pocket, unless your parent qualifies for VA benefits or their insurance covers long-term care. To determine what care options are available within your unique budget, call CareChoice or contact us via message on our Contact Us form today for free assistance with navigating senior care facilities!

Keeping Your Loved Ones Close: Finding Assisted Living Facilities Near You

Are you looking for assisted living facilities near you in Georgia? One of the most important things to consider when caring for ailing and elderly parents is keeping them as connected to their everyday life as possible. If you can keep your parent near you in an assisted living facility, they will be able to more fully enjoy their golden years while still having your companionship. Here are a few things to keep in mind while looking for a local assisted living facility in Atlanta.

Get Some Help From a Senior Living Adviser

With so many choices, finding the right assisted living facility can become overwhelming very quickly. Every assisted living facility has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and sifting through each potential facility to find all of that information can be incredibly time-consuming and difficult. Consulting senior living advisers, like those at CareChoice, can take much of that burden off your shoulders by matching your parent’s needs with an assisted living facility that is best suited for them. Most family advocate services are free, so don’t hesitate to use them in your search for assisted living facilities.

A family advocate can help you differentiate between the types of facilities and the care options provided at each. A nursing home, for example, provides around the clock care, which is different from an assisted living facility that also has 24-hour supervision but allows residents to be more independent.

These advisers will not only walk you through the differences of care at different facilities, they can also help you determine the specific kind of care your parent or loved one needs. In this process, a family advocate will help you make a list of important services that your loved one requires, and help you find the facility that best meets those needs. A family advocate will be able to inform you about the different care options that are best for your parent, and help you find the sweet spot between the care your parent needs and the care you can afford.

A family advocate will work hard to find a facility that not only fits the needs of your parent and your budget, but that is also close enough that you can visit your loved one on a regular basis.

Tour Assisted Living Facilities

After consulting with a senior living adviser and creating a list of facilities that are perfect for you on paper, you should tour each facility and see which one measures up both on paper and in-person. To make sure you get the most accurate information about a specific facility try to do the following:


Talk to the staff

While this may seem self-explanatory, talk to the nurses and aides who will interact with your loved one every day. Do they seem good-natured and enthusiastic about their job, or are they noticeably rundown and tired? The overall disposition of the staff at a facility gives you a glimpse of the type of care your parent will receive.

Take Your Parent with You and Talk to Residents

When you have narrowed your options down to 2 or 3 facilities, and if your parent is capable, you should take a tour of the facilities together. Let your parent interact with the staff and residents. You should talk to the current residents, as well as get an unbiased opinion of the care that your parent will receive at that facility.

Experience the Dining Program

While you are taking your tour, we highly recommend that you experience the quality of the food prepared for their residents (on the house of course). Just like quality of the staff should be a deciding factor, so can the quality of the kitchen. If you like the food, there is a good chance you will like place.

Prepare Your Parent

Once you have made a decision, preparing your parent for their transition into an assisted living facility is very important. One of the most important things for your parent to understand is that you will still be close enough to visit. Since you’re still in the same region, your loved one will be able to feel secure in the knowledge that they’ll see you regularly like they did when they lived on their own.

A gradual transition is best, if at all possible. Try to start preparing your parent for the move as soon as you determine that an assisted living facility is the right choice. You can begin this process even before you choose a specific facility, as long as you assure your parent that you’ll find the perfect place for them.

Tell your parent about some of the great features that the local assisted living facilities have to offer. Whether your loved one needs constant help with their personal needs or they just need to have reliable staff around 24/7, there is a facility that will be right for them. Most assisted living facilities have an excellent schedule of activities, from exercise to games and more.

When you can find a facility that fits your parent’s needs, your budget, and is just a short drive away, your parents don’t have to fear that they won’t see you anymore, and you don’t have to worry about whether they’ll be lovingly cared for.

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If you have any troubles, please feel free to reach out to us help@ourcarechoice.com or give us a call; 404-402-1499

 

Mother’s Day: 4 Inexpensive Activities To Do With Mom This Year

Present For MotherMother’s Day is just a few days away and every Mother deserves to feel loved and appreciated! Many are pondering the best gift to give to show their gratitude. The answer seems ever challenging over the years. One gift that can never be surpassed is the gift of time – and not the time spent in the check out line!

This Mother’s Day get creative! Think beyond purses and spa days and plan time to spend together. We’ve compiled a list of inexpensive activities you can enjoy together.

1. Spend time down memory lane.

Enjoy time together flipping through photo albums, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia. If Mom’s still holding on to her treasures in boxes, work together to create a scrapbook with these pieces. Reminding mom of old memories could spark conversation that lasts for hours!

2. Play in the dirt!

You can make a special garden, or tend to an existing garden with memories of gardening together. The beautiful plants will remind Mom of the time you shared. You can even give flowers to other Moms.

 

3. Enjoy a meal

Mother’s Day is full of high teas and special brunches! Be sure to make reservations if you plan on going out – these events are typically crowded.

 

4. Catch a movie

Everyone enjoys a good movie, especially with the company of someone they love. Skip the ticket and snack line by popping your own popcorn at home and enjoying one of Mom’s favorite “oldies.”

For those with mothers in a senior community, there’s even better news! Many of these events are planned for you to enjoy. Leaving the stress of planning the events and caring for Mom to the professionals so that you can be in the moment and enjoy the time and activity together – without the worry!

Locating Assisted Living Services: How To Choose The Right Community

Road Sign Of Right Vs Wrong DecisionKnowing you’ve made the right decision for your loved one requires your due diligence before the move-in and continued communication with your relative and the community afterwards.

Using CareChoice’s service, you save valuable time by allowing your search to be narrowed by the top 3 determining factors: care, location, and budget. A key part of making the decision is visiting the facilities with your Family Advocate. Senior living communities, while different, can appear to be the same. Without touring and keeping your mental checklist, you will not understand what makes each community different from one another.

While it is important for you as the adult child, or other relative, to be content with the decision, choosing the right community ultimately boils down to your loved one’s comfort. Outside of the apartment and care provided, what does the community have to offer to make your mom or dad feel at home? Factors such as social life, dining and housekeeping services, emergency assistance, and physical activity should all be addressed to be sure you’re selecting the best community.

After your loved one has moved, it’s important to keep in constant communication. Not only with your relative, but also the community. The level of communication necessary requires more than just phone calls. After all, Dad could paint a pretty picture over the phone of how he’s doing that is not in fact reality. While communities will keep you informed of what’s going on, day to day life can only be captured by visiting the community. Many family activities will be offered, but it’s also important to visit outside of those times.

You can always wonder “what if?” and think about the decision you make. Using CareChoice’s service you’ll understand why the community options presented are the best options. You will rest comfortably knowing you’ve taken all the right steps before moving your loved one and have made the best decision with the community you choose.

Checklist for Touring- How to Compare Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities.

Vector Check Mark Symbol On Checklist

The time is here! You’ve talked with your Family Advocate, you’ve narrowed all of your options, and you’ve scheduled tours to view facilities.

While your Family Advocate accompanies you to provide insight and ensure all questions are answered, the decision is ultimately yours to make. If all of your options meet care, budget and location needs, what will be your determining factor?

As you arrive and during your tour, keep a mental checklist answering these questions below:

Community

First impressions:

  • Is the outside clean, appealing, and maintained?
  • Is there ample parking?
  • Is the inside clean and appealing?

During the tour:

  • Is the facility clean and well maintained throughout?
  • Do you notice any odors?
  • Are there handrails in place?
  • Is the facility easy to navigate?

 

Staff and Residents

First impressions:

  • Are you greeted warmly?
  • Are the staff and residents well dressed and groomed?
  • Are there residents interacting with each other?
  • Is there an activities calendar in sight?

During the tour:

  • Is the Community Director greeting residents by name as you past?
  • Are the staff you pass friendly towards you and other visitors?
  • Are there secure outdoor areas for the residents?
  • Is the dining experience healthy and nutritious?
  • What activities are offered and how engaged are residents?

 

Care

First impression:

  • Are resident’s engaged and happy?
  • Are the resident’s needs being addressed in a timely manner?

During the tour:

  • What is the staff to resident ratio?
  • What type of caregivers are on staff? (LPN, RN, CNA)
  • Who is involved with care planning?
  • How often is the care plan reevaluated and who is involved?
  • What is the pricing structure for necessary care?

 

Everyone’s situation is unique and will require specific questions. These questions highlighted above are only general questions applicable to all.

Understanding Your Family Advocate’s Role

Senior couple meeting financial adviser in officeWith the plethora of senior living options, it is easy to quickly become overwhelmed when searching for senior living or care alone. Likely, this is your first time hearing about care types, levels of care, or community types and you quickly reach the point of information overload. 

At CareChoice, our team goes to work for you throughout every step of the way. Upon being connected with one of our highly experienced Family Advocates, we begin the process of an in-depth discovery to truly understand the needs of your loved ones. This discovery process allows us to not only think of appropriate options for the present, but also to think long-term as your loved one ages and their needs increase. Your Family Advocate will take time to understand more about your loved one and what is important to them and your family. Perhaps they have a favorite activity or food type that we can ensure is offered at the community you choose. 

Your Family Advocate also takes the time to understand what resources are available to you to help with the costs of senior living. For example, did you know if your loved one is a veteran, or surviving spouse of, there are VA benefits for senior living and care? 

After the discovery process is complete your Family Advocate identifies the top three to five community options based on the conversation you had. We check availability, confirm pricing, and learn of any specials offered. At CareChoice we strongly value client confidentiality. The only information ever given is regarding your loved one’s needs. Your contact information remains private until the time of touring when you choose to provide it to the community. 

At your convenience, your Family Advocate accompanies you on community tours to answer your questions and to be sure all questions necessary are answered by the community. After the decision is made, your Family Advocate helps in guiding you through obtaining forms required, such as physician’s evaluations. CareChoice even continues to follow up to monitor quality of care.

At anytime, before or after a decision is made, your Family Advocate is available to you. Your ties are not cut after you move your loved one. We are continuously available to you, or anyone you may know in need.

If you or anyone you may know are in need of guidance, call CareChoice today at (404) 402-1499 or visit us at ourcarechoice.com 

Caregiver Stress: How To Avoid Burnout

A photo of a woman squeezing a stress ballIn 2010, the population of adults 65 & older in the United States was around 38 million. That number is expected to increase to over 86 million by the year 2050. Of these older adults, around 14 million live in the southern region of the United States(Bureau of the Census, 2010). With the growing number of older adults, there has also been an increase in demand for caregivers, leaving this difficult task mostly to family members. During any given year, there are more than 44 million unpaid caregivers, and these informal caregivers provide more than 80 percent of long term care.

Sixty-one percent of caregivers are women, and thirteen percent of caregivers are 65 or older according to Womenshealth.gov. The emotional and physical toll caregiving takes on the caregiver also puts caregivers at a much higher risk for physical, emotional and financial hardship. However, these aren’t the only losses associated with caregiving, often the family member may feel a loss of their role in the family system. For example, a spouse is no longer able to just be a spouse or partner, they are now in charge of all care and have to be more focused on the day to day care and concern rather than just enjoying being with their loved one.

There are also feelings of guilt associated with the realization that the caregiver may no longer be able to provide a level of care that his or her loved one needs. I have found this to be one of the most difficult decisions families that I have worked with make. They struggle with these feelings of guilt for no longer being able to provide everything that is needed for their loved one.

However, what I encourage families to realize, is that there will always come a time in the caregiving process when the person being cared for will require a higher level of care than the family can provide. It is often better for the caregiver and for the person being cared for to have the most appropriate level of care, which is usually provided in a personal care home, assisted living, or skilled nursing facility. During this difficult time of finding appropriate care, one of the best resources to have is someone who knows the community, knows appropriate resources, and someone who can support the caregiver in their search.

About the Author

Jessica Weinstein is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in geriatric psych throughout her career. She has her own private practice, Senior Therapy Associates of Atlanta, which provides psychotherapy services to adults who are 60 and older who may be afflicted with depression, dementia, or other mental illnesses. Past work history includes several years as a geriatric psych social worker at Eastside Heritage Center in Snellville, GA and with case management at Emory Saint Josephs Hospital in Atlanta.

Coping with Aging Parents: 4 Ways To Know When Assisted Living Is Appropriate

Question SignThe decision to move an aging parent or relative is made easier knowing signs of when assisted living is needed. Facing the reality of needing assisted living is increasingly difficult for the senior adult; many may feel as if they are signing their independence away. Making the move to assisted living at the appropriate time, however, will allow your senior family member to keep control of their independence.

Unfortunately, the appropriate time for assisted living does not have a one-size fits all answer. Thankfully, there are telltale signs that if noted, will allow families to make their decisions before it’s too late.

Highlighted are 4 concerns that will allude to the need for assisted living.

1. Personal Concerns

Take note of your parents or relative’s personal hygiene. Noticeable body odor and unkept grooming can be clues of depression or memory loss. Are clothes fitting loser? Weight loss can be a sign of a change in eating habits.

2. Home Concerns

While visiting, take note of the cleanliness of your loved one’s home. Signs of an unkept home can give warning to the need for assisted living. Is yard maintenance declining? Are there piles of mail stacking around the home or other objects that may be a trip hazard? Are appliances being left on? Burnt pots and pans may be signs of stovetops being forgotten. Be sure to check beyond where visitors would see. Guest areas may be spotless, but what about their personal space?

3. Mobility Concerns

Along with the capability of physically walking, take note of how your parents perform their ADLs (activities of daily living). Chances of falls and other injuries increase as the ability to get around diminishes. Showering and dressing can become a strenuous task, along with cooking, eating, laundering, managing medicines and several other tasks second nature to ourselves.

4. Isolation Concerns

Take note of when hobbies begin to be ignored or attendance of frequented events decline. The fear of driving may be one explanation as to why. Withdrawing from social events can also be signs of depression.

Many families do not have the luxury of visiting their loved ones daily, weekly, or even monthly. In addition to phone calls and visits, rely on the community around! Ask trusted neighbors to alert you of any troubling behaviors. Visit churches or other frequented places of your relatives – ask to be contacted if any concerns arise.

Being aware of these factors is vital for moving your loved one to assisted living in the appropriate timing. If you share in these concerns or any others, call (404) 402-1499 or e-mail help@ourcarechoice.com,  to speak with an expert at CareChoice to discuss the options available for your specific needs.