The following list of frequently asked questions about assisted living/personal care, retirement living, and services for people with Alzheimer's disease and other memory impairments may be helpful in making a decision about one of these senior living options for you or your loved one.
Q: What is assisted living or personal care and why might it be a better option than in-home care?
A: Assisted living/personal care is much like in-home care in that both offer non-medical services. Both provide services like assistance with activities of daily living, bathing, grooming and dressing, transportation to medical offices and shopping, medication reminders and meal preparation.
Working with an in-home care agency is the best way to find an in-home caregiver because they will usually take care of the business side, such as conducting criminal background checks of employees, providing insurance, managing payroll taxes and maintaining support and training of the caregiver – all things a senior's family would be responsible for if hiring a caregiver through private hire or a referral agency.
Likewise, assisted living/personal care communities like Heritage Senior Living take care of business matters, with many other areas of concern, including opportunities for social experiences. Heritage Senior Living communities can also be cost-effective for residents and their families because of Heritage Senior Living's ability to serve our residents as a community.
Q: What is long-term care?
A: Long-term care describes the diverse range of options that are available to seniors who are no longer capable of managing the complete range of daily activities on their own. Sometimes a senior's needs may be met in an independent living community, where the primary focus is bringing seniors together to provide social opportunities – with the added bonuses of things like meal preparation, housekeeping, maintenance and transportation.
Assisted living/personal care - like independent living - shares the aspect of socialization but might include meal and/or medication reminders, assistance with grooming or even incontinence care. Heritage Senior Living's assisted living/personal care communities offer specialty neighborhoods that serve the needs of residents coping with memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Outside of the Heritage Senior Living family of communities, there are other types of long-term care with various options such as in-home care, home health care, adult day health care, skilled nursing facilities, board and care homes, as well as palliative and hospice care.
Q: Are all assisted living/personal care and retirement living communities alike?
A: No. Assisted living/personal care and retirement living communities vary greatly, even within Heritage Senior Living. At Heritage Senior Living, we're proud that each of our communities is unique and a reflection of its locale. We believe that unique people deserve exceptional communities, designed with these individuals and their desired environment in mind. This holds true for everything from the building's architecture, to the food choices offered, to the Heritage Senior Living professionals who care for our residents. We strive to offer the best assisted living/personal care and retirement living services in each Heritage Senior Living location.
Q: What are continuing care retirement communities?
A: "Aging in Place" is a common industry term that, unfortunately, can potentially mislead those interested in assisted living/personal care. Some establishments offer a range of services that could allow a resident to age in place. These are often called continuing care retirement communities, but you should thoroughly question any assisted living/personal care community that tells you a resident can live at the community forever, even if their needs increase. In fact, the community may not be able to adequately meet the resident's needs for the rest of his or her life, or state regulations may restrict the community's attempt to do so.
At Heritage Senior Living, we offer independent living, assisted living/personal care, and programs for those with memory impairments. In the assisted living/personal care communities, we offer different levels of care designed to meet our residents' changing needs. This allows us to continue to serve residents as their needs increase. However, each state we operate in regulates the level of services we can provide to an assisted living/personal care community. Should one of our residents develop needs requiring services beyond those allowed by state regulations, we will assist the resident and his/her family in finding the best location for their needs.
Q: What is necessary for the care of people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia?
A: One of the most important aspects in the care of a person with Alzheimer's disease or dementia is a properly planned environment. At Heritage Senior Living, you'll find communities that have a separate and secure neighborhood for memory-care residents.
Though we want all of our Heritage Senior Living communities to look nice and feel like home, memory care interior decorating is a science and an art. It's important to have bright, warm and even lighting, as well as carpeting and flooring without busy patterns. Special care and attention is important for residents in memory care. With our specially trained staff, we carefully plan our staff-to-resident ratio and activities programs to ensure that our residents' individual needs are met in a structured and secure environment.
Q: Are new residents required to pay an entrance fee when moving into a Heritage Senior Living community?
A: In our communities, no entrance fee is required. The only up-front fee required by most of our communities is a processing fee. Because this fee varies by community, check with the community of your choice for more information.
Q: Can I bring my own furnishings to my apartment?
A: Yes. This is your home and you should have all the comforts and furnishings to which you're accustomed. Heritage Senior Living residents enjoy decorating their own apartments and entrances to add their own unique personality to their homes.
Q: Can I bring my pet to Heritage Senior Living?
A: We know that a pet can be an important member of the family. Most Heritage Senior Living communities allow residents to have pets in their apartment for a nominal, one-time fee. Be sure to check with the community in your area.
Q: Do Heritage Senior Living communities allow smoking?
A: We are sensitive to the health needs of all of our residents, so Heritage Senior Living communities are designated as non-smoking. Our communities offer dedicated areas where residents and guests are free to smoke.
Q: Is there access to a full-time, licensed nurse?
A: Each Heritage Senior Living assisted living/personal care community employs a full-time, licensed nurse as a Resident Services Director who oversees all aspects of care services including assessments, medication assistance and communication with family and physicians.
Q: Is there access to an emergency call system?
A: Heritage Senior Living's spacious apartments are all equipped with emergency call systems.
Q: What options are there for activities?
A: Each Heritage Senior Living community has a full-time activities director to design and execute a calendar of events that provides residents with plenty of diverse opportunities for cultural entertainment, continual learning, spiritual development, creativity and socialization seven days a week.
Q: What meal programs are available?
A: Each community's full-time culinary staff freshly prepares selections daily. Heritage Senior Living offers varied and seasonal menus. Plus unique dining occasions make mealtime memorable. Many Heritage Senior Living communities also have a café, with complimentary nutritional snacks and beverages available 24 hours a day.
Q: Is there ample privacy in the current accommodations?
A: Heritage Senior Living offers a variety of floor plans from which you can choose either private or semiprivate accommodations with attached baths. With the exception of those who live in our secure, memory-care neighborhoods, residents have their own keys and may come and go as they please.
Q: Is there access to transportation and is it wheelchair accessible?
A: Yes. Heritage Senior Living communities provide scheduled transportation to meet your needs.