Assisted Living, Memory Care, Group Homes! Are these safe senior housing options when your loved ones can no longer live on their own? AMA is providing me a format to answer your questions.

Jackie Wargo
Mar 11, 2018

Call Jackie Senior Living Options is a privately owned Senior Referral Service. I have over 12 years of experience helping families, and am regarded as Arizona’s most trusted expert in Senior Living Options.

When I had to move my mom into assisted living the anxiety, stress, and fear I experienced was gut wrenching.  I didn’t have any help, and was lucky that I found the right place. Who wants to rely on luck? I realized there was a need for a personalized service that would provide Senior Housing Options to families.

I felt so strongly about it that I left a successful career in film and television so I could devote myself to helping families navigate through this complicated and confusing process. I have successfully helped hundreds of families over the years.

I believe that Education provides information, which helps families make the right decisions. Let’s start educating. Ask me.

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How should caregivers make sure they don't exhaust themselves? Is there a way to take care of elderly parents at home but still be a son/daughter instead of solely a caregiver?
Mar 18, 1:53PM EDT0
Do you still visit Heidi from time to time?
Mar 18, 11:01AM EDT0
What movies did you act in? Do you miss acting?
Mar 18, 9:00AM EDT0
What kind of movies do you like to watch? What was the most recent one you have seen?
Mar 18, 7:52AM EDT0
You mentioned that advertising on paper, radio or tv did not help. What about social media?
Mar 18, 5:12AM EDT0

Cont. Potential clients to call us then we do all the work and they want 100% of our first month. I think your custo.ers should know this and know tjere are some grwat placement agencies tjat do their jobs and charge a reasonable fee and their are those that don't and it would be helpful to k ow what should people be aski g and looking foe in a good placement agency.

Mar 17, 5:25PM EDT0

Sorry I wasn't done. There are placement agencys in tucson that take 100% of our first months rent and they dontw do anything but give out our number for potential clients to call

Mar 17, 5:21PM EDT0

This is not so much a question as information. First care jomes with 10 residents and under do have activities and are required to have them. Many homes can now offer alit that big communities can offer. Like im jome Doctors, xrays, lab work etc.. I have a home here in Tucson that became a center 10 years ago. We have room for 16 residents. I use placement agencies

Mar 17, 5:19PM EDT0

Thank you for being so patient. In my line of business I get a lot of emergency calls, which I seemed to be inundated with this past week.

There was a particular incident which drove me to do a quick video. You can go to this link to see it:

Mar 15, 7:53PM EDT0

It is 11pm in Arizona, and I'm still working on setting up a tour for a family tomorrow. I'll be back tomorrow to answer the rest of the questions. Thank you for your patience.

Mar 14, 2:03AM EDT0

I have been super busy helping families for the last couple days. I will have time tonight to answer questions. Thank you for your patience.

Mar 13, 12:39PM EDT0

What level of personal assistance should residents expect in assisted living?

Mar 13, 1:55AM EDT0

That depends on the facility/home. Arizona rquires licensing for the facilities. There are 3 levels, and each level allows you to perform certain tasks. I almost always choose a place with a Directed Care level license. That allows them to do pretty much whatever the resident needs, except skilled medical procedures which are paid for through Medicare.

They help with the activites of daily living: walking, transfering, toileting, incontinence, bathing, dressing, grooming, meals, laundry, house cleaning, medication administration, transportation, activities...

Facilities will charge either an all-inclusive fee, meaning as care needs increase the rate doesn't. (except for cost of living increases) Or, they have a base rate and might nickel and dime you for a higher level of care needed. For instance, facilities will usually charge to manage and administer medications. That can run from $400 to $900 a month, just for medication management!

In group homes all of the services are included, and they normally do not raise the price.

Last edited @ Mar 15, 7:45PM EDT.
Mar 15, 7:41PM EDT0
What level of care should an assisted living community provide?
Mar 12, 2:25PM EDT0

See answer above for Anna Wong

Mar 15, 7:46PM EDT0
What are some of the security measures an assisted living community should have in order to ensure the safety of their residents?
Mar 12, 11:44AM EDT0

Thing to look for:

24 hour supervision

Safety alert system

Security personnel

Adequate lighting

Flooring in good condition

Grab bars and Handrails in bathrooms

Chairs without armrests and wheels

Enough staff to resident ratio

Compliance with state regulations

Procedures in place to help prevent errors

Training for staff

There are dozens more things to look for. I encourage families to work with a local Placement Agent who is experienced in knowing what to look for. They cost you nothing, because they get paid a fee from the facility. Similar to a real estate agent.

Mar 15, 7:49PM EDT0
What is the general policy with regard to handling medical emergencies in such communities and when is the family informed, before, during or after an incident has taken place?
Mar 12, 7:12AM EDT0

It depends on the emergency. Each facility should discuss their policy with the families. For example: If someone falls and hits their head, they should immediately call 911, then the family. If someone falls, but seems okay they usually call the family to advise them, and the family decides want they want done. I constantly tell families that COMMUNICATING  with the facilities is of the utmost importance. After the incident the facility should write out an incident report, and give a copy of it to the family.

Mar 14, 1:58AM EDT0
What type of training does the staff of a good Memory Care Community have?
Mar 12, 5:30AM EDT0

In Arizona all of the caregivers have to be trained and certified by the state. They learn how to help residents with their activites of daily living, how to do cpr, and how to redirect. The Alzheimer's Association and the Banner Alzheimer's Institute offer free additional training to caregivers. Ask the facilities what additional training is being given to the caregivers, and make sure you see their certification.

Mar 14, 1:39AM EDT0
How can a person establish if the residents of an assisted living community contribute to the day-to-day life of the community and if their special skills and talents can be put to use?
Mar 11, 10:57PM EDT0

The best way to find out is to ask the residents themselves. You'll find that most of them are more than happy to have someone to tell their story to.

Mar 14, 1:26AM EDT0

One more thing before I'm finished for the night. Please ask your parents if they have all of their legal paperwork in order. Trust, Will, Living Directives, Power of Attorney for Medical, Mental, and Durable (Financial). Make sure you find out where they put the paperwork. Many couples designate each other as Power of Attorney. Please ask them to designate an additional person. I am not an attorney, however, the mess families have to deal with regarding legal issues is horrendous. All because the paperwork was not done. Please see an attorney to get these done, and remember to do it for yourself too.

Last edited @ Mar 11, 9:09PM EDT.
Mar 11, 9:08PM EDT0

Memory Care or Alzheimer’s Care Communities provide supportive, personalized care in a secure environment. The caregivers usually have additional training in the care of people with dementia. Their rates run from $5000 to $8500 a month. the key word is secured. Many people with dementia don't realize where they are at, and tend to wander.

For a time my mom had dementia which was brought on from being over medicated. It was frightening. My mom looked and smelled the same. She sounded the same, but she was saying things that had no truth to it. What happened to my mom? I know she's in there somewhere. It was very difficult to see my mom like that. She also became paranoid, and had hallucinations. I was not in the placement business yet, and had no idea what was going to happen. Once again, nobody offered me help. I started to do research, and began to understand what dementia was. It didn't make me feel any better, but at least I had information. When I talked with the family they were in denial, and would say things like, "she's having a bad day, or she's tired." I went straight to her doctor, had her tested at the Alzheimer's Institute, and came up with a plan of action. Once the doctor adjusted her meds she was back to herself again. That is her story. Everyone's is different.

Here are signs that a parent may need Assisted Living

• The refrigerator is empty or filled with spoiled food

• You notice frequent bruises

•Your parents wear the same clothes, day after day

• The house and yard aren’t as clean as they used to be

• Your parents forget things

• They may seem depressed

• Notice a change in behavior

• Are you noticing that your parent’s issues are affecting both their quality of life, and the quality of life for you and your family?

• Have they had a fall, an accident, or a lapse in memory?

• Do you spend hours worrying about them performing simple day to day activities?

If you notice even one of these please go to your parent's doctor to discuss this.

Last edited @ Mar 11, 9:02PM EDT.
Mar 11, 9:01PM EDT0
Of the these options that you mentioned, what are the pros and cons of each?
Mar 11, 4:01PM EDT0

Assisted Living Communities provide assistance for residents that need help with their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). There are two types of Assisted Living Communities. One type of community offers a basic package, which includes the rent, utilities except phone, meals, light housekeeping, activities and transportation. The basic rates start from $2300 to $4000 a month. Any additional care a resident needs will be an extra charge over and above the monthly rent.

The other type of Assisted Living Community charges a rate which is all-inclusive. A monthly fee is charged and everything is included except for personal items, medications, personal hygiene products, and phone. There are no additional charges for changes in care. Of course this costs more, usually from $5000 to $8500 a month.

Assisted Living Homes are private residences that provide for all levels of care. Their care is usually all-inclusive except for personal items, medications, personal hygiene products, and a private phone (they do have a house phone for residents). One of the benefits is that a resident gets more one-on-one care, because there are fewer residents per caregiver. It is a home environment in which everyone is treated like a family member. The prices range from $2500 to $4500 a month.

Assisted Living Community Pros

The larger facilities have scheduled activities, transportation to appointments and errands, and a large population of residents to choose from for socialization. They are a great choice for people who need a little help.

Assisted Living Community Cons

Their caregiver to resident ratio is high. Some communities have as little as 1 caregiver for 40 residents. The average is around 1 caregiver to 15-20 residents. This makes for a slower response time when help is needed. If a resident starts needing more help most of them charge extra for a care plan. This can run from $400-$2700 extra per month.

Assisted Living Homes (Group Homes) Pros

They normally don't increase rates when there is a need for more care. They have 1-2 caregivers for a max of 10 people. It's a more personal type of care in a home environment. A home is best when there is a high level of care needed.

Assisted Living Homes (Group Homes) Cons

The homes do not have scheduled activities, or transportation for appointments and errands. This smaller environment makes it difficult to socialize when you have just a few people to choose from.

(This information is based on Arizona's Assisted Living. It differs from state to state.)

Last edited @ Mar 11, 7:27PM EDT.
Mar 11, 7:25PM EDT0
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