How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

Oftentimes, whenever independent living is brought up, cost becomes the focal point of attention. While this is certainly understandable, it should never prevent older adults from getting the care they need for quality of life.

In fact, many seniors who look into long-term independent living communities don’t think they’ll be able to afford it. Unfortunately, the costs and fees associated with senior living tend to overshadow the many benefits, services, and amenities that independent living communities offer.

To help you get a better understanding of retirement communities and all that they entail, join us as we discuss value versus price, the average cost, and more.

The Cost of Independent Living: Value vs. Price

Moving to an independent living community is a big step. After all, you or your loved one is likely leaving a residence of many years to go somewhere completely new. Not only are the surroundings different, but so are the neighbors and way of life.

As such, the costs of independent living aren’t necessarily cheap. As mentioned, this is often the deciding factor for many people. But you have to look at senior living communities in the same light as you would if you were buying a new home or vehicle.

You’re making an investment, and with that investment comes living costs that need to be accounted for. But more importantly, you’re paying for the peace of mind of safety and security.

Unlike assisted living communities, independent senior housing offers a greater sense of freedom. You won’t find ongoing skilled nursing care or memory care, for example. But you will find independence. And for many seniors, that’s the most valuable part of independent living communities.

What Does Independent Living Include?

You can look forward to having access to helpful services designed to make your life easier once you move into an independent living community.

Whereas assisted living programs and nursing homes are centered on continuing care, retirement community services provide assistance to active residents who are capable of handling most of their own personal care.

The residents in a senior living community can look forward to getting help with home maintenance, yard work, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and more.

Dining Options and More

Although the care independent living provides doesn’t require residents to be given three meals a day like assisted living, many offer dining options. Seniors can pay for their meals in advance, as well, if they should choose to do so.

What’s more, the living options in independent living communities differ from those found in assisted living programs. Housing is typically in the form of apartments that come with convenient amenities found in other traditional apartment buildings.

These include on-site laundry, maintenance personnel, and the other aforementioned services, such as assistance with housekeeping or transportation.

Some communities even have game rooms, theatres, bars, and more. These kinds of amenities ensure that seniors have plenty to do on a monthly basis. In addition, many of the apartments are equipped with entrance ramps and other accessible conveniences.

Is Independent Living Covered By Medicare?

While Medicare can sometimes pay for certain short-term care expenses, it does not pay for the costs associated with independent living. Instead, there is a monthly fee that you will be responsible for in order to live in a retirement community.

What Is the Average Cost of Living in a Retirement Home?

Depending on where you live, living in a retirement home can cost between $1,500 and $4,000 per month. While this may seem like a lot, it is considerably less compared to the fees involved with living in an assisted living facility.

If your income isn’t enough to cover the required rent, you might consider looking into a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Communities). CCRC is a fee-for-service program that helps aging seniors get into long-term living communities.

Whether paying rent or an entrance fee, CCRC may provide the solution you need to get the care you deserve.

Need Assistance?

If you need help finding the right living arrangement or have questions about the cost of independent living, we encourage you to contact us at Mary T., Inc. Our specialists are more than happy to aid you in your search. We’ll ensure that you get into the best place based on your age, health, and needs.

Should I Move Into a 55 and Over Community?

Have you been wondering if moving to a 55+ community is right for you? You’ve probably passed by them as you drive around town, or seen commercials for them on TV. Real estate agencies usually market 55+ communities to older adults that live an active lifestyle. But what does that mean exactly? There are pros and cons to all retirement communities, and the 55+ ones are no different. Today we give you a glimpse of what life is like inside an active adult community. What you can expect while living there and reasons why it may or may not be a good fit for you.

What Is a 55+ Community?

55+ communities are built with the idea of bringing people together who are at the same stage of their lives. In other words, people who are either retired or preparing to enter retirement within the next 10-15 years. In reality, 55+ communities aren’t any different than other neighborhoods or developments. The reason behind the restrictions is not to exclude those that are younger but because the amenities of the property are geared toward people in that age bracket. You are more likely to find tennis courts, golf courses, and a clubhouse as opposed to a basketball court and a playground.

While most of the time these developments set the minimum at 55 years or older, they can range anywhere from 50+ to 65+. 55 plus communities are simply designed for active residents interested in a low maintenance lifestyle. They want to enjoy access to amenities and features steps away from their homes.

Pros of Living in a 55+ Community

One of the biggest reasons people move to a +55 community is maintenance. Owning a home usually comes with a lot of work – raking, painting, mowing, and all the other wonders of keeping up the curb appeal of your house. 55+ communities usually take care of all exterior home maintenance required to keep your home clean and attractive. This frees up more of your time to enjoy leisure activities.

55+ active adult communities can be almost resort-like. They feature a lot of amenities that allow you to take part in activities without ever leaving your community. You’ll find pools, fitness centers, walking paths, tennis courts, and theater rooms. Some may even have their own restaurants or business centers. Often there are organized community events giving you the opportunity to make friends with others in your neighborhood. Because you’ll be living with others who may be empty-nesters with established careers, you may discover it’s easy to create strong bonds and friendships with the other members of your retirement community.

Last but not least, because these communities are designed for those 55 years of age or more, you get to enjoy a mostly kid-free environment. Of course, children and grandchildren are welcome to visit. But lack of kids living there full time usually means 55+ neighborhoods are peaceful, quiet places to live.

Cons of 55+ Retirement Communities

Some of the very things that make active adult communities attractive to some can also feel very restricting to others. For some, the lack of age diversity in a retirement community is not something they want to seek out. Living with people of varying ages can make one feel more a part of mainstream society as opposed to being sheltered with others in your age bracket. Also, if you are looking to buy a house as an investment for your family, be aware that age restrictions could make it difficult for your heirs to take over the house from you upon your passing. Most active adult communities require at least one resident of the home to be over the age of 55 in order to live within the community.

Another thing to consider is that all of those amenities that are included in active senior living communities are not free. The homeowner’s association usually pays for them. HOA fees for 55 and older communities can cost quite a bit of money. They also only increase with the number of amenities and services the communities offer. And most HOAs do not include any sort of assisted living or healthcare services. In fact, most age-qualified communities are considered single-family homes. They also do not offer any type of senior-specific medical care or assistance. HOAs can also be very restrictive and don’t allow much room for creativity. Be sure to investigate the rules of your HOA. You want to make sure that it doesn’t impact the lifestyle you wish to pursue.

What Does Active Community Mean?

An active adult community refers to an age-restricted neighborhood or development where anyone the age of 55 or over can live independent, active lives. The seniors who live here are looking for a location that offers easy ways to keep active and in shape. They don’t require care services, medical assistance, or help with daily activities. Seniors interested in fitness, playing golf, and living their later years to the fullest typically live in these types of communities. They enjoy being near to other neighbors. They also like being part of a robust senior living community while aging in place and enjoying their independence.

Is An Active Adult Community For You?

If you are looking to downsize from your home into a site that offers low-maintenance housing with a lot of amenities, one of these communities may be the perfect place for you to call home. Residents often find socialization a lot easier with yoga classes and walking clubs at their disposal. Life inside an active adult community can open up a lot of opportunities. Opportunities that you may not get to normally take advantage of. Just be sure that the site you choose has the features you are most interested in. And that the homeowners association doesn’t have rules you won’t find acceptable. Most people find that the benefits of living in an active adult community are just what they need in the years leading up to retirement.

Mary T has 55+ community locations in both Coon Rapids, MN and Casa Grande, AZ. If you’re looking independent living or a 55+ community in those areas, contact us for more information.

Working as an Assisted Living Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants play a vital role in the care of residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They are essential providers. They help patients with the activities of daily living. As well as support nurses by taking vital signs and giving medications. Being a CNA is a challenging but rewarding job. It’s also a great way to embark on a medical career. What does being a certified nursing assistant involve? What are their responsibilities? How do you become one?

What You Do as a Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified Nursing Assistants take on a multitude of tasks on a daily basis. While some of the job is routine, no two days are ever alike. The main responsibility of a CNA is to care for patients and help them to do things they can’t do on their own. You will need a certain amount of strength as you’ll often be working with people who may be frail or ill.

Working with RNs and LPNs

Most times, a CNA works under a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It’s important for you to have great communication skills. This is because you will be acting as the go-between for the nurse and the patient. You’ll be asked to perform daily tasks such as bathing patients to keep them clean and comfortable, helping them eat and drink, and making sure their rooms stay clean and sanitary. You’ll be asked to assist patients in and out of bed and help them to change positions.

It is also the job of nursing assistants to support the nurse in the medical care of a patient. You may answer call buttons and fulfill personal patient requests as they come. As well as take and record patients’ vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure. Nursing assistants become very close to the patients in their community. That’s why they are often the ones who notice health changes first. It’s important for them to be able to convey these changes to the nurses so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Nursing assistants are in charge of a lot of things, but there are tasks that they are not allowed to perform. For example, while they are allowed to administer medications, they are not qualified to give intramuscular shots or IV injections. They also don’t work with open wounds, insert catheters or administer tube feedings. These are procedures that only nurses have the training and skills to complete.

What is the difference between a PCA and a CNA?

A Patient Care Assistant’s primary job is to be a caregiver to a patient, whereas a CNA is a ground-floor healthcare worker. You do not need to become certified to be a PCA, but a CNA must have certification status before embarking on a career. PCAs work with patients to make sure they eat, keep good hygiene, and work on mobility needs such as pushing a wheelchair. Nursing Assistants have more training and are therefore expected to take care of the medical needs. Both careers are worthwhile jobs that are important within the patient community.

How Do You Become a CNA, and Where Can You Work?

Whether you are interested in getting in on the ground floor of a nursing career or just think getting a job as a CNA is something you want to do, getting started is easy. If you have a high school diploma or a GED, you can enroll in a state-approved CNA program. The length of the program will vary depending on your state’s requirements, but most education programs take anywhere from 4-12 weeks to complete. Your training and education will include courses in health, science, and hygiene; as well as building skills in the field. Once you are certified, you can search for a job at almost any health facility, including hospitals and nursing homes. Salaries vary depending on employers and location, but you can expect to make a salary anywhere between $20,000 – $45,000 per year.

Start Your Career as a CNA

The need for CNAs on a national level is expected to increase due to the aging population in the country. If you are a compassionate person who loves to work with people, becoming a certified nursing assistant may be the perfect career for you.

Mary T is always looking for kind individuals who have chosen to make the care of others the focus of their career. Visit our website to see our open positions and come join our team!

Levels of Hospice Care

Hospice care is a service given to a terminally ill patient or anyone given a prognosis of six months or less to live by a medical doctor. Also considered end-of-life care, or comfort care, Medicare has defined hospice services as made up of four levels of care. Not all hospice patients need or receive all four levels of hospice care. One patient may only use one level, while another may go through all four levels in a week or less. Each hospice patient goes through their own unique journey.

Level 1: Routine Home Care

This is the most basic level of medicare certified hospice care. It exists for patients living at home, have been confirmed eligible for hospice care by a medical doctor, and qualify for Medicare Part A and B. The majority of patients who receive 90 days of hospice care or more are getting this type of hospice care. This level of hospice is usually appointment-based and includes such services as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Intermittent skilled nursing services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Part-time use of a home health aide
  • Medical supplies for home use

At this level of hospice, you don’t have access to 24/7 care. However, many centers for medicare and hospice agencies keep a nurse on-call at all times for families that have urgent needs.

Level 2: Continuous Home Care

Continuous care is the second of the four levels of hospice care. It is usually used in times of crisis. We elevate patients that require continuous care for a minimum of eight hours straight, within a 24 hours to manage acute symptoms, into this hospice care level of care. Continuous home care may cover such symptoms as:

  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unrelieved pain
  • Heightened anxiety or panic attacks
  • A change in primary caregiver support at home

If a hospice patient has symptoms that cannot be controlled, level 2 hospice care allows a nurse to stay with the family as long as necessary until the patient is comfortable. Level 2 can also assist in cases where the person is actively dying.

Level 3: General Inpatient Care

Sometimes patients may experience symptoms so extreme that they cannot receive adequate hospice and palliative care at home. Or sometimes they feel more comfortable at a certified hospice care facility. General inpatient care gives a patient access to palliative care 24-hours a day, and can be done at a nursing home, assisted living facility or other hospice facility. Some patients with a terminal illness prefer an inpatient facility because it eases the responsibility of family caregivers and allows them to simply be there for emotional support. A nursing facility can administer sufficient pain relief and medications along with emotional support for everyone during a difficult time. This doesn’t mean that an inpatient facility gives a better level of care than intermittent or routine home care. Every patient is different and needs to take advantages of the services that best suit their wishes and needs.

Level 4: Respite Care

You shouldn’t underestimate the stress of being a primary caregiver. While many of them would not have it any other way, taking care of someone who is nearing the end of their life is an around the clock job. Medicare understands that sometimes, for many reasons, people need to take a break, or step back from giving their loved one constant care. With respite care, we can admit a patient to a 24-hour nursing facility on a temporary basis. Which gives a caregiver time to take care of their own physical and emotional needs. Not everyone needs this hospice benefit, but respite care can be a lifesaver to caregivers who do not have enough help or support.

Who Determines The Levels of Hospice Care?

Anyone who qualifies for hospice has a team that consists of both the patient’s personal doctor and a hospice doctor. The levels of hospice care a person qualifies for falls under the responsibility of the hospice physician. The most important thing is that with these four levels of hospice care in place, a patient may always be able to get the care they need to live out their lives in a calm and peaceful manner.

If you have any questions about our hospice care services here at Mary T, send us a message or give us a call.