Senior Care Facility Options in CaliforniaSubmitted by Levy, Daniel & McGee Wealth Management on July 13th, 2020
As our nation ages, more of us find that we need to be concerned with senior care facility options either for ourselves or a parent. There are numerous possibilities with different price points and services. The cost for some facilities must be borne entirely by the resident while government and social welfare programs will pay for others. Since the price tag rises with the level of care it, is important to understand those levels of care and when each is appropriate. Generally, the levels of care fall into three broad categories often referred to as independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing.
Independent living facilities are typically designed for people 55 and older who do not require assistance in day-to-day activities. Since this category is the least restrictive of the three, there are a myriad of living arrangements from single family homes to condominiums to apartments. Some of the names used for these locations include active adult communities, senior apartments, retirement communities. The attraction is the facilities and optional services are designed for seniors. For example, gated communities provide a degree of safety especially for those who spend a lot of time traveling. Other benefits may include housekeeping, meals, transportation, senior-friendly social activities and amenities like a clubhouse, spa and pool. The costs of independent living facilities are borne by the resident.
Assisted living facilities serve people who are 60 and older who need some assistance with eating, dressing, bathing, dressing, toileting, or managing medications. Known in the industry as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE), these include assisted living facilities, rest homes and board and care homes. They are licensed and inspected by the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (CCL). Each must meet the care and safety standards set by the Department. The state also sets minimum training qualification for the staff and administrators. They are considered non-medical facilities because medical personnel are not required. Since these locations are not licensed as a medical facility, the state may require the residents move out if 24-hour medical care is deemed necessary. For the most part, residential care facilities are “private pay”. That is, government assistance is not provided. However, in 2006, a test program providing an Assisted Living Waiver started in select counties throughout California whereby qualified residents of an assisted living facility could receive Medi-Cal. Fortunately, for Lodians, San Joaquin County is one of the counties covered by the program. Unfortunately, few facilities are part of the program, it is at capacity, and there is a long waitlist.
Skilled nursing facilities provide twenty-four-hour nursing care and are medically licensed. Also known as nursing homes, convalescent care, and long-term care, these facilities are designed primarily for seniors who need help with two or more of the common daily activities that include dressing, eating, walking, bathing and toileting. Others who may qualify include those with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia. In addition to seniors, these facilities often provide short-term rehabilitation services for people recovering from surgery or illness. These facilities are certified to participate in, and be reimbursed by Medi-Cal.
Philosophically, some people feel a responsibility to bear as much of the cost as possible for their own senior care. Others believe they should use whatever government assistance is available under the law. Regardless of where you fall, it is important to understand your options. Professionals with whom you might consult include elder law attorneys along with federal and state employees who specialize in these areas. Also, you will find that many retirement facilities have staff members who can help prospective residents understand the resources available to them. The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, also known as CANHR, has an informative website and provides publications for those considering long term care. Finally, some advisors carry a “senior designation”. Do your research when relying on these professionals because the qualifications for the designation can greatly vary.
Ken Levy is a financial advisor with, and securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be consider as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. Contact: 2111 W. Kettleman Lane, Ste. C, Lodi, CA 95242 or 209-263-0330.