“It’s better to have a plan and not need it, then to need a plan and not have it.”
Making Informed Decisions for Senior Living
Navigating senior care options and resources can be confusing, and at times overwhelming. As experts in senior care and housing, we understand the many challenges that you face and are happy to help you through it.
At Orchards of Minnetonka Senior Living and any of our Ebenezer locations, our communities have the specialists and resources to meet your needs. This includes answering your question:
- When is the right time to plan for a move?
- What type of senior care is available to me?
- What should I be looking for in a new senior living community?
- What funding options are available to me?
- What State resources and senior care/housing resources can I count on?
When is the right time to plan for senior living?
The answer is now. It is important to always have a plan and a backup plan. Start by putting those plans in writing and telling them to your Health Care Agent. Here are a few scenarios that suggest you should start planning for senior living options.
- Health is deteriorating: Taking longer to recover from illness, a chronic condition is worsening, experiencing extreme weight loss/gain, or having more trips to the Emergency Room
- Increasingly difficult to participate in activities of daily living
- Social life is not what it used to be: Hobbies/Interests have dwindled significantly or not getting out of the house and becoming isolated
- Nutrition is failing: The refrigerator may be filled with expired foods or items that never get used, living on microwaveable foods or increased take-out food
- Maintenance of home has become too much to handle. Housekeeping is not getting done
What Type of Senior Housing/Care is Available to Me?
Independent Senior Living
55+ active living and senior independent living broadly describe a lifestyle of living in an apartment home (without personal care services), 55+ townhome, condominium, or cooperative building designed with the needs of adults 55 and older.
The benefits of a 55 and older independent living option include a maintenance-free lifestyle, socialization with like-minded neighbors, and peace of mind with turn-key living. At Orchards, extra security, wider doorways, and other adapted-design elements are part of the overall features of the buildings. The independent living communities are designed to create a lifestyle of convenience – while offering interaction with other residents to help avoid isolation.
Independent living communities may also have amenities such as underground parking, beautician/barber shops, and gift stores. Typically if you need extra help, you can contract services such as housekeeping, personal care, or wellness services.
Assisted living care is a rental apartment living for older adults. Age requirements differ in each community but are typically 55+ or 62+
Residents in assisted living communities enjoy full apartments with access to services when they need them. Many live very independently and just don’t want the bothers of cooking, housekeeping, driving, and other little things. They also find peace of mind knowing that they can add services to their care plan (personal care, wellness services, medication administration, etc.) when they are ready. This is very different than a Nursing Home.
In most assisted living communities, there is usually a base rental rate per month that you pay that includes a host of amenities (such as meals, utilities, cable, transportation, housekeeping) and you can pay extra for nursing services. Assisted living care is more expensive than independent senior living but oftentimes more affordable than long term care.
Memory care living, like assisted living care, is a rental apartment in an environment with specialized personal care and health services for those with memory loss or dementia.
These communities should have a higher ratio of staff to residents. The environment and programs should be specially designed to enhance the life of someone living with memory loss or dementia.
Individuals that may benefit from a memory care center are those that are at risk of becoming disoriented or leaving the building and getting lost. Memory care living is also beneficial for those who need frequent reassurance and redirection in a more supportive, structured environment, and programming.
It’s important to know that individuals living with memory loss or dementia need a lot more stimulation in order to live a better quality of life. A memory care center is significantly more expensive than assisted living.
Enhanced Assisted Living
Enhanced assisted living, also known as care suites or enhanced care, is 24-hour health care within a home-like setting for those needing advanced care planning, both short term, and long term. They usually charge by the day which includes 3 meals/day, housekeeping, and a package of care services designed specifically for your needs.
It is different from assisted living needs because they typically have a higher staffing ratio and provide care comparable to a nursing home.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
Skilled nursing facilities, also known as long term care, care center, or “nursing homes,” has many different names but all relate to the same thing. They are licensed healthcare facilities that are inspected and regulated by the MN Department of Health.
Skilled nursing facilities offer long term and short term senior care for people who need rehabilitation services after illness or injury. Short term senior care is also commonly known as transitional care (which we also have). Skilled nursing facilities offer long-term care for those who suffer from more serious or chronic health issues that are too complicated to be managed at home or in an assisted living setting. Nursing is available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. Many skilled nursing facilities will also accept Medical Assistance as complete payment.
But I want to live at home?
No worries, we want you to make decisions that best fit YOUR lifestyle. There are care options for those who want to be at home.
Home care means services are typically medically driven and provided by Registered Nurses, Home Health Aides, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, or Social Workers at the home. There is also Fairview Lifeline that can help.
Adult Day Programs and Clubs – Adult day programs perform two important functions:
- They provide socialization, services, and programs for older adults needing more cognitive support
- They offer caregivers a break during the workweek.
Adult day programs are designed for older adults who live at home but would benefit from:
- Scheduled activities during the workweek
- Supervision during the day
- Socialization and specialized programming
- Daily exercise program
Stay by the Day
Stay by the day helps ease the transition back into daily life after an illness, hospital stay, or surgery; or provides a short term break for a caregiver.
Some communities offer stay by the day apartments. These furnished apartments are available for rent typically with a minimum of 7 days to a maximum of 30 days stay. Some use it to “try it on for size,” and get to know assisted living communities without the commitment.
What should I be looking for in a new community?
Some important aspects to consider are:
- Medical Services
- Activities Going On
- Genuine Care and Concern
- Thoughtful Programming
The list could go on and but here are three pieces of advice:
- Make a checklist of everything that is truly important to you, things that you value, and find someone who will help you get all of them.
- Be careful of Referral Agencies that don’t cost you money (there’s a reason they don’t). Research how senior housing referral agencies get paid and if they send you ALL of the senior living options available to you or just the ones they have contracts with.
- Lastly, make sure you know the answer to “What happens when…..” (I can no longer get care here, I run out of money, etc.)
Funding Options Available to Me
When considering senior care options, the ability to afford the costs is one of the top concerns. We understand that everyone’s finances are different but our senior housing specialists are happy to show you available options:
- Social Security Income
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Life Insurance Policies
- Savings, Checking, CDs, Bonds, and Other Investments
- Personal Loans and Lines of Credit
- Real Estate
- Antiques, Collectibles, Jewelry, and other Personal Property
- Assistance from Loved Ones – Tuck away your guilt or shame, it’s okay to ask for help.
- Sharing an Apartment
- Veterans Benefits
- Tax Deductions
- Government Assistance Programs (such as Elderly Waiver, CADI Waiver)
Community & State Resources Available
With all of the support that Ebenezer Communities can provide, it’s important to know that there are many states and senior care/housing resources that you have access to. Here are a few:
- Local Senior Living Communities
- Minnesota Board of Aging
- ACT on Alzheimer’s
- MN Government Assistance Programs for Seniors
- City Officials and Departments
- Senior Linkage Line
- A state-run program that helps inform people about local resources and senior care options. Completely FREE and non-biased.
- Move Management Specialists
- They will help create a plan with you prior to moving, pack up all belongings, and move you to a new location in the way that YOU want. We’re happy to refer a few that we’ve worked with if you’re in need of this.
- Senior Real Estate Specialists
- Aid in selling your home and specialize in working with older adults. We’re happy to refer a few that we’ve worked with if you’re in need of this.
- Estate Sales
- Help sort out the “stuff” that you do not want to bring with and sell it for you. We’re happy to refer a few that we’ve worked with if you’re in need of this.
- Veterans Assistance
- Aid in helping vets understand what benefits and program they may be eligible to receive and walk through the process with them.
Contact Orchards For More Information or A Tour Today