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By Guest Author:  Jane Walters

Assisted living in New York is a reliable choice for your elderly loved one. All New York assisted living residences are legally required to provide housing, 24-hour monitoring, daily meals, and personal care services for their residents, and costs an average of $4,100 per month, according to Senior Homes. When choosing a facility for your loved one, it’s important to do your research and consider several different factors. Fortunately, as you expand your knowledge, the right decision to make soon becomes clear.

  1. Consider finances 

Assisted living is paid for privately either by the resident or his or her family. If you need help covering the costs, look into a long-term insurance plan. In some cases, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can help.  Medicare doesn’t pay for assisted living.  However, in New York, there are assisted living facilities in almost every county that accept Medicaid payment.  So, if you qualify for Community Medicaid, you can obtain assisted living care and have it paid for by Medicaid.  Ask the facility if it participates in Medicaid’s “ALP” program.  Also, you may want to seek the advice of an Elder Law attorney about qualifying for Community Medicaid and the ALP program.

  1. Consider cleanliness and hygiene

It’s important the facility is clean and well-kept to make sure your senior stays healthy and happy. The New York State Department of Health inspects assisted living facilities every 12 to 18 months and renews licenses every two years. If, however, there are repeated instances of violating New York’s laws and regulations, the facility is placed on a “do not refer” list. When visiting the facility, take a careful look at the kitchen, in particular, to ensure it looks clean and hygienic. The facility must provide residents with three meals per day and an evening snack in compliance with the dietary allowances defined by the National Academy of Science’s Food and Nutrition Board.

  1. Consider future needs

While it’s important to be optimistic about your loved one’s health, it’s just as important to be realistic. Meet with your doctor to discuss where your senior’s at right now and the different types of support they may need in the future. Choose a facility which can cater to both current and potential future needs as your loved one ages. In New York, assisted living facilities are legally required to assist with personal care, such as toileting, bathing, grooming, dressing, or eating; housekeeping (cleaning and laundry); and medication assistance (reading labels and opening bottles).

  1. Read the fine print

While New York assisted living contracts are fairly simple, they may include complicated legalese or price increases which may surprise you later on. Make sure you understand the price structure. Some communities have an all-inclusive price for room, board, and care, while others charge separate fees. If you have any concerns about the contract, consult an Elder Law attorney for advice.

  1. Be vigilant against fraud

The Division of Criminal Justice Services conducts a criminal history records check, including fingerprinting, of all non-licensed, prospective employees of an assisted living residence. However, it also pays to watch out for signs of theft to protect your loved one. Signs of theft may include borrowing money without repaying, using credit cards without permission, or opening or adding their name to bank accounts without your senior’s permission. Make sure financial and legal paperwork, credit cards, income statements, and valuable assets are stored in a safe, secure location.

These tips will help you find a great facility in New York for your loved one. If it turns out, however, your senior’s not in the right place, it’s okay to move them. Switching to a more suitable facility is a better option to staying somewhere unable to meet their needs long term.

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