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Can an Assisted Living Program (ALP) Help You Afford Assisted Living?

An Assisted Living Program (ALP) can help a select group of seniors afford to live in an assisted living facility (ALF).  In general, an ALP provides daily assistance with personal care services (Activity of Daily Living  and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. In short, an Assisted Living Program serves as the Medicaid program for the ALF’s.

Designed for those individuals who cannot afford the monthly rental at an ALF,   but otherwise qualify medically to live in an assisted living facility,  Assisted Living Programs are limited in availability. And not all ALF’s offer this program. However, for those individuals who qualify, an Assisted Living Program could be a tremendous resource.

Eligibility:

  • Most ALF’s designate only 10% of the apartments to ALP.
  • These ALP apartments are often full and have waiting lists.
  • Ideally, ALF’s request the individual to pay privately for 2-3 years, and then if one runs out of funds, they resident can apply for ALP. Note that this is a general guideline and changes from one ALF to another.
  • The application process for ALP is not easy, is time consuming, and there are asset qualifications.
  • Often times there needs to be a spendown of assets to the amount allowed by ALP, before an individual can qualify for ALP.

What can one do to get into an ALP program?

If an assisted living residence is the best option for yourself or a family member, there are resources available to help you decide if this program would be appropriate.

  • Research the Assisted Living Program requirements by state and city. Most states have an Executive Office of Health and Human Services website that provides information on the ALP program.
  • Contact an assisted living placement service such as Assisted Living Nationwide to find out the best option in your desired location. Since ALP is a complex issue, industry professionals are usually the best resource. At Assisted Living Nationwide, there is no charge to the elder or family for consultations or services.
  • Consult an elder law attorney or a geriatric care manager who specializes in ALP.

Keep in mind there are many choice in residences for seniors today. It’s important to find the right solution based upon the individual’s needs, financial constraints, desired location and physical condition. Yes, finding the right living option is a complicated process, but talking to qualified professionals is the first step in making the best decision.

What You Need to Know About Food at Assisted Living Facilities

The food at assisted living facilities is always a prime topic of conversation. Historically, assisted living facilities offered basic dishes with few choices. The good news: today’s assisted livings are focusing on healthy meals made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Gone are the days when canned, frozen and salt-laden foods were the norm. Today, on-staff dieticians and professional trained chefs join forces to create meals that are both nutritious and delicious.

What should families expect in terms of dining options at an assisted living facility? Many feature 24 hour cafes, room service, experienced wait staff, formal dining rooms and causal gathering spaces. Holidays showcase traditional favorite foods and rituals.  Additionally, residents and families have the option of celebrating these special days at the resident’s home.

Food Plays A Key Role

Rick Weisberg, president of Assisted Living Nationwide , works with clients all across the country. He has found that food is one of the most important considerations for elders and their families. Weisberg advises clients to eat at least one meal at the assisted living prior to deciding whether to move-in. “Obviously, it makes sense to discover, first hand, the quality of the food,” notes Weisberg, “but it’s also important to observe the social interaction among the residents and the staff.”

When an elder is used to preparing his or her own food, it is definitely a transition to having to eat at specified time —  in the company of other people. But keep in mind that meal times at assisted living facilities are an integral part of the day. This is a time for all residents to come together and socially interact. And for those residents who choose not to participate in many of the scheduled activities, meals become even more important.

These days, many assisted livings pride themselves on a caliber of food service in line with a five-star hotel. The presentation of the food is as important as the taste. The menus change daily; there are amenities such as frozen yogurt machines, cappuccino offerings, make-your-own omelet bars and freshly baked cookies and cakes. Adjusting to meal times might not be such a difficult transition after all.

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