assisted living choices

When an unexpected crisis occurs, seniors and their families often have to make life-changing choices with split second decisions. Circumstances such as the death of a spouse/caregiver or a sudden health decline are both scenarios in which a swift decision must be made to find these seniors the immediate and uninterrupted support they need.

So it’s good to have some information on hand for these situations before they occur. It can be a little overwhelming, in the midst of the crisis, to begin researching what sort of services are available for those who don’t need 24/7 nursing care, but who would like the peace of mind of living in a community setting where there is access to clinical and personal care, should they need it.

For the above-mentioned needs, an assisted living residence can be the ideal solution. This is a long-term senior care option where seniors live in their own apartments and can receive personal care support services such as medication management, bathing, and dressing, in addition to meals, transportation and housekeeping. There are also opportunities for socialization through programs, events and recreational activities to ensure continued quality of life experiences. And the good news is that a quick Google search shows 40 or more such residences in Westchester County!

As one will quickly see, though, no two assisted living residences are alike. Yes, they all offer levels of clinical and personal care and the security of a community setting, but beyond that, they can differ greatly. Expect to find a range in price, accommodations (modest to opulent), location (suburban to urban) as well as additional certified programs such as memory care (for Alzheimer’s residents), enhanced care (offering a higher level of clinical care) and/or other attributes that can be deciding factors for that final selection.

In terms of the costs, most assisted living residences are private pay.  The starting monthly cost of assisted living in Westchester ranges from $1,225 to $8,000 with the average price being $5,332, according to Caring.Com. However, there are also some Assisted Living Programs (ALPS) that are funded by Medicaid.

In addition, residential memory care, in New York, adds approximately $1,150 to the monthly cost of assisted living, according to Genworth Financial: due to the increased level of care and security that dementia patients require.

The Medicaid ALPs came into existence in 1987 to help low-income seniors receive an appropriate level of custodial and clinical care in an assisted living residence rather than premature placement in a skilled nursing home setting. According to the NYS Department of Health website, there are currently three  assisted living residences in Westchester County offering a total of 275 ALP beds. 195 beds are located in Yonkers, 40 in Hawthorne and 40 in Cortlandt Manor.

Needless to say, with all the diverse options, programs and costs associated with each assisted living residence, it is important for the senior and their family to research and tour as many as possible to ensure the most optimal selection. Ideally, this is done before a situation presents itself so everyone knows what the options are and if an assisted living residence is the setting in which they see themselves when transitioning from their home.

Cathy SantaColoma

Cathy SantaColoma

Cathy SantaColoma is Director, Communications of Bethel Homes & Services, a not-for-profit organization offering a full continuum of care including: independent and assisted living; nursing; rehabilitation; adult day services; and home care. Campuses are in Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining and Valhalla; 914-739-6700.
Cathy SantaColoma

Latest posts by Cathy SantaColoma