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Assisted living homes are promoted as being the perfect accommodation option for seniors in their twilight years. Unfortunately, there are a number of significant drawbacks to living in one of these facilities — some of which are rarely mentioned.
To help you understand the risks associated with staying in an assisted living facility, here are the 9 assisted living facility secrets.
1. They Can Evict You Very Easily
All assisted living facilities have the power to evict residents at any time and for almost any reason. Most facilities have strict rules dictating the acceptable behavior of residents and if you find yourself on the wrong side of those rules you could be thrown out.
Many assisted living facilities also have health thresholds for residents — if you become too ill, they may refuse to have you on site and demand you go to a hospital or nursing home. In some cases, facilities have evicted residents because their funding source changed to Medicaid, which made them less profitable for their business.
The rules dictating who is allowed to stay at the facility are written by the administrators of the business. In most states, residents have very limited rights and are usually at the mercy of the facility.
2. Some Assisted Living Facilities Cannot Handle Degenerative Conditions
Assisted living facilities are designed to help people who can no longer live in their own home because they need some help. The level of help that is offered varies greatly. Some assisted living facilities will only provide meals while others help residents with serious degenerative conditions.
In some cases, if you are diagnosed with dementia while staying at a facility, they may simply tell you they cannot handle residents with that condition. They may ask you to leave or they may demand additional funds for a specialized caregiver.
3. They Can Change Their Fees Regularly
Assisted living homes can change their fees very quickly, giving residents as little as a few weeks’ notice. They often add new fees for services that used to be free or change the services that are included with certain packages.
4. The Quality of Care Provided Doesn’t Always Match Appearances
Many assisted living facilities are beautifully decorated and look like lovely places to live. They are designed this way so family members feel comfortable when leaving an elderly relative there — it is a marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, seniors often later discover that the quality of care does not match the aesthetics of the facility. The food is not good, there aren’t enough caregivers for the residents and they are charged additional fees for using some facilities or for additional care needs.
5. It’s All About Profit
The majority of assisted living homes are for-profit organizations. They have higher profit margins than nursing homes, which mostly receive funding from Medicaid. Those profit margins continue to increase as facilities discover new ways to maximize the amount of revenue they can obtain from patients.
Industry analysts suggest that one way these facilities increase profit is by decreasing the number of staff. This often leads to a reduction in the quality of care for residents. If there are less staff available, residents are more likely to become ill and live in unsanitary conditions.
6. They Don’t Like Accepting Medicaid As Form of Payement
If a senior runs out of money, the government begins to pick up the bill through Medicaid. When this happens the assisted living home will receive far less compensation.
Some assisted living homes demand additional payments from residents who become Medicaid-funded. In many cases, they will give the resident a certain amount of time to find additional funds or they will evict them. It can be very distressing to be forced to move away from the friends that a senior has made in a facility.
7. They Charge More For a Wide Variety of Services
Because most assisted living homes are for-profit, they are continually seeking new ways to obtain revenue from their residents. They often do this by charging more for certain services. Even simple tasks like bringing a meal to a resident’s room or helping them clean their room can require a fee.
Residents often don’t realize what they are being charge for until the end of the month when they receive the bill. If they have a severe health condition like dementia, they may find it difficult to understand why their care is costing so much. Many of these fees aren’t mentioned in the contract and the first time the resident hears about them is after they have been incurred!
8. The Quality of Dementia Care is Dubious
Some assisted living homes specialize in caring for people with neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Because the patients require a great deal of attention, the fees are typically very high for this kind of care.
Despite the high fees, there have been a number of cases where dementia patients have been kept in very poor conditions. Some patients have developed bed sores from being left in one position for too long or frequent urinary tract infections from not being taken to the toilet. While nursing homes are heavily regulated when it comes to caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, assisted living homes are not.
9. Assisted Living Homes Don’t Have a Uniform Rating System
It is easy to find reviews for nursing homes because they are so highly regulated. This is not the case with assisted living homes — in many states they are rarely inspected or rated. In most cases, the ratings they receive are not published anywhere for consumers to review. It is very difficult to tell if the assisted living home that your relative is going to will be well-run and safe.
Home Care is an Alternative to Assisted Living
Given the many downsides to assisted living, many seniors are deciding to stay in their homes as they age. Doing so gives them more control over their situation and allows them to retain their independence.
Seniors may obtain help from in-home Caregivers who can provide a wide range of non-medical home care services including assistance preparing meals, getting dressed, laundry services, domestic duties, shopping, transport to appointments, companionship and much more.
We hope you found this article on 9 assisted living facility secrets useful. If you would like to learn more about home care services, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-736-4677. We offer complimentary in-home consultations and would love to discuss the many home care services we have available.