By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
The comments about assisted living that were in a story on “Can the CLASS Act be Saved” that ran in the LifeCycles section of The Washington Times on Monday, May 30, cannot go unchallenged.
Writer Laurie Edwards-Tate contends there is one issue that should transcend individual politics on which we all should agree.
In her opinion, it is far more humane and cost-effective for us to take care of people in need of some help to maintain their independence with home health care services for as long as possible rather than in an “acute care setting like assisted living or a nursing home.”
I fully agree with the idea of providing services to help older adults achieve and maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible and with providing those services in their home as opposed to a nursing home.
I do not in any way agree with labeling assisted living as an acute care setting and with the assumptions that home health care services delivered in the house, condo, townhome or rental apartment where the older adult currently is living are automatically more humane and more cost-effective than assisted living.
A few quick comments and then I will let residents and family members from some of the affordable assisted living communities that we manage do the talking.
Residents furnish and decorate their apartments with their own furniture and to their tastes.
Residents come and go as they please.
Residents not only get the personal assistance and help with medications they need, but also benefit from a wealth of opportunities to socialize and participate in social and recreational programs and activities.
The cost of assisted living often can be equal to or less than the cost of home health care services, especially when you consider all of the other living expenses associated with living in and maintaining a house, condo or townhome. A 2010 Met Life Survey pegs the average base cost of a private apartment in assisted living at $3,293 a month. The average cost for a homemaker was $19 an hour and for a home health aide was $21 an hour. The cost for a homemaker just three to four hours a day, five days a week would be between $1,140 and $1,520 a month. For a home health aide, the cost would be between $1,260 and $1,680 a month. These figures for in-home care do not include any other living expenses.
As for residents and their families of assisted living communities that we manage, here is what they have to say:
Mom needed to move because of her health. Leaving the house where she lived for the past 30 years was by no means an easy decision. There was no way she wanted to move to a nursing home. Fortunately, the assisted living community she selected was anything but a nursing home.
Back in the day, Robert Kampf drove stock cars on the track in Schiller Park, Illinois, that once stood across the street from what is now O’Hare Airport. At the age of 57, he suffered a stroke. For ten years, he was bounced around from nursing home to nursing home was even put into a secured Memory Care unit at one facility because there was no long-term Medicaid bed available. His move to the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that we manage in Bolingbrook, Illinois, has put Robert back in the driver’s seat. He once again has the freedom to do whatever he wants. “Sure enough, I like it,” he says. “It is much better than a nursing home.”
Phyllis Kelley moved to the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that we manage in DeKalb, Illinois, from independent senior housing for more security and three meals a day as she was not eating right. She still works two days a week as the County Historian. “For the first time in many years, I sleep through the night.”
Ilene “Ike” Sanders moved into a Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community after her husband passed away. She found it difficult living alone. Since making the move, she says that she has experienced a big positive change in her life just from the friends she has made and being able to eat with others. “I couldn’t be happier. It sure beats living alone.”
Mary Klepitsch moved into a Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community with her husband, Fred. “It saved my sanity. I didn’t have to worry about Fred when I was out and I wasn’t alone dealing with life.”
Ed Duy moved into a Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community after rehabilitating from a broken hip. He could no longer live in his house because of all the stairs. “I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he says.
Nancee Jones moved in after breaking her knee. “I really like doing things with others and especially enjoy doing things for others. I’m so happy here I don’t know how to put it in words.”
Do you think you would hear these types of comments from people living in a cold institutional acute-care setting? Does it sound like these folks are living a lifestyle that is less humane than if they were isolated alone in a house or apartment?
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