ALL THE A’S FOR YOUR GOOD Q’S.
Just started looking into CCRCs (continuing care retirement communities) and other options for senior living? There’s a wealth of good information below to help you make an informed decision.
On the other hand, if you’re well down the path to knowing what you want, and you know of resources that could benefit others, please don’t hesitate to share them with us, and we’ll add them below.
INDEPENDENT LIVING FAQ
IF I CAN STAY IN MY HOME, WHY IS INDEPENDENT LIVING BETTER?
Living alone may result in low social interaction, which is proven to be extremely hard on your health. On the other hand, a senior living community like PineCrest offers a community of friends, a socially active setting and a host of enriching programs. Tired of cooking? Get your meals made to order by our fine dining staff. Family worried about you? Let them know the staff’s watching you and the community 24/7, so you’re safe.
CAN MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND GRANDCHILDREN VISIT?
Always! And guests are more than welcome to enjoy recreational facilities, dining, amenities and activities with you. They can stay in your home, and we also have guest rooms you can reserve and rent for your family and friends.
PETS ARE ALLOWED?
Of course! Pets are family, too! This is a pet-friendly campus and we welcome cats, dogs, fish and birds upon approval. When you visit, ask about the pet policy and approval process, and put your mind at ease.
WILL I BE ABLE TO HAVE A VOICE IN MY OWN COMMUNITY?
Absolutely! We always encourage residents to be participants in our Resident Council. You can actively participate in important decisions that affect activities, outings, dining, programming, and more.
SINCE I’M HEALTHY, WHY SHOULD I PAY FOR A CONTINUUM OF CARE?
None of us can predict tomorrow, and if you were to live out your days in your Independent Living apartment home without ever needing long-term care, you’d be a fortunate person. However, if you develop medical needs that can’t be met by your Independent Living community, you would have to move into a care center and pay the market rate, which can be surprisingly high. The monthly cost for Skilled Nursing, for example, averages between $4,502 and $7,604 in this area, plus the costs of the move, at a time when your body (and your family) is already stressed. Ask yourself how much peace of mind is worth to you.
ASSISTED LIVING OR SKILLED NURSING? HOW DO I KNOW WHERE MY LOVED ONE BELONGS?
Regardless of whether your loved one may need more assistance than Independent Living can provide, it’s always wise to start with a physician’s exam. After abilities to meet daily living and medical needs have been assessed, our professional team is better able to advise you, as well as provide information, answer questions, and help you determine the best decision for you and your family.
HOW ACTIVE AND INDEPENDENT ARE ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENTS?
Very! Many Assisted Living residents are quite independent, but simply need assistance with a daily task or two (or more), which typically range from taking medication to bathing, dressing and/or help with meals, housekeeping, transportation and other everyday routines. A trained, licensed nurse and certified nurse aides are available 24/7 to provide the custom-tailored support that helps your loved one preserve an active lifestyle filled with friends, activities and family.
WHO PROVIDES SKILLED NURSING AT PINECREST?
Compassionate professional support is provided from licensed medical professionals including RNs (registered nurses), LPNs (licensed professional nurses), certified nurse aides and certified medication aides. Residents who require intensive therapies to manage well-being and health also receive custom programs that preserve their dignity and encourage maximum social interaction.
WHO WILL BE INVOLVED IN MY REHABILITATION?
Short-term Rehabilitation is for those who need greater care while recovering from a hospital stay, and those recovering from illness, injury, surgery or stroke. Your team will include a doctor, nurse, social worker and dietician, together with therapists who will provide care, guide the rehabilitation process, and work in partnership with you and your family members.
DO THE PATIO AND APARTMENT HOMES COME FURNISHED?
No. Bring treasured furniture and belongings or start fresh with all-new pieces to be completely comfortable. In short, you’re free to furnish and decorate the way you wish.
ARE THERE ACTIVITIES TO FILL THE DAYS?
Absolutely! Life-enriching amenities and services abound throughout the community and fill the activity calendar, plus each day provides opportunities for new friendships through activities, socials and entertainment.
CAN I GET “OUT AND ABOUT”?
Yes! For physician visits and other needs, we offer private transportation services. In addition, there are frequent opportunities for dining, group shopping and entertainment excursions to all kinds of popular venues off campus.
HOW MUCH DOES ASSISTED LIVING COST? WHO PAYS FOR IT?
In Lufkin, Assisted Living is figured monthly and can range from $2,500-$5,500, depending on the care received and the apartment chosen. Care is usually paid for by the resident, but can be partially offset by veterans benefits and/or long-term insurance, depending on the policy.
WHAT IF MY LOVED ONE NEEDS MORE HELP THAN ASSISTED LIVING CAN PROVIDE?
That’s when the true benefits of life in a CCRC (continuous care retirement community) become evident. In addition to Assisted Living, we provide round-the-clock care for residents in Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehab. These neighborhoods are usually for those recovering from illness, injury or surgery; or who simply need more long-term supervision or support.
IS MEMORY SUPPORT SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT FROM ASSISTED LIVING?
It’s quite different, for several reasons and in several ways. The Memory Support staff are specially trained professionals who work together with the resident and their family to create structure, familiar surroundings and consistent daily schedules. The Memory Support environment must be completely secure and uniquely safe, yet one that stimulates response, promotes purpose and celebrates accomplishments. From dining to activities to staff training, care provided at PineCrest is designed to meet the needs of each resident with compassion and highly specialized care, recognizing that memory loss – whether from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia – affects not just the resident, but their family, too.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functions (thinking, reasoning, the ability to remember) that are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. Dementia itself isn’t a disease, though it often accompanies diseases like Alzheimer’s. Dementia is irreversible when caused by disease or certain injuries. It may be partially or fully reversible when caused by drugs, alcohol, depression or imbalances in substances such as hormones or vitamins. In contrast, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. It affects women more than men and is responsible for 60%-80% of dementia (WebMD et al.).
HOW IS THE MEMORY SUPPORT STAFFING DIFFERENT?
It may seem odd, but the compassionate staff member who provides Memory Support services is gifted with a certain knack. That is, carefully selected and trained, each Memory Support staff member is, of course, highly person-centered, observant and focused. But beyond that, we look for a warmhearted temperament, together with exceptional patience, gentleness, and a passion for consistently providing dignified and respectful care.
WHAT’S LONG-TERM SKILLED NURSING?
It’s the treatment of acute illness. When a senior’s medical needs have progressed to where they can’t be met at home or in outpatient care, Skilled Nursing is the practical financial solution. Typically, Skilled Nursing includes a host of medical professionals and therapists delivering a resident-specific program of health services, 24/7. It’s worth noting that Short-term Rehabilitation is a specialized Skilled Nursing service, and although it stands on its own, it’s often housed within the walls – or adjacent to the walls – of the Skilled Nursing residences.
WHAT STAFF MEMBERS COMPRISE SKILLED NURSING STAFF?
Staff members include RNs (registered nurses), nurse practitioners, a full-time life enrichment coordinator, a consultant dietitian and a variety of certified specialists. Skilled Nursing, both short- and long-term, is provided on site at PineCrest.
HOW IS SKILLED NURSING CHARGED? WHO PAYS FOR IT?
Skilled Nursing is charged by the day, and is usually paid for by one or by a combination of: Medicare, Medicaid, supplementary insurance(s), veterans benefits and long-term insurance (depending on the policy). In Lufkin, the daily rates can range from $150-$300/day, depending on care provided and room selected.
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED?
To make the most effective treatment plan ASAP, please provide this information when you come:
- Health insurance, with policy numbers of private medical insurance, prescription plan, Medicare/Medicaid, long-term care insurance, plus vision and dental (if applicable).
- Medical information, with doctor and pharmacy contact, medical diagnoses, allergies and drug sensitivities, health history, and a health event log with hospitalizations, surgeries and major health events (if any).
- Medications, including (for each) the name, dosage, how and when to take it, why it was prescribed, start and stop dates, whether monitoring is required, the doctor who prescribed it and if there are any side effects.
- If you hold the patient’s Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, bring a copy. If you have a copy of their advance medical directives, such as a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) or a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form (POLST), please bring it.
HOW ARE MY PT, OT, ST AND OTHER THERAPIES COORDINATED?
Your physiatrist is key to coordinating physical, occupational and speech therapies and ensuring that your recovery is integrated and moving at the right speed to keep you properly challenged on all fronts. Your team also includes its diagnosing physician, a nurse, social worker, dietician (in-patient only), all your therapists and – as much as they want to be involved and can be helpful – select family members.
DOES MY LOVED ONE NEED SHORT-TERM REHABILITATION? HOW DO I KNOW?
If a resident needs IV antibiotic therapy, has had surgery or for any other reason is coming from the hospital, a short-term stay in Rehabilitation is an appropriate and safe transition to a slightly lower level of nursing care. In these cases, residents often successfully transition either back home with Home Health care or to an Assisted Living apartment at PineCrest.
WHAT TYPES OF THERAPY DO YOU OFFER?
Physical therapy, to help you regain strength, mobility and balance. Occupational therapy, aimed at improving the ability to perform everyday tasks. Speech therapy, to enhance communication and eating or swallowing skills. Other specialties, including 24/7 Skilled Nursing, certified IV therapy, Respite, Whole-person Wellness and Wound care.
HOW ARE OT (OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND PT (PHYSICAL THERAPY) DIFFERENT?
They’re both similar in that they help restore mobility and strength. However, where PT focuses on your reacquisition of muscles, joints, limbs and ultimately mobility, OT is focused on helping you adapt to your social and physical environment through retraining for tasks (e.g., dressing, bathing and eating), activities for memory and cognition, and exercises to reduce the effects of arthritis or other conditions.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ST (SPEECH THERAPY)?
In addition to communication issues such as relearning to speak following a head injury, our skilled speech and language pathologists address swallowing dysfunction, a major concern that can emerge with aging. Treatment plans are designed to reflect the resident’s specific language abilities, give precise alternate communication strategies and, when appropriate, even provide diet recommendations.
HOW OFTEN DOES A RESIDENT RECEIVE REHAB THERAPY?
Each treatment plan is individualized to address a specific condition need for rehab, based on the attending physician’s certification. Following admission, the therapy team meets to review the treatment plan and recommend an appropriate service schedule. A healthy 60-year-old post-op woman (say, following a knee replacement) may be prescribed an hour of physical and occupational therapy every day, 6 times per week, for 3 weeks. In contrast, a frail 80-year-old man who has had the same surgery might recover more slowly, and a schedule of 20 minutes per day, alternating PT and OT, may be more appropriate. Regardless, the therapists will all work closely with the most important person on the team: you.
WHO PAYS FOR SHORT-TERM REHABILITATION?
Often, the answer is a combination of private Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid – with any balance becoming the resident’s responsibility. Insurance options for long-term and short-term care can be confusing. It is important to review your Rehab plan carefully to determine what your private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid will cover, and what portion you will be billed for. If you are having trouble navigating your plan and coverages, PineCrest case managers are here to help.
HAVING A PAS (PERSONAL ASSISTANCE SERVICE) ATTENDANT AT HOME WITH MY MOTHER IS ALL THE HELP SHE NEEDS, EXCEPT FOR HELP WITH HER PILLS. CAN’T HER PAS DO THIS?
Yes and no. A PAS is not a nurse and is prohibited from dispensing medications – but she can, however, help your mother remember to take her own medications and observe that the dosing schedule is correctly followed.
DOES MEDICARE COVER HOME HEALTH SERVICES?
Confirm with Medicare, but your Medicare health insurance is likely to cover home care options related to surgical recovery or a stay in the hospital. That can include wound care, medication management and physical therapy.