Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are a relatively new option in the continuum of care for seniors. The concept emerged in the 1990’s as an alternative for those whom independent living was not appropriate but did not require the 24 hour medical care provided in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Many people still have the misconception that Assisted Living is similar to nursing home care. Assisted Living is not only a home-like setting for seniors to safely age in place, but a philosophy of care that promotes dignity and independence.
Another misconception that many seniors have is that they cannot afford the cost of Assisted Living. While ALF’s are not inexpensive, a senior with modest assets, who plans appropriately, can afford to live in Assisted Living. Furthermore, many facilities in New Jersey allow Medicaid to cover the cost of care when a resident runs out of assets. Most ALF’s and every newly constructed ALF in New Jersey is required to have 10% Medicaid beds. Due to the small number of available Medicaid beds, most facilities have a waiting list for these beds. There is no guarantee that there will be a Medicaid bed available when the resident is eligible to apply. Once approved, the resident will be required to pay their income to the facility with Medicaid covering the balance.
Goldberg Law Group has helped many families plan for this process by securing valuable government benefits such as the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefit that ranges between $1,149 and $2,120 per month in additional non-taxable income. Often times this benefit can be the difference between a senior being able to afford to live in an ALF or being cared for at home by a family member.
Assisted Living is an excellent option for seniors who wish to remain independent but require a safe, secure environment that has social activities and programs to keep them engaged in living. Any family considering Assisted Living should plan ahead of time to ensure their affairs are in order and that their money is well spent.