“You get it what you paid.”
(my European Grandmother’s version of “You get what you paid for.”)
You’ve seen the sales pitches about America’s assisted living facilities. Seniors can flourish in bright, cheery alternatives to nursing homes and live out their golden years securely, monitored by medical professionals who tend to their every need.
The business of assisted living paints a depressingly different picture, according to a provocative new documentary from PBS Frontline airing this Tuesday night, accompanied by a series from ProPublica that is being published this week.
It turns out, not all is peachy keen on the Assisted Living front and I believe there is a reason for that. The fact is, more and more families are blurring the lines between assisted living centers and 24 hour skilled nursing facilities.
Based upon my feedback from many families who I meet with on a weekly basis, I believe this is by design of many assisted living facilities that intentionally mislead people into believing that their framework is as robust as a traditional nursing home and for less money.
The fact is private pay rates in assisted living centers are lower than skilled nursing facilities, because they offer far less in the way of care and nursing. Their staffing ratio of nurse/aids to residents is considerably less than you will find at a 24 hour skilled nursing facility.
I always say, Assisted Living facilities are ok when all Mom or Dad requires is some tactical support to aid in their state of independence. However, if you know that Mom and Dad require closer supervision and complete 24 hour skilled nursing care, then you are committing a travesty and injustice by placing them in an Assisted Living environment and hoping they will be adequately cared for while you save a few dollars in the process.
An equal travesty is when the Assisted Living Centers purposefully do not delineate and distinguish between their programs and those of skilled nursing homes, in order to inform and empower the consumer.
Instead of allowing the consumer to decide on a level of care for their loved one based upon a clear understanding of the differences, they attempt to mislead and obfuscate and it winds up creating a disaster not only for the family, but apparently (based upon the aforementioned) for the Assisted Living themselves.
The State of Ignorance is often a long drive from the State of bliss (my own line, hope you like it!).