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Senior Living or Assisted Living

1. What is Senior Living/Assisted Living?

Senior Living/Assisted Living is the long-term care option that combines housing, support services, and health care as needed and when needed. It typically assists seniors who need a level of assistance higher than that of an independent community, but not as extensive as a nursing home or hospital. Senior Living/Assisted Living facilities provide an independent lifestyle with customized assistance. You may also hear the terms “personal care”, “assisted living” and "senior living" used interchangeably.
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2. How Does Senior Living/Assisted Living Differ from Other Levels of Care?

Senior Living/Assisted Living communities offer a unique combination independent living and care. Unlike nursing homes and other medical facilities, Senior Living/Assisted Living facilities allow elders to maintain a sense of independence and involvement in a social community, while at the same time provide the assistance with daily life and peace of mind that comes with a professional support team.
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3. How do I know if Senior Living/Assisted Living is the right option for my family member? 
This is appropriate for someone who needs some level of assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing or transportation.  They are medically stable and do not require the intervention or monitoring of an acute condition by  a registered nurse 24 hours a day.

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4. How are Senior Living/Assisted Living Communities Regulated & Licensed?

Regulations and licensure requirements vary from state to state. Most providers and their staff have specialized ongoing training based on standards of care established by their community. Some states require special training and staff certification. Communities must comply with local building codes and fire safety regulations.
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5. Are Senior Living/Assisted Living Services Tax-Deductible?

Residents, family members, and others who pay for an individual's care in a community can, in most cases, file the entire monthly cost of Senior Assisted Living as a tax-deductible medical expense. Under HIPAA, expenses can be tax-deductible if such services are provided pursuant to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health-care practitioner, and the personal care services are required by a person who: is unable to perform at least two activities of daily living, or has severe cognitive impairment and requires supervision to protect self and others from health and safety threats.We cannot provide tax advice but encourage you to talk with a personal tax advisor, tax preparer, or the IRS for information about your specific needs.
Details are available in two IRS documents: Tax Topic 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses) and Publication 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses PDF). Go to www.irs.gov.
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6. What are Veterans Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits?

Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid to veterans and/or their spouses.

A veteran may be eligible for A&A when:

  • The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,
  • The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR, 
  • The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
  • The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
  • Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like A&A, Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension.
  • A veteran may be eligible for Housebound benefits when:
  • The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, he/she is permanently and substantially confined to his/her immediate premises, OR,
  • The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling.
  • A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
  •  A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
  • How to Apply for Aid and Attendance and Housebound:
  • You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA regional office having jurisdiction of the claim. That would be the office where you filed a claim for pension benefits. If the regional office of jurisdiction is not known, you may file the request with any VA regional office.
  • You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.
  • The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.
  • In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
    Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the individual gets around, where the individual goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day.

For more information visit contact one of our community resources or visit http://www.canhr.org/factsheets/misc_fs/html/fs_aid_&_attendance.htm

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7. Who is Best Suited for a Senior Assisted Living Community?

Senior Assisted Living communities are suited for residents who need assistance in their daily lives, including preparing their meals, facilitating transportation, maintaining their homes, assisting with hygiene, and managing their medication. Senior Assisted Living facilities are also good options for some residents living with disorders such as Alzheimer’s, as well as mobility limitations, incontinence, or other conditions common in one’s senior years.
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8. How Important is it to Find Out About a Community’s Philosophy of Care?

It should be an integral part of your decision-making process. When making a major life decision such as choosing a Senior Assisted Living community, it’s important to be an informed consumer. Be sure that as a resident you’ll be afforded respect, privacy, religious freedom, the right to voice grievances should they arise, maintenance of your personal finances, and control over health care decisions. Additionally, inquire about internal regulations regarding pets, alcohol, smoking, and other quality of life issues, to see if they correspond with your personal preferences. At IntegraCare, our mission is the foundation of everything we do.  It is what distinguishes our communities from the rest.
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9. How does Senior Living/Assisted Living differ from a nursing home?

A typical community’s residents are in their 70s and 80s. While they require help with some daily activities such as housekeeping or need reminders to take medications, residents of Senior Living/Assisted Living communities are more self-sufficient than individuals in nursing homes. Structured activities are also a feature of Senior Living/Assisted Living communities. These can include, for example, group outings, guest lecturers or social and recreational events.
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10. What kind of environment can I expect at a Senior Living/Assisted Living community?

Each community has its own character resulting from design and location choices. Housing options may also vary.  Communities share a common goal of providing maximum independence in a safe, residential setting with individualized care and assistance. Residents can expect many opportunities for social interaction with family and life-long friends as well as new neighbors. Programs and amenities will vary by community.

Residences may be part of a retirement community, nursing home or elderly housing facility. Whatever the setting, Assisted Living offers the opportunity for residents to continue living as independently as possible with the benefit of a readily available support system.
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11. Where can I turn for more information?
There are a number of different sources that are available to those seeking senior housing options and serve as a great resource when making a senior housing selection. Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), Maryland Assisted Living Association(MALA), and Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association (PALA) are a few.
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12. How will we know when it’s time to relocate to a Senior Living/Assisted Living residence?

If you are considering Senior Assisted Living for you, a family member or friend, we invite you to experience one of our communities. Our knowledgeable move in team will answer all of your questions. Please call one of our communities to arrange an appointment today.
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13. Are suites/apartments rented or purchased?

The suites/apartments are all for rental, not purchase. This avoids the burden of substantial up-front investments and the uncertainties of purchasing real estate.
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14. Do residents manage their own medications?

Residents can manage their own medications; however, the staff can also play an active role in reminding and assuring that the residents adhere to their medication treatments or the staff in assisted living and memory care can provide medication administration. Each new resident is checked to determine which option is safest.
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15. If my family member becomes weaker or develops more medical concerns do we need to move to a different location?

Our goal is to have each resident remain in their suite/apartment for as long as possible. Before you or your family member moves, the community leadership team will first analyze what is causing the resident’s condition to change and then take measures to try to improve his/her health. If it is determined the resident’s condition will not improve then we will review alternative supportive options with the family. It is our goal to keep residents in the least restrictive environment to maintain their independence. We work closely with the residents, families, and physicians to accomplish our mission and improve overall quality of life.


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16. How long is the lease agreement and do I have to pay an endowment fee prior to moving in?

The lease agreement is only a month-to-month agreement. We know how quickly things can change with family situations and we want to make any future changes are hassle free. A substantial endowment or move in fee is not required at IntegraCare communities.
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17. Can my family member receive physical, occupational and/or speech therapy? How is this billed.

We have licensed therapy services available. This is billed through Medicare and your supplemental insurance on an outpatient basis.
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IntegraCare Corporation

6600 Brooktree Court
Suite 1000
Wexford, PA 15090

Phone: (724) 940-5544
Fax: (724) 940-5511