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Housing Options for Seniors
Because more than one facility may provide the services desired, take time to familiarize yourself with what's available. Once you have determined which services best suit your needs, you may wish to review our Facility Checklist adapted from the Colorado Gerontological Society's "A Guide For Visiting". Note: The 2012-13 edition of the Senior Answers and Services Senior Resource Guidebook contains a complete list of facilities in Colorado and may be ordered online or by contacting our offices at 303-333-3482.
Independent Living Facilities for Low Income Persons
Designed to provide low cost housing for the disabled or those over the age of 62, independent living facilities provide housing only, although some may offer transportation, recreation, and support services. Residents in subsidized facilities are normally expected to pay one third of their monthly income in compensation to the facility.
Designed to provide a complete lifestyle for those of retirement age, retirement communities offer private living facilities with support services ranging from meals, health care monitoring, transportation to and from appointments; linen service and weekly housecleaning; and educational and entertainment services. Costs vary.
Assisted Living Residences
Licensed as personal care boarding homes, residents in assisted living must normally be ambulatory. They offer private or semi-private living quarters, complemented by a variety of services that include meals, monitoring of medications, transportation and recreational activities. Some may provide help with bathing and dressing on a daily basis. These services may be available for an extra charge.
Individuals not able to pay for services may be eligible for financial assistance through Medicaid. Not all facilities accept Medicaid. Assisted living units are licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Annual surveys are available upon request.
Nursing homes provide twenty-four hour residential skilled nursing care, coupled with personal hygiene, activities programs and social work. Many now offer specific programs for Alzheimer's and Hospice patients. In addition, most nursing homes have a rehabilitation unit (or Medicare unit) where individuals discharged from the hospital but unable to return home safely, may spend time in therapy, learning to walk or other strengthening activities. Some facilities also have sub-acute units for individuals who are in need of specialized care such as recovery after surgery. Sub-acute units specialize in providing care to individuals who have traditionally been treated in hospitals. Most facilities accept Medicare and private pay. Some accept Medicaid. All facilities are licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Copies of the annual survey are available upon request.
Visiting the Facility of Choice
Because more than one type of program may provide the services desired, personal visits should always be conducted. A review of our checklist will assist you in preparing to make this important decision. While there, remember to ask to see a copy of the last state survey for Nursing Homes and Personal Care Boarding Homes. (see sidebar) and request that the results be explained to you. Independent Living Facilities and Retirement Communities are not licensed.
Cost, type of facility, specialty care and living arrangements are also of major importance when choosing a new living arrangement. The current edition of the Senior Resource Guidebook lists nursing homes, personal care boarding homes (assisted living units), retirement communities and independent living centers. For a post paid, personal copy send $9 to Senior Answers and Services, 3006 East Colfax, Denver 80206 or call 303-333-3482.