Senior Living Most Frequently Asked Questions

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What is assisted living?

Assisted living communities offer the best of both worlds. Residents have their own apartments and live an independent lifestyle. Caregiving staff is on the property allowing seniors to receive the support they need when they need it. In the Los Angeles area, caregivers are licensed to offer assistance with activities of daily life such as bathing, grooming, medication management, mobility and incontinence care. Residents enjoy a worry-free existence with meals, housekeeping, laundry, transportation and a plethora of activities provided.

What is the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living?

Nursing homes existed long before assisted living and were born out of the need to provide round the clock medical care for older adults who could not be cared for at home. While assisted living typically has 24/7 access to nursing care, the focus is on providing a socially active residential community for older adults. Residents with more complicated medical needs, such as chronic wound care or complex illnesses may have to live in a nursing home. But for most seniors, the activities of daily life can be cared for in the non-medical setting of an assisted living community.

What is the difference between an assisted living facility and a board and care home?

In California, board and care homes are assisted living facilities with the same Residential Care For the Elderly (RCFE) license as the larger communities. The difference is that board and care homes are licensed for a maximum of six residents and can be located in residential neighborhoods. Seniors who live in board and care homes generally have higher care needs or are in the mid-to-late stages of dementia.

How much does assisted living cost?

Los Angeles is a big, sprawling metropolis and, accordingly, there is a wide spectrum of prices. Costs depend on location, size of unit, amenities and care needs. In LA, board and care homes are generally less expensive than the larger assisted living buildings that offer resort style living with dining rooms, movie theaters and off-site activities. On the low end, it is possible to find a nice, clean and safe board and care home in the $2500/month range inclusive of meals and care in the San Fernando Valley. On the high end, two bedroom apartments on the Westside of Los Angeles can run as much as $20,000/month.

What kind of contract do I sign?

All assisted living and memory care communities licensed by the State of California as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) operate on a month-to-month rental basis. No long term contract is required. A resident can move with 30 days notice to the provider.

Can I bring my own furniture to assisted living?

Absolutely! This is your home. Residents are encouraged to bring their furniture, and often have the opportunity to paint and in other ways decorate their space.

What's the benefit of using Assisted Living Locators rather than doing it myself?

You can try to find the right senior living community on your own but why spend all that time when Assisted Living Locators can expertly and quickly point you in the right direction? There are hundreds of places in the Los Angeles area. It is our full-time job to know the best independent, assisted living and memory care properties in Los Angeles and to help you find the one that is best fitted to your particular needs.

How does Assisted Living Locators get paid?

We work with a carefully vetted, comprehensive roster of the most reputable communities and homes in Los Angeles. Our job is to be your advocate and guide to evaluating the best fit for you or your loved one. Once there is a move into one of our recommended communities, we receive a referral fee from them.

Do the communities charge extra to accommodate Assisted Living Locator’s fees?

No. Contractually, they are not allowed to and, in fact, depend on us to bring them qualified residents. It is often the case that you may get better pricing when you work with us because of the volume of business we do.

What area(s) does Assisted Living Locators cover?

The Los Angeles office covers L.A. from Burbank and Glendale through Beverly Hills to Culver City, Westwood and on to the Santa Monica beach communities. We also service the San Fernando Valley south of Ventura Blvd in communities like Sherman Oaks and Encino. Assisted Living Locators has additional offices in SoCal covering Ventura County, Santa Clarita, the San Gabriel Valley, and the Inland Empire.

Are pets allowed at assisted living communities?

Los Angeles loves its pets! And in LA,more and more communities are accepting residents with cats and dogs. Often a pet fee will be required upon move-in. Some assisted living communities will only allow cats, while others will allow cats and dogs, usually with a weight limit. In most communities, residents must be able to completely care for their pets themselves.

Does Medicare or Medi-Cal pay for assisted living?

Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t help finance assisted living. The Medicare program pays for health care expenses in hospital and medical settings. In general, Medi-Cal, the California version of Medicaid, pays for room and board only when they are offered in an institution that provides skilled care (like a nursing home), and it does not generally pay for room and board expenses in assisted living facilities. California's Medi-Cal runs a pilot called the Assisted Living Waiver program which does pay for some seniors to live in assisted living.

Do you work with Medi-Cal patients?

In some instances, we work with Medi-Cal clients, but the majority of our business is private pay. If you are on Medi-Cal or want to find out whether you would qualify for the Assisted Living Waiver program, please contact helpinghandsla.org at 818-279-6580.

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