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All You Need To Know About Group Homes

All You Need To Know About Group Homes

Heretofore, most of our options for long-term care have involved seniors living in their own separate houses or apartments, even if that means they require a home aide or are living in a second unit right below their children. That said, group homes are a departure from this category, as the name would imply.

The concept of a group home is actually used for a variety of purposes the world over. Usually, group homes suggest that the people inside are disabled or disadvantaged in some way, as with the developmentally disabled, drug addicts, and people who have been victims of abuse. Old age, it must be stressed, is not a disability; some fortunate individuals are capable of living their lives without some major problem until they die of natural causes. Still, as we well know, this is not always the case. As such, a group home may well cater to that. Some notes about group homes for seniors:

As for what exactly constitutes a group home, there are a few commonalities. Group homes are often “homes” in the sense that their structures are actual houses, often converted from a previous one- or two-family residence. As for group home inhabitants, they are qualified by being unrelated to one another; such separates a “group” from a “family.”

In terms of the origins of this definition, group homes are functions of Real Estate Law more than Elder Law or even health care. Depending on the location, these units may also be assessed minimum and maximum permitted occupancies, as per zoning laws and the like. 

What also marks a group home population is that they share a common characteristic. As mentioned above, some group homes are designed for victims of abuse, victims of self-abuse or simply those who were born with a debilitating condition. With senior homes of this sort, though, the unifying principle is usually that the inhabitants are older adults who need some amount of assistance in their everyday lives.

Thus, a group home for seniors is likely not just a living space for the makeshift housemates, but a conduit by which they may receive certain services fundamental to long-term care, including help with bathing, cooking, eating and toileting.

As is almost always a concern, payment options may be more limited with group homes than with other facilities. Compared to nursing homes, for instance, many of which are dependent on help from Medicaid and Medicare, these other homes for seniors are not held to the same set of state and federal regulations as their counterparts. Nonetheless, as many nursing home residents (and their families) must secure some sort of private health insurance, group home inhabitants may also count on some form of outside coverage plan, or simply a monthly rate which income or savings can address.

What Are Community Services

What Are Community Services

Often, certain terms can be confused under the umbrella of Elder Law, and for apparently little reason other than the tendency of many to underestimate the resiliency of older adults. Two terms that may get conflated inappropriately are “elder care” and “long-term care.” As is imaginable, there is a lot to be said for their coincidence. Elder care is a more general term for care and services that address needs particular to the geriatric population, which long-term care certainly falls under. However, and potentially obviously to some, not all aging adults require a skilled nursing facility.

 One form of elder care that does not compel elder individuals and their families to keep them in a facility at all times (save for an authorized trip outside of the building) is adult day care. Of course, most people are familiar with day care as a means of entertaining, protecting and stimulating the minds of very young children, among other things.

In many ways, though, adult day care is built on similar precepts, as these types of programs provide opportunities for participants to get in some physical activity in a fun context, have some snacks and meals, interact with one another, and receive treatment as needed.

Moreover, these services are designed to be of relatively low cost and minimal burden to the sponsoring family, allowing them the ability to work and seek some respite from the demands of caring for the elderly. This may not be as salient a form of long-term care as other solutions, especially since it involves no residential aspect, but all the same, adults may be enrolled in day care programs for extended periods of time.

Another form of elder care that implies a habitual commitment without actual commitment to a facility is known as a senior center. Senior centers are essentially meeting places for older adults where they may enjoy education, meals, recreation, socialization, and special events and trips. Unlike with adult day care, though, the individuals who attend senior center programs are not as dependent on others for their day-to-day needs.

Plus, in many cases, as opposed to day care, which is a private, paid service, senior centers will be publicly-funded so that most if not all of their functions will be free of charge to the attendee. In terms of long-term care, a senior center is not exactly a prototypical example, but nevertheless, its affording of amenities that fulfill basic human needs is somewhat characteristic of this branch of elder care.

Additionally, some forms of long-term care may not even require that recipients visit an out-of-home facility. One notable example is the presence of Meals on Wheels programs across the country. Meals on Wheels is a nationally-recognized organization that, as the name implies, brings meals to seniors who otherwise would have trouble cooking for themselves or going out and getting food. It is staffed mostly by dedicated volunteers, and is thus quite literally a form of community service.

Another service known as “telephone assurance” is designed expressly to engage elderly individuals who spend the bulk of their time alone at home. A family member, friend, or even an independent third party will call the at-home resident daily to make sure he or she does not need medical attention; if he or she does not answer, this may be a sign that emergency help is needed. 

Other Long Term Care Explained

Other Long Term Care Explained

Some people might find that they inevitably require residency in a skilled nursing facility

Community Services

While not all forms of eldercare are long-term care, frequently enough, the two categories coincide. Some forms of long-term care and like services are profoundly community-oriented, often being staffed by volunteers and/or funded with public monies to offer basic amenities to the elderly. Plus, of course, they are less pricey and do not involve a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a week commitment, as opposed to a nursing home. One community service that caretakers of dependent older adults may seek out is adult day care.

Day care programs for seniors are structurally similar to those designed for young children, in that they provide participants with a constructive, safe, socially-stimulating environment, and they provide their guardians (e.g. children, grandchildren, family friend) with the opportunity to work a normal nine-to-five job. Senior centers, meanwhile, are operated for the benefit of more independent/interdependent older adults, and are more likely to be funded by town and county contributions than by health insuranceMeals on Wheels 

Home Health Care

Programs like the aforementioned Meals on Wheels, as noted, engage seniors in their homes, but home health care services take in-home long-term care to another level. Specifically, home health care, as one would expect, takes care of both the day-to-day and unique medical needs of the elderly when they cannot achieve total self-sufficiency. One of the most salient examples of home health care are home health aides/homemakers.

While the parallel is not an exact one, for the sake of an analogy, home aides are like nursing aides in a nursing home. They are more or less under the supervision of nursing professionals in both cases, and handle many of the same tasks, such as assisting the residents’ movements, cleaning, preparing food, and shopping for them. government benefits Guest Accommodations

Some forms of long-term care for seniors—or at least long-term residence—would not have them committed to a skilled nursing facility, but all the same, would not have them too far from “home either.” One solution to the housing situation of an older family member or paying elderly non-relative is a guest apartment or guest house. Whether guest apartment or guest house, the fundamental concept is the same: the senior citizen would be provided a separate unit on the same property as the main dwelling, with space for a bathroom, kitchen/dining room, and sleeping.

The primary difference is where the structure will be located in relation to the primary residence. Usually, a “guest apartment” will sit above or below the first floor of the principal home or will adjoin a detached garage, while a “guest house” will be somewhere more distant in relation to the house, yet still on the same lot.

Before having any form of “guest accommodation” tacked on to a home, serious weight must first be given to this decision. Certainly, the money factor will be an issue, as it clearly would be an imprudent move to make an addition without possessing the capital or being on an income trajectory to afford such an expense.

Aside from that, this new structure or any existing guest units may also need to include the types of modifications characteristic of home health care services as discussed above, which will only add to the overall price. Additionally, prospective recipients of a renovation must make sure they have the lawful authority to carry it out. No matter who the addition may be for, if housing regulations are not adhered to, families may be censured for an illegal home improvement.

Subsidized Housing for Seniors

Sometimes it is not how seniors can live, but rather where they can call home. Especially when a larger residence used by a whole family or even a couple is no longer needed after inhabitants move out or pass away, older family members may need a new, simpler place to live. However, a good house or apartment may be hard to find.

That is, a suitable yet affordable dwelling may be difficult to secure considering many aged Americans are retired or otherwise out of work. As a result, the state and federal governments offer subsidized housing benefits to elders in this country and their families when they do not make enough money to meet their financial obligations elsewhere. By this token, subsidized housing for seniors is state-sponsored low-income housing.

Depending on the conditions of the environment they and their families choose, subsidized housing and apartments for the elderly may not be deserving of the cynicism that can accompany the term “subsidized housing,” although, in fairness, these facilities have the potential to be of fairly modest size considering. Nonetheless, despite the limited floor space and the idea that residents may not be getting a full discount, subsidized housing still makes home ownership significantly cheaper and more feasible for older adults.

Plus, as the subsidies that assist families in paying the rent are government-issued, official government sources like the Department of Housing and Urban Development can serve to point out qualifying facilities across the country to those that may require them. 

Group Homes

Group homes are a departure from the “seniors living alone” motif of previously discussed long-term setups. They also are a departure from other group-based forms of long-term elder care. Group homes are distinguished from similar alternatives by a few noticeable features. For one, they are designed for groups of strangers, and thus are not united by bonds of kinship, but by a shared trait or quality.

With the aging population, inclusion in group homes has a lot to do with them all being advanced in years and also unable to care for themselves in terms of some everyday activities. To boot, group homes separate themselves by providing this care in a house as opposed to a more clinical-feeling building, and do not offer the same range of health services (and concordantly, the same accountability) as skilled nursing facilities.

Thus, in terms of the benefits of group homes as opposed to other alternatives, this option definitely appeals to the elder adults who neither have a family to go home to nor have a pressing need to be committed to a nursing home.

Moreover, the specialization of interests that usually accompanies group homes tends to grease the wheels, so to speak, of feelings of family and togetherness within; group homes are apt to be a very empathic, understanding place for their inhabitants. On the other hand, these positives of group homes come at a price, and usually a steep one at that, especially since Medicare and Medicaid’s influence in payment situations will be limited. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living, used by nearly a million elderly Americans a year, is a bit more narrowly oriented than the vagueness of the term might suggest. As with residence in a group home, assisted living involves residence in a complex along with other peers. Each resident will essentially pay basic rent for the room and board they receive, and will simply have fees tacked on for any additional services they make use of while staying at an assisted living facility. Where assisted living homes differ from group homes, meanwhile, is in the variety of services they provide, notably in the arena of recreation and socialization, as well as the medical resources they may feature (i.e. on-site health services).

Effectively, assisted living is a sort of bridge between life alone and permanent residence in a skilled nursing facility. Many times, being in an assisted living complex is superior to living alone or a nursing home, because it encourages a sense of community among the individuals living there while affording them more privacy and individuality than they would likely receive in a nursing home hosting some fully-dependent adults with little ability to exercise self-restraint. Just as well, some people in assisted living homes may not be far off from nursing homes, and thus, will require regular reevaluations during their stays.

Retirement Communities

Retirement communities, meanwhile, separate themselves from the proverbial pack by being a whole community as opposed to a single facility. As a matter of fact, some retirement communities actually encapsulate other forms of long-term care that may otherwise exist as isolated entities, notably assisted living arrangements and nursing homes.

In this event, they are commonly known as continuing care retirement communities. Then again, many retirement communities are patently residential setups, leaving all health care providers outside the walls/gates of the community. These schemes are referred to by some as independent living communities.

Of all the options in long-term care discussed heretofore, retirement community living certainly affords the people who call it home the most possibilities. Retirement communities typically feature an assortment or resort-like activities that residents can use to occupy their time following their working days, especially those that are sports- and physical activities-related. That said, for all the choices prospective community members are afforded, point blank, they have to be able to afford the rent.

As with assisted living, life in a retirement community may be under $1,000 a month, but with each added amenity and proximity to a valuable location, costs per 30-day period may approach $3,000. In numerous cases, “quality” retirement communities will only be within the means of a select class of Americans.

Home Health Care Defined

Home Health Care Defined

By evidence of the existence of community services like Meals on Wheels and transportation programs designed especially for seniors, the ability for older adults to receive individualized home health care would seem infinitely possible. Indeed, various home health services exist for the benefit of the elderly so that they may be allowed to live full lives without having to be confined to an expensive facility.

Moreover, this home health care is often more intensive than normal community services, and furthermore, it features trained professionals or at least administrators who are supervised by licensed health professionals. Depending on a person’s needs, he or she may be able to enjoy any confluence of home health services. Below are some examples of home health care:

 One brand of home health services that is fairly commonly used by elders and their families, and is known by a number of different names is that of home health aides. Also called caregivers, homemakers, and personal attendants, home health aides may be charged with any assortment of tasks that are part of daily living but are beyond the abilities of some older adults to manage for themselves.

Among the laundry list of chores that homemakers may be asked to fulfill (apart from laundry itself) are accompanying the individual outside the home, cooking, food shopping, housekeeping, personal grooming, and preparing him or her for bed. Usually, people who accept this kind of home health care will need to pay out of their savings or out of a family member’s pocket, though public benefits (e.g. 

Some home health services, meanwhile, will not be so hands-on, so to speak, but will nonetheless make the home more accessible for elderly individuals, especially in light of some injury or particular physical malady.

Relatively simple home improvements such as elevators, handrails in bathtubs/showers, wheelchair ramps and wider corridors (for the sake of those in chairs and motorized devices) may all be prudent renovations for the sake of the informed senior. As with the aforementioned Meals on Wheels and long-term care, home repair may not jump to mind as a manifestation of home health care, but with all due respect, it may be requested by experience health care providers, notably therapists. 

To boot, some home health services will take special circumstances of their recipients into account. Some paid services, for instance, will provide in-home hospice care for those people who have contracted a terminal illness or other serious condition and need both physical and emotional home health care as a result, as well as grief counseling and other functions for surviving family.

Respite care is also a hallmark of home health services. For the elderly suffering from a debilitating condition such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and for the sake of family members who need a mental break from the constant care of their relatives, respite care affords them short-term piece of mind, and allows the family in particular the time to complete their own everyday chores.  

What Are Guest Accommodations

What Are Guest Accommodations

Of course, some accommodations for older people do not preclude them from living near their families. In fact, they may even live on the same piece of property. Quite often, elderly individuals will reside in units that are their own separate dwelling spaces, but are usually contained on the same lot or even are attached to the building in some way.

As is wont to happen with long-term elderly care (note the aforementioned discussion of home health aides and their various synonyms), there are numerous names for these structures. Some may refer to a particular unit as an in-law apartment, secondary suite or even a granny flat (primarily in other English-speaking countries). However, for our purposes here, we will refer to a qualifying residence as either a guest apartment or guest house. Some notes about the use of these spaces:

Though it likely goes without saying, a guest apartment or guest house lies ancillary to the main home. Such accommodations are usually capable of being self-sufficient apart from the primary residence, including standard amenities like a bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom/converted sleeping space.

Thus, they are not meant for a whole family, but rather an individual such as a senior citizen living on his or her lonesome, and with little need for anything beyond these simple features. Certainly, though, a guest apartment or guest house may still be furnished with specially designed facilities, floors and furniture designed to prevent falls or serious injury. 

As to where these types of dwellings tend to stand in relation to the main structure, as noted, they may be either part of the same building or nearby. Concerning a guest apartment, although they may be dictated by the preexisting conditions of the house, there are definitely options to be played around with.

For one, depending on what is feasible, a guest apartment may either lie above the first floor of a one-family home, below it, as in a converted basement, or connected even to a detached garage. As for a guest house, sometimes termed a garden suite, it may be a separate unit on the premises, which may be more characteristic of a larger estate. Plus, when a family member ceases to use it, it may be rented out to non-relative guests, making it a “guest house” in the truest sense of the word(s).

Imaginably, the creation of a guest apartment or guest house in the absence of one requires the means to make this decision a reality. First and foremost, the family opting for this course of action will likely need to front most or all of the cost themselves, or will be paying out of pocket in installments.

Beyond this, though, before constructing such a unit, interested parties must receive clearance from the proper authorities lest they erect something illegally on their space. Accordingly, they should consult the municipal body with jurisdiction over these matters for assistance and clarifying information a midst the planning process.