Sam Bauman: Assisted living, what’s out there for single seniors
For the Nevada Appeal
Correction: The following information was changed from the original version.
Holiday Retirement owns and operates Carson Plaza, not The Lodge. Paul von Ravensberg works for Carson Plaza, which is an independent-living facility, not assisted living.
For many years it was traditional for the senior surviving spouse of a household to move in with his or her children. Couples could and did usually continue living at their home until one passed on and the other could no longer live alone.
That began to change in the early 1950s when smaller homes and larger families made this difficult, so that by 1980 the culture changed and the idea of independent or assisted living centers come into play.
Today that is a multi-million dollar private enterprise with companies establishing facilities for seniors nationwide.
To get an idea of how the independent or assisted living facilities work I visited The Lodge at 2200 E. Long St., just a short bike ride from my home. I’d seen The Lodge’s ads in the Appeal and on Valentine’s Day they were hosting live music and dancing with champagne, chocolate and cheeses. The music (live, boisterous piano) was there along with the wine (or sparkling cider) and a crowning of the king and queen of The Lodge for the month. Residents and guests applauded the events.
There I met Paul von Ravensberg Jr., area sales leader for Holiday Retirement,
which operates Carson Plaza. It was just after lunch served in the very comfortable looking dining area for the 106 residents. Carson Plaza is an independent-living facility, not assisted living.
Music was to start in a few minutes but Ravensberg offered to show me a one-bedroom independent living unit.
On the third floor it had a balcony looking out on the plaza where residents could pitch horseshoes or walk or just sit in nice weather. The unit had a large living room with a small partial kitchen. Since all meals are included for residents a complete kitchen is not needed. But there is room for a microwave along the counter.
This seemed to be ideal for the surviving spouse – privacy but everything needed for a comfortable life. Included are cable TV, all utilities except for phone, three daily meals daily, two sets of live-in manager teams, daily activities, transportation to appointments and errands (RSVP offers similar services), weekly housekeeping and laundry services, billiards, library and exercise room, on-site beauty salon and barber shop, emergency response system monitored 24/7 and individually controlled heating and air conditioning systems.
That’s the laundry list. The single occupancy monthly price varies by size: the studio suite of about 400-plus feet is $1,995; one bedroom suite is $2,795, and the two bedroom suite is $3,995, plus one-time community fee of one month’s rent.
The physical characteristics of an assisted living residence can range from a house or small building with just a few beds to a large senior living campus with multiple buildings and hundreds of beds. Each state is different, and has different licensing requirements, so it is important to know what type of care facility the resident would prefer. Residents of assisted living care facilities may have meals provided as the facilities provide centralized kitchens that can prepare three meals a day. In addition, typically there are large areas for socializing and activities for the residents.
Benefits of assisted living include:
• Tailoring of services to the individual needs of the elder
• Maintenance of an elder’s lifestyle (assistance with transportation, shopping, and recreation are just a few examples)
• Programs designed to keep an elder active and engaged in life and their surroundings
• Affordable alternative to the high cost of in-home care and nursing homes
• Extended “family” to care and watch out for the elder’s safety and well-being
• Regular communication with family members
• Helps prevent major disasters that sometimes happen when elders live alone
According to http://www.thelodgealf.com, the cost of assisted living varies significantly between facilities across the nation and even within the same city. This is an estimated cost, based solely off averages and changes constantly as new data is received about facilities across the country. Nevada costs are generally a bit lower than the national average.
The following information is from the Internet:
Senior Care Costs: monthly cost
Adult day care, weekdays only: $1,322
Assisted living: $3,300
Home care (44 hours per week): $3,432
Nursing Home (double occupancy room for one person): $6,083
Nursing Home (single occupancy room for one person): $6,753
This is just an initial report on assisted and independent living facilities and costs. More next week.