ContentsAssisted Living North Carolina: Care Types Largest Providers Of Assisted Living Communities Quality And Safety Of Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) Cost Of Assisted Living Care Paying For Assisted Living Care Services Provided In Assisted Living Communities Transitioning Into Assisted Living Care Healthcare Resources In North Carolina North Carolina Assisted Living Residences Oversight
If your aging family member is ready to leave his or her home and move into senior housing, it can be difficult to decide which state they should live in, particularly if your family lives in different areas around the country. If your relative or family member lives in North Carolina, you may be considering assisted living care in the Tar Heel State. If so, here is some of the information that will help you decide if North Carolina is the right senior housing community location.
No matter what state you are considering for your family member to live in, it is important to think about what types of senior living options there are and what type of quality you should expect. North Carolina is no exception. Below you will find some basic information you need to know about assisted living and other senior housing community options in the state.
Assisted Living North Carolina: Care Types
Depending on the needs of your family member, you may have several different types of senior housing type to consider. Here are some of the facilities and communities that might be a good fit for an aging family member.
Independent Living Communities
These are communities for elderly individuals who are ready to move out of their current home but can still live independently. In an independent living care community, each resident (or couple) gets their own private unit. Sometimes housekeeping and some meals are included. Check with the care community you are considering to find out what amenities are available.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)
For those who need some help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, and toileting, an assisted living facility (ALF), often called an adult care home in North Carolina, may be a good option. Residents live in their own units and meals are provided by the facility. Medication management is offered as well. If a facility has seven or more residents, it is called a rest home; if it has six or fewer residents, it is called a family care home.
If your family member has needs that cannot be met in an ALF, a nursing home may be a better option. There are a few different types of nursing homes in North Carolina. A skilled nursing facility (SNF) is for individuals who require 24-hour adult care homes. An intermediate care facility (ICF) is for those who do not need quite as much medical care but who need more residential care that is offered by an ALF. A combination home offers both types of care (SNF care and ICF care). Some of these facilities also have an assisted living section or wing as well.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Many elderly individuals look for a type of senior housing that will meet their needs now as well as in the future. A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offers an independent living community, an assisted living community, and a nursing home all on the same property or owned by the same facility. This means that your family member could move to the type of facility that suits him or her best as their needs increase.
Adult Day Care
If your family member lives in your home or with another family member, adult day care may be an option for respite care when the caregiver needs to go to work or simply needs a break. Depending on your elderly family member’s needs, they may go to an adult day service or an adult day health care service; the latter provides more medical services than the former, however, both are designed to care for the elderly, assist with ADLs, and provide opportunities for socialization and recreation.
Finally, if your family member lives in their own home or with another family member, a caregiver may go into their home to provide personal, medical, or household help. For example, an aide might help your family member bath and get dressed, then cook them lunch and do some light housekeeping, such as washing the lunch dishes. A nurse might go to the home to change dressings or administer injectable medications. Services vary widely so it is important to be clear about exactly what your family member needs and what they will be paying for.
Largest Providers Of Assisted Living Communities
There are some national providers of assisted living communities that have facilities in the Tar Heel State. For example, Brookdale Senior Living has 32 ALFs in North Carolina, Sunrise Senior Living has 8 ALFs, and Atria Senior Living has 2 ALFs.
Quality And Safety Of Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)
With about 1 million (12%) of North Carolina’s residents being senior citizens, ensuring ALFs are safe and of high quality is a priority. The North Carolina Division of Health Care Service Regulation has a list of rules and regulations that apply to adult home care licensing, registration, and inspections. You can also use this search form to find information regarding inspections and penalties for the licensed facilities in the state.
Cost Of Assisted Living Care
The national monthly median cost for assisted living care is $3,750. North Carolina’s monthly median cost is less at $3,250. This fee varies not only by the facility but also by the area of the state. For example, assisted adult care homes in Goldsboro costs an average of $2,000 per month. In Asheville, it costs $2,750. In Charlotte, expect to pay about $3,755, and in Wilmington and Raleigh, the monthly fee will be around $4,500.
If you or your family member lives close to the North Carolina border with a neighboring state, you might be interested in the median cost per month in that state. Your family member will pay less for assisted living residential care in South Carolina with a monthly median fee of $2,865. Georgia’s median fee is $2,800. In Tennessee, your family member can expect to pay about $3,600 per month; and in Virginia, they will probably pay a bit over $4,500.
Paying For Assisted Living Care
With assisted living care in North Carolina costing approximately $40,000 per year, on average, it is understandable that your family member might be concerned about how to pay for it. There are several options they may want to consider when it comes to funding senior housing community in the Tar Heel State.
If your family member is going to be selling their home, then the proceeds from that sale can pay for some of their assisted care needs. Similarly, if they have a retirement fund, mutual funds, or various other financial investments, these funds may be used to pay for care.
Medicaid does not typically pay for assisted living senior care, however, those who are eligible may be able to get a waiver to pay for the services needed through a program called the Community Alternatives Program. There is also a program called Money Follows the Person that may allow a nursing home resident to move into a small adult care home that has fewer than four residents. Finally, those who are eligible for Social Security Income (SSI) may receive a stipend to pay for part of the room and board at an ALF. You can find out more about Medicaid in North Carolina at the Department of Health and Human Services.
If your family member has a spouse/partner who will continue living in the shared home, they do not necessarily have to sell the home in order to pay for senior care. Instead, they may want to consider getting a reverse mortgage. This is a type of home equity loan that does not require repayment of the principal or interest until neither individual lives in the home anymore, however, they do still have to pay taxes and homeowners’ insurance as long as they own the home. There is mandatory counseling is required before the loan can be finalized.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance that pays for some or all of the cost of assisted living or nursing home care. People usually purchase long-term care insurance when they are in their 50s or 60s and then use it when they require this kind of long-term care. If your family member has a long-term care insurance policy, read it carefully to see what it includes since each plan is different.
Programs For Veterans
North Carolina has four state veterans’ homes in Fayetteville, Salisbury, Black Mountain, and Kinston. In addition, your family member and their spouse may be eligible for the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit, a federal program for veterans and their spouses who need personal care. You can find more information about this program including eligibility to request assistance at your local Veterans Affairs office.
Elderlife Financial can help you understand how to pay for assisted living.
Services Provided In Assisted Living Communities
The assisted living community that your family member chooses will include 24-hour supervision and assistance with personal needs. There will also be housekeeping services, transportation, and activities for your family to join if they choose. Medication management is also provided for residents that request assistance. Unlicensed staff who have undergone specialized training may administer medications including injectable medications such as insulin for residents with diabetes.
Meals and snacks are also provided. North Carolina law states that residents must be offered 3 meals and 3 snacks per day at minimum. If your family member requires a special diet, a registered dietitian will plan their menu so it is appropriate for nutrition and for his or her medical condition.
Living units may be private or shared, or some may have semi-private rooms. Facilities built after 2004 may have up to 2 residents per room, however, older facilities may have up to 4 residents per room. Bathrooms may also be private or shared. There must be a minimum of 1 toilet and 1 sink for every 5 residents and 1 shower or tub for every 10 residents.
Residents with dementia or Alzheimer's disease often need to be cared for in a special Alzheimer's care unit with trained staff in assisted living memory care. These Alzheimer's disease memory care units must have extra security to prevent residents from wandering away and getting lost or otherwise getting into dangerous situations.
Transitioning Into Assisted Living Care
Prior to or within 72 hours of being admitted into an ALF, your family member will be assessed to be sure that they are in the correct facility for their needs. If during this assessment it is discovered that your family member needs nursing home care or personal care provided in a special care unit, they will be referred at that point.
Within 30 days of this admission assessment, your family member will have a more in-depth assessment to aid in creating a service plan. This service plan will be the document that states how much assistance your family member needs, if they have special dietary needs, what type of medication management they need assistance with, and so on. This service plan will then be reassessed annually or sooner if your family member’s condition changes.
Healthcare Resources In North Carolina
There are 126 hospitals in North Carolina spread out among the different counties. Chances are good that the assisted living residences your family member chooses will be close to a hospital. If not, find out which hospital the facility uses for residents needing medical care. Also, find out which medical specialists are nearby; your family member may be best served by a specialist who focuses on specific health conditions they have (such as diabetes or cancer) or by a geriatric specialist.
The Division of Aging and Adult Services offers various resources for the elderly and their families as well. For example, they offer services for caregivers and counseling services as well as services for people who want to retain their independence as much as possible.
North Carolina Assisted Living Residences Oversight
Assisted living communities are overseen by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the long-term care ombudsman program assists individuals who are currently living in a facility and need help settling a dispute or filing a complaint.