Located in the southern part of the Willamette Valley, Eugene is a moderately sized city with a population of more than 155,000 people. The city is home to the University of Oregon and is well-known for its many outdoor recreational activities, mild year-round weather, and breathtaking natural surroundings. Also known as the “Emerald City,” Eugene is Oregon’s second most populous city, second to the Portland metropolitan area.
Along with its many educational and recreational opportunities, Eugene is an exceptional place for long-term care. Retiring in Eugene means easy access to outdoor adventure and urban amenities without the hustle and bustle of large cities. The city is home to a variety of long-term care communities, including premium assisted living communities with resort-style amenities.
Each assisted living community in Eugene is unique with its own resources and amenities, provided in accordance with the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (ODHS) licensing regulations. This guide will discuss what sets retiring in Eugene apart from other places, and what families can look forward to when they choose community-based care in the Emerald City.
Eugene Assisted Living
Before a community may provide long-term care in Oregon, they must receive proper licensing from the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). The ODHS licenses communities depending on the services they provide and their resident accommodations, classifying them into two distinct categories.
Assisted living communities are residences with fully self-containing senior living units, providing accommodations for six or more unrelated individuals.
Residential care facilities may contain shared or individual senior living units, providing accommodation for six or more unrelated individuals.
Assisted living communities and residential care communities in Eugene provide similar levels of care, like assistance with their residents’ activities of daily living. They also provide 24-hour support services and stimulating activities to help residents meet their social needs, as required by the ODHS.
Before a community may admit a resident, they must guarantee they will meet the person’s physical and cognitive needs. As such, the ODHS requires incoming assisted living residents to participate in a pre-admission assessment to discuss their current health conditions and ongoing needs. The assessment may take a person’s medical history into consideration, including prescriptions and other relevant information.
Using the pre-admission assessment, communities create service plans for each resident. The services plan will outline their daily needs, like the activities they need assistance with and their current medication schedule.
Assisted living communities and residential care facilities must provide certain support services to be in accordance with regulations set forth by the ODHS. In addition to assistance with residents’ activities of daily living (like bathing, eating, or dressing), assisted living residences in Eugene must provide:
Social and recreational activity programs
Social and medical transportation
If a person needs additional care as their physical or cognitive needs change, they may arrange care with a third-party provider if their community is not able to assist. Typically, families move into an out of assisted living communities by their own choice, but involuntary discharges are allowed in Oregon under certain circumstances. For example, a person who endangers or disrupts other residents may be discharged from a community, along with a person who may no longer evacuate the residence safely due to ambulatory challenges.
Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Senior Care in Eugene, Oregon
Senior living in Eugene offers more than assisted living communities and residential care facilities. Depending on a person’s long-term care needs, assisted living may or may not be the right choice - in some cases, independent living communities or nursing homes are more suitable options.
Families researching assisted living communities in Eugene may wonder how they differ from independent living. Independent and assisted living are similar in many ways, providing a maintenance-free living, on-campus social activities, local transportation, and on-campus meals. The key differences between independent and assisted living lay in the types of care they provide.
Independent living communities in Oregon are subject to a unique set of regulations. They are not required to assist residents with their activities of daily living to the same extent as assisted living residences and residential care facilities. Instead, independent living provides around-the-clock peace of mind for families who the privacy of at-home living with the benefits of community-based care. Typically, independent living residents are self-sufficient, move throughout the community without assistance, and eat, dress, and bathe themselves on their own. Residents receive assistance when they request it.
Unlike assisted or independent living communities, nursing homes in Eugene are licensed to provide skilled nursing care. Staffing requirements for nursing homes are different than residential care communities and nursing homes are more well-equipped to assist people with chronic conditions and ongoing medical needs.
The type of long-term care community that best suits each prospective resident depends on their individual needs and preferences. Families should remember that different funding options exist for different types of long-term care, meaning some programs will pay for nursing homes and not independent or assisted living communities.
Standard Assisted Living Amenities in Eugene, Oregon
According to the ODHS regulations for assisted living communities and residential care facilities, long-term care residences in Eugene must provide three meals per day for each resident in accordance with the dietary recommendations established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid.
Additionally, the ODHS requires residences to prepare meals according to residents’ special dietary needs. Religious restrictions, health requirements, allergies, and personal preferences are valid reasons for communities to prepare meal substitutions. Common meal modifications include low-sugar meals and meals prepared with kosher ingredients, although this list is not inclusive.
Communities are required to provide the amenities outlined in the ODHS regulations, but many offer “resort-style” options that go above and beyond the minimum requirements. These resort-style amenities vary by community and are designed to enhance each resident’s assisted living experience. Popular resort-style amenities at assisted living communities in Eugene include:
Barbershops or hair salons
Gardens with walking trails
Swimming pools or jacuzzis
Living rooms with large televisions and comfortable furniture
Game rooms or billiard rooms
Business centers with computers and internet access
Assisted living communities in Eugene must provide recreational and social events for residents, which may include opportunities like:
Group outings to nearby points of interest
Happy hours and social mixers
Game nights and friendly competitions
Arts and crafts sessions, like knitting or painting classes
Continuing education opportunities, like lectures and classes
Families should identify which services and amenities are important to them before applying to assisted living communities in Eugene. It’s common for assisted living communities to list their activities and social events online for prospective residents to see, making it easy to compare locations based on their monthly opportunities.
Assisted Living Apartments in Eugene, Oregon
Depending on a community’s license, assisted living residences and residential care facilities in Eugene must provide specific living conditions according to the ODHS regulations. Long-term care communities may offer optional amenities beyond those required by the ODHS, but they must meet the minimum qualifications.
Residences that qualify as assisted living communities must provide individual units for each resident. They may not house two residents together unless the two inhabitants voluntarily request to do so - communities may not assign residents a roommate without their pre-approval.
Assisted living units must have lockable doors, private bathrooms, and kitchenettes that meet the state’s building codes. Bathrooms must have a wheelchair-accessible shower, a toilet, and a sink as outlined by the ODHS. Kitchens must have refrigerators, a cooking appliance, sinks, and space for food preparation and storage (like countertops and cabinets). Assisted living apartments must have escape windows for residents to easily evacuate in an emergency.
Unlike assisted living communities, residential care facilities may house more than one resident in an apartment. Residents may live in private or shared units that house no more than two individuals. Share apartments may have semi-private or private rooms. Private rooms may not open into a shared hallway - they must connect to a shared living area.
Bathrooms may be centrally located in hallways adjacent to apartments or in the apartments themselves. When units have their own bathrooms, they must have sinks, toilets, and mirrors. They must be wheelchair-accessible.
Some communities offer optional amenities to improve each resident’s living experience, including features like:
Balconies or patios
Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
Cable or internet hookups
Additional living space, like dining areas
Families may schedule tours of assisted living communities in Eugene, giving them an opportunity to see each residence’s apartments before applying or moving in. Alternatively, many communities post their floor plans online.
Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon
Oregon is famous for its natural beauty and Eugene is no exception. Residents will find limitless opportunities for fun and recreation in and near the city, both indoors and outdoors.
Mount Pigsah is a 1,531-foot tall hill near Eugene, home to a year-round arboretum and scenic walking trails. Alton Baker Park is another popular destination among retirees in Eugene, thanks to its beautiful duck ponds, bicycle trails, and disc golf fields.
Looking for fun indoors? The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, located on the University of Oregon’s campus, is a unique opportunity, offering hundreds of exhibits featuring classical and modern art from renowned creators. Eugene is also home to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, which features a variety of exhibits to educate guests about American Natural History.
Funding Assisted Living in Eugene, Oregon
It’s normal for families to wonder how they will pay for assisted living before they start looking for communities. Paying for senior living in Eugene can be a major adjustment, especially for families who are transitioning from homeownership. Fortunately, there are numerous resources in Oregon to help families pay for long-term care, from insurance policies to government-subsidized programs.
When families aren’t paying for assisted living out-of-pocket, they may consider a long-term care policy to cover their costs. Long-term care insurance is an increasingly popular way to pay for residential care in Oregon, helping families retire with peace of mind.
However, long-term care policies are the most beneficial when a person purchases one before they reach retirement age. The younger a person is when they purchase a long-term care policy, the less they are likely to pay each month for their premiums.
If long-term care insurance isn’t an option, qualifying individuals may turn to Medicaid to for financial assistance. Before Medicaid will pay for assisted living in Eugene, a person must meet the eligibility requirements for one of the state’s waiver programs. However, these programs may cover significant costs associated with long-term care, making it a viable option for families with smaller budgets.
Oregon Medicaid offers a Community First Choice (CFC) program for retiring individuals who meet the medical and financial requirements. To be eligible, a person must need a nursing home level of care and they must qualify for Medicaid financially. For the program to pay for home or community-based services, they must adequately meet the beneficiary’s physical and mental needs.
The Independent Choices Program (ICP) is another government-subsidized resource for families in Oregon, offering a cash award to eligible adults. The award is paid monthly and may be used for any costs associated with long-term care, including personal care services and assisted living.
Veterans moving into assisted living have access to additional funding, distributed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA offers a program known as Aid & Attendance, designed for veterans who need assistance with their activities of daily living. Recipients receive their Aid & Attendance benefit each month, paid out as a cash award.
To qualify for Aid & Attendance, a person must meet the requirements for the VA’s standard monthly pension program and they must require the assistance of another person on an ongoing, daily basis. Recipients of the benefit may use it to pay for home or community-based long-term care, including assisted living.