Hello - Just wondering if anyone has experience with how long residents usually live in an ALF?

I am picking up my research on placing both my parents, aged 89 and 86. Mom as moderate AD. Dad has COPD. Both currently living in their home, but conditions getting worse and they need more help.

Wondering about length of planning for finances, etc.
Thank you.

Folks, I forgot to mention I not only "read" a lot about these facilities but I actually live in one myself. We are in Independent Living. There are 5-tiers. Money was a factor for my mother so the add-ons would be out of budget for her.

I have a Master's degree and work remotely so my job can go anywhere. We moved from one part of the country to the other because I simply could not find what I was looking for in regards to my mother's declining health plus the Northeast is way too expensive and the winters looooong.

I know this is a very unusual situation but I am honestly telling you that these places are needed because of the family dynamics, proximity of adult children who live out-of-state or simply people who do not want their lifestyle to be interrupted.

I knew before we arrived that there was a labor shortage problem nationwide. We do like it here but I do see some elderly with the same clothes on for too many days. Others need hearing aids, and others are dropped off by their adult children and figure we pay them enough, they can do it.

Bottom line: Show up and check out the situation, more than just a Sunday night phone call.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Ireland

Google says the average is 22 months .
Not that that means anything . It all depends on the persons medical problems . Coincidently both my mother and father in law were in assisted living close to 2 years . Both had vascular dementia. Mom died of a probable heart attack or massive stroke , they found her dead in her chair . They went looking for her because she didn’t show up for dinner . I’m hoping it happened during her nap . My father in law had COPD and CHF . He was on a recently accelerated decline when Covid came along and sped up the inevitable demise . I think that was a good thing , he was out of his misery sooner .
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to waytomisery

My dad has been in Personal Care for 2 months. His CHF is taking him down fast. He's had 2 episodes of Pneumonia and now Shingles. They have overlooked his health. Dad is in the hospital more than his home. Now, I am planning his Hospice care. I doubt dad is going to make it to his 90th Birthday in August. It maybe coincidence, but I have to pay them every month. They need a 30 day advanced notice if you plan to move him out. Greedy!!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Onlychild2024

I knew someone who was in one for over 30 years.
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Reply to ZippyZee

GingerMay: A good friend's husband suffered with Alzheimer's for twelve years. She had placed him in a SNF.
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Reply to Llamalover47

My aunt Connie had Alzheimer's for 18-20 years. She and her DH lived in Independent Living and Assisted Living for over 15 years.

My parents lived in IL for 3 years, AL for 5, and Memory Care Assisted Living for 3 years.

Mom's friend Ann went into AL in 2013 and is still living there today.

My relatives all had great care in AL which is hardly "institutionalized" life....more like a nice hotel with a caregiving and nursing staff on board, along with a chef, a bus driver and a team of social activity directors. Mom's place had an award winning 15 acre garden out back for strolling. My parents apartment was so lovely and spacious, it was used as the model to show prospective residents on tour. We should all be so fortunate to have the financial means to afford Assised Living in old age.

Dad had a brain tumor which claimed his life at 91. Mom had CHF and vascular dementia which claimed her life at 95. She was beautifully cared for by "her girls" in Memory Care across the parking lot from the AL building she'd lived at for 5 years. Dad died in 2015, mom did fine w/o him and lived until 2022. Mainly because she had her friends in AL to help her and get her out of her apartment to meals and social gatherings again.

You'll have no way of knowing how long your folks will live. You private pay until those funds run out and then apply for Medicaid, if necessary, to fund their care if the money runs out.

Mom went to a dreadful SNF for rehab in 2019, as it turned out. I found a very nice and well run SNF to transfer her to instead, where she spent almost 3 weeks recovering with PT and OT. We had no complaints about the SNF at all. My plan was to segue mom into that SNF when her funds ran out in Memory Care Assisted Living. She passed away about 6 months before I was going to apply for Medicaid. In 3 months, I'd have moved her to the SNF to private pay to make it smoother for Medicaid and the SNF to approve her.

That's basically how you plan for things that have no timeline. See a Certified Elder Care attorney for more advice, as I did.

Take note that AL and Skilled Nursing care homes are not the dungeons some people here "read about" or tell you was their experience. If you do your homework prior, you'll find a well run professional and beautiful AL that suits your folks' needs. You'll visit often and be their advocate, as I was. If something isn't right, you'll either get it fixed or MOVE THEM OUT of there as I did with my mom in the awful SNF for rehab. These places aren't prisons and we have the power to change things we're unhappy with!

It was thanks to the attentive nurses and caregivers in AL and MC that mom lived as long as she did. They noticed her coughing a few times and suspecting pneumonia each time, correctly. The hospital was able to medicate/treat her immediately before it took her life. "Diminished well-being" is a fallacy. Diminished well-being occurs at home where a son or daughter works and the elder has no activity or social interaction with peers. Not to mention constant checking in with staff to make sure she's okay. #Truth

Best of luck to you.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to lealonnie1

"Assisted Living": Unless it is a rare place, it equates to diminished well-being.

In theory, "assisted living" would mean adding necessary accommodations to ones daily life. But in practice, when one is moved from their home to a facility, an institution, it subtracts from well-being and provides minimal and/or expensive assistance. The marketing is designed to give residents and their loved ones peace of mind, but based on my 8 years of observation, experience and engagement, such marketing is deceptive.

Keep in mind too that once you move into an assisted living facility, the prices can go up and up. Moving elders takes a toll.

IMO: The long-term-care-profit-raising-complex is, for the most part, a predatory scam - even the non-profits. And . . . sometimes there is no better option.

As for how long someone will live there -- there is no telling. You will know more from their medical condition. In addition, if one of them dies, it is not uncommon for the other to die shortly thereafter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to elisny
strugglinson Apr 7, 2024
everything comes down to money with paid assistance, whether facility or at home. My dad is in AL, but I also employ a home care agency for extra help. The AL rent has not risen yet, but the home agency has raised their caregiver hourly rate within 6 months.
See 1 more reply
I was told the average was two years in MC. My husband's dementia was quite advanced when I realized I could no longer cope. He lasted 5 months in MC, but probably because I waited until I was desperate before I moved him there. I should have moved him earlier.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to WearyJean

Good Afternoon,

If you can find a 4-tier facility that would be ideal. Many of these options are available in the South where there are many retirees.

For example--Assisted Living, Short-term, Long-term Care, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, Physical Therapy on the premises and Palliative and Hospice Care towards the end. Usually these places have Nursing Home Facility affiliated with them.

Everything comes down to $$$. If your dad was in the Korean War as my late dad was--you may be eligible for Aid & Attendance. Your mother as well. But it depends on their actual diagnosis and length of service, if any in the military during time of War.

Everyone here gives their opinion but it is based on their own personal scenario. Each State is different. In all honestly, I read a lot about Assisted Living. This is a big $$$ maker, better than playing the stock market.

Check out the videos Rich Dad Poor Dad...there is a video on making money on an Assisted Living.

You can't assume no matter how much money you pay that the medications will be dispensed at the time intervals needed. The main problem I hear over and over again is the blood thinners. If they are not dispensed properly, you can have a whole set of new issues.

Every facility across the nation cannot find help. There are easier ways to make money. It's back breaking work, short-staffed, over-worked, underpaid with the owners making a fortune. The Pandemic has a lot to do with the departure of employees. People were burnt out.

The management is given a budget--make it work. The profit can be 30-40% on an Assisted Living. Many can't find cleaning people and the apartments are not kept up. Many accept therapy dogs which means dog poop.

You have to make sure the clothing is washed in hot water and the sheets are cleaned weekly or as soiled. You have to oversee everything. Don't think because you pay big money everything will automatically be taken care of.

They just don't have the manpower. You can go online and search your State for how many CNA or med techs are on the floor in regards to the ratio of patients/residents. You will be shocked when you see how low the numbers are. This is legal. The restrictions for these facilities are gray. There really is no black and white.

The people who do the dirty work are usually women of color from another country and while they are taking care of your mother/father, when they go home at night they are taking care of their own mother who usually lives with them.

Basically, the brochures will tell you--we're like family. We want to be the right fit. Not really--when your money goes, you go.

Some facilities let bedsores and the decline of a resident go unnoticed so the loved one stays too long. You're right, no one wants to go to a Nursing Home. But, remember, there is no assistance. You pay for everything a la carte.

When the Assisted Living term first came about in the 1990's it was supposed to be for retirees who didn't want to cook or fuss over a house. But people showed up in walkers, they could no longer drive and could not use the stove and care for themself.

You get a room/studio small kitchen and bathroom and you bring in services--Everything is an add-on dispensing of medications, filling, ordering, etc. cleaning, name it. Medications alone can run you over $500-600 per month per person. Some even have you use their pharmacy of choice.

The activities of daily living assistance are usually 3rd party companies that bill you. Check your bill and make sure the person shows up at the appointed time.

If you could keep them together that would be ideal until their needs change. I wanted to be honest with you because you can't assume anything by the brochures. I read an article written by a woman who worked in a lot of Assisted Living facilities and she said the only place she would put her mother would be not-for-profit facility which are usually run by Churches.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Ireland
elisny Apr 7, 2024
Well put.
See 3 more replies
With your parents, I don't see them in an AL for a long length of time. Your Moms AD will progress, how fast, no one can tell u. Of course, Dads COPD may worsen but there is no time table for that. What I would do is tour ALs and ask questions. If a Memory care unit is attached, then as Mom worsens, she can transition to there. They both may be excepted to an AL at this point. Dad is there to watchout for Mom. You may need to play it by ear. The AL will tell you when your parents health goes beyond their ability to do. Remember they assist with ADLs they do not do skilled nursing.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29

My Great aunt about 7 years 82- 89 and we had help coming in the end of her Life into assisted Living because I did not want her in a NH .
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to KNance72

There is a huge variation. My father was in independent senior living (meals and a little help) for about 4 years, assisted living for a few months, and memory care for about 2 years. He died at 95 from Covid (pre vaccination) but was pretty much bedridden by then so probably would not have lived another year .
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to onlyavisitor

My father-in-law and mother-in-law entered assisted living in May 2019 at the age of 89. She had a stroke and died in February 2020. Now age 94, he is a physically fragile, cognitively diminished resident, with 5 ER visits last year alone, 3 that resulted in admissions. His long-term care insurance has a lifetime maximum that has just been met. Fortunately, he has resources to pay the constantly increasing costs of LTC for the next few years (unless he gives it all away to grifting relatives).
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Reply to SadToWatch

My mother was in assisted living 12 years before she died.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to HaveYourBack

This is difficult to impossible to guess at. As you can imagine, any given resident is as individual as his own thumbprint. People go into ALF for a massive variety of reasons from mental to physical and often an interlacing of both concerns. They are also of varying ages. It would be impossible to come up with averages on this, and any survey that claims to know the average amount of time spent in ALF is likely going to change each time the survey is repeated.

Sad to say, but with your own loved ones, the best guess would be through their own geriatric physician.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer

The national average is between 22 and 28 months.

This was true for my MIL. Then she went into LTC because she refused to get out of bed. Now she can't walk at all.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Geaton777

My hubby saw this scenario years before it was an issue. My siblings dipped out from helping us achieve that goal. We did it. It was hard, but we found the right solution for us…
Is mom and dad’s house paid for?if so, Will selling it now help them afford living in a facility ?
This is where you may want to talk with a financial advisor.
do set up appointments to visit facilities close to you since it seems like you’ll be the one to look after them.
More advice will come your way.
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Reply to MAYDAY

My mother has been in AL 5 years. She is now 99.

Step-mother, 3 years AL 3 years MC, age 86.

What I have read it is 3-5 years.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MeDolly

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