Gemma Maver

Gemma Maver

Gemma Maver is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Kendal on Hudson.  Gemma joined the community in 2007, and meets regularly with people interested in living at Kendal and learning more about the programs offered at the community. Gemma also is a frequent speaker at business and community groups educating audiences about senior living options.

 

 

 

 

  10 QUESTIONS TO ASK

WHEN SELECTING AN

ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY

Choosing an assisted living community for oneself or a family member is an important decision because you are choosing a home where you or a loved one will live as independently as possible, and at the same time receive services and care based on individual needs.

It’s critical to make sure you completely understand what is being offered—what kinds of accommodations you will have, what services are included, what extra costs might be incurred, and, of course, the credentials and experience of the people you will trust to help you.

With all the many choices in the marketplace, it can be challenging to gather all the information and facts and to analyze a true comparison.

We hope this guide will help you.

 

Accommodations – Are they shared and/or private?

Accommodations can be offered as private or shared.  Some like the idea of sharing because it provides a more social atmosphere.  Others want a bit of privacy.  Be sure to ask about the precise details of the accommodations available.  And, if you are considering a shared room or suite, be sure to ask how much opportunity you will have to select a roommate whom you find compatible.  Sometimes communities will assign roommates based on “availability” and that may be someone with whom you just don’t have a lot in common.

At Kendal on Hudson we offer only private apartments: studios and one bedrooms. Every apartment includes a kitchenette that includes a refrigerator and microwave so that you can have drinks and snacks for yourself and visitors.

 

Costs – Is the price you are quoting all-inclusive?

One of the most complicated aspects of selecting an assisted living community is determining what the total monthly costs will be.  Many communities use multi-tiered pricing – a price for living accommodations plus an added cost for personal care.  This second component can be based on a predetermined number of hours of service per week, or on a menu of specific services that are included in a particular “care level”.  You have to add these two costs together to determine the full monthly charge.  Be sure to ask about all the elements of pricing and be sure the price you are quoted combines living accommodations and personal/care services. Also, be sure the price you are quoted is for the specific type of accommodation you want.  Some communities use “starting at” prices, which are for a bed in a shared “suite,” rather than a private room.  Here again, be sure the quoted price is for the size and type of accommodation you really want.

At Kendal on Hudson we have a simple pricing policy.  The price we quote is all inclusive—your accommodations, all your meals and all your personal care, no matter how many hours a week are required, are built into our daily fee. We only offer private accommodations.


What happens if my care needs increase?

So, you might enter a community requiring only minimal assistance, but over time you might need more or different services.  In a tiered pricing model, that means your monthly fee for services could increase, sometimes by hundreds of dollars.  Be sure to ask about tiered-pricing and ask for a complete schedule of charges for all tiers—so that you can anticipate additional costs, if you ever need more services.

At Kendal on Hudson we do not use tiered pricing.  We have two levels of care.  One is called the “assisted living residence level” and the other, for those who need more care and services, is called the “enhanced assisted living residence level.”  The price we quote for a particular accommodation, either the assisted living or enhanced assisted living level of care, is all inclusive – your living accommodation, meals and as many hours of personal care as you need at that level. 

 

Is there a nurse on duty in the community, 24 hours a day and seven days a week?

Some assisted living communities only have a nurse on duty weekdays during business hours.  Some don’t have nurses during the overnight period.  Some don’t have nurses on duty weekends or holidays. Just because a community is licensed by the state of New York, there’s no guarantee of 24 hours a day / 7 days a week nursing care. Be sure to ask.

At Kendal on Hudson there is always a Licensed Practical Nurse on duty, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.

 

Are all the aides Certified Nursing Assistants?

There are many types of “aides” in New York, but only those who are certified by the state as Certified Nursing Assistants meet all the state requirements, including completion of state-mandated training program that teaches the best and the safest ways to assist seniors with important activities like bathing, walking with assistive devices, using wheelchairs, and with medical procedures like monitoring blood pressure and diabetes testing. Always ask about the qualifications of the care-giving staff.  And never assume that the word “aide” means Certified Nursing Assistant.

At Kendal on Hudson every Resident Care Aide is a Certified Nursing Assistant.  And in addition to the training they must complete to receive their state license, we maintain a year-round program of mandatory in-service training to make sure that every one of our Resident Care Aides is up-to-date on the latest practices and procedures.

 

Do you offer true medication management, and who is going to help me with that?

Some communities use the phrase medication monitoring and often that means nothing more than an aide reminding you to take your pills. Medication management, in contrast, places responsibility for managing all your medications in the hands of nurses. They keep track of what you must take and when, they bring it to you and keep detailed records. They re-order from the pharmacy as needed and they keep you fully informed of when you need to call your doctor for a new prescription.  If you need assistance with medications, or might at some point in the future, be sure to ask precisely what the community offers in this area and who dispenses the medications – some communities use medication techs, not nurses.

At Kendal on Hudson we provide true assistance with medication management.  A Licensed Practical Nurse is available to assist you with all your medications needs, 24 hours a day.

 

What are the credentials of the Activities Director?

Most assisted living communities offer an activity program, but in some communities the individual who directs that program has no special training or credentials.  Yet the right kind of exercise, the right kind of mental stimulation, and the right kind of interaction with others can make a big difference in someone’s well-being and quality of life.  Be sure to ask about the training and the experience of the Activities Director.

At Kendal on Hudson our Activities Director is a Recreation Therapist who is certified as both a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and a Dementia Practitioner.  So our activity program is designed and managed by someone who fully understands the role of activities in seniors’ well-being and puts the right kind of activities, in the right balance on the calendar.  In addition, because the Adirondack is an integral part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community, residents have access to a vast array of activities that serve the entire community – including cultural and educational programs, movies, concerts with top-tier professional musicians, and much more. 

 

Who is responsible for meal planning?

One of the great benefits of assisted living is that someone else plans and cooks all your meals.  But that means you will be relying on others to see that you are eating a balanced, healthy diet—as well as a tasty one.  This is particularly important if you have specific dietary restrictions for health (or religious) reasons.  At some communities menu planning is done by the food service staff, rather than by a registered dietitian.

At Kendal on Hudson all menu’s and meals are created under the direct supervision of a New York State registered dietitian. Special dietary needs are accommodated.

 

Are there any added fees of any kind that I need to consider?

Many assisted living communities charge an entry or community fee. This is usually 30, 45, or 60 days times the total daily fee.  It can add up to thousands of dollars! Be sure to ask.

At Kendal on Hudson we do not change any added fees.  There is no community or entry fee and medication management, as well as all assistance with personal care, are included in the daily rate.

 

At what point would I have to leave the community based on my needs?

In New York State, there are various licenses for assisted living communities regulated by the Department of Health. Be sure to ask which license they have in place and what care is provided and allowed within the regulations. Do they provide assistance with one person transfers, with chronic immobility, with incontinence management?

At Kendal on Hudson, we have the EALR – Enhanced Assisted Living Residence license, which includes assistance with one-person transfers, wheelchair mobility, medical equipment and incontinence management.