Assisted Living in NYS

Haron

New Member
I am currently in the process of getting my 83 yr old parents into an assisted living/memory care facility. I am finding it impossible to do a side by side comparison online. The best website I've found so far is the US News website (https://health.usnews.com/best-senior-living) but even this one does not allow a side by side comparison. I have narrowed the choice down to two locations that are within driving distance of family:
The Promenade at Blue Hill in Pearl River, NY - small community of about 60 residents that offers both assisted and memory care. Toured the facility and it is nice although the units themselves seem on the smaller side. The assisted living is on one side of the complex, the memory care on the other. A resident can be moved from one to the other if it becomes necessary. The place was very clean and from what I was told, the food was good (also from reviews I've read) The location is in a nice countrylike setting and the staff are all very nice.
or
Country Meadows at Bethlehem, PA - larger community of about 200 residents that offers independent/assisted/memory care. My sister toured this facility and it seems nice but quite a bit larger. There are two stories so an elevator would be needed if on the second floor to go down for meals. The apartments seem a little bigger and have small outdoor balcony areas. Also set in a rural countryside area.

Neither of these communities take Medicaid once personal funding has been depleted which may become an issue if my parents outlive their savings. Making this decision has been such a time consuming and difficult process...

I was wondering if anyone in this forum has had experience with either of these places, either personally or through a contact? Although they appear great, the colorful brochures and the quick tours don't always reveal everything!

Thank you for you input!
 

Sadly, I feel there is no substitute for multiple visits to a facility. They all differ in details, so relying upon sales literature can lead to unpleasant surprises upon actual move-in/living day-to-day.

Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to see if your state rates facilities for health inspections (mandatory) and staff turnover (not all states track this). The last is REALLY IMPORTANT. These are the people who will be taking daily care of residents; many are minimum-wage staffers. If there is a high turnover ratio, it is a very big "warning sign"! In most states these reports are on-line and publicly accessible.

All facilities have pretty lobbies/reception areas and dining rooms. That's just "glitz". You want to ask hard questions, including actually touring the Memory Care section - we even sat in on one of the MC daily activities for those residents. Also, you can't tell what the food is like unless you sit down and try it (we ate 3x at the facility we picked for my MIL before we let her move in).

What kind of medical staffing do they have on-site, and what are the hours/days? (very few are 24/7). What hospital are they affiliated with? How do they handle the issue of one spouse needing MC but the other one only needs AL - ask for exact details. You may even want to ask them to put their current policy into writing for you. Many times facilities HIRE third-party salesforce companies to handle prelim interviews and initial sales meetings. You want to request details from someone who is actually employed by the facility.

Be aware almost all facilities use paperwork that specifies arbitration for conflict resolution. You are giving up your right to sue. It can still be done, but it takes an egregious situation to warrant such an expense as well as time/effort by the family. A couple in NJ sued a facility and won, but they had to go up to the State Supreme Court and it took three years.
 
I have been working in nursing homes since 1996. Over the years, people with no knowledge of what they were claiming, were spreading horror stories about nursing homes. Ignore them! You can't judge every facility by what one person says about where their parents are staying. Over the years, people who "had axes to grind" have told lies about nursing homes because they were fired from one. That's the main reason why these lies spread.. There are other reasons too.

Every nursing home has state inspectors stop by at least once a year. If there is a complaint, or some virus making their rounds like Covid, they come more often. Were there bad some employees working at nursing homes, that shouldn't have? Of course, but sooner or later, they are caught or overheard being disrespectful to a resident and are fired.

Some people find out they don't have what it takes to work at a facility and quit to find other type of work. Those of us that do, have been working at nursing homes for years and love it. We are there for the elderly, and love it. The residents become our friends and family, and become very attached to them.

You mentioned New York. New York has always had amongst the strictest standards when it comes to healthcare and facilities for senior citizens.
At a previous nursing home where I worked, a visitor from Arkansas, was quite shocked to see all of the shiny floors, happy residents, and the way they are cared for. He actually told me these things. It made me wonder what a facility like the one that I worked in, was like in other states.
 


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