Resources at Arbour Square of Harleysville

Senior Resources Available


Financial

For many people, the overriding concern with moving into a retirement community are the finances. How much can I afford? Are there any kinds of benefits available? What about long-term care insurance?

This portion of the website is devoted to providing information about these issues. In addition to the information provided, we suggest you talk to a financial advisor, insurance agent or Veteran's Administration office to get additional details.

COST COMPARISON WORKSHEET

How much do you currently spend to live in your home? How does that compare to the cost of a retirement community? Most people are aware of what they spend for a mortgage or utilities but fail to take into account all the other expenses they incur, living at home.

To help you compare your costs, we've provided a handy worksheet. Download this form and take it with you when you visit a retirement community.

LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE

Won't my health insurance or Medicare pay for long term care?

Unfortunately, no. Ordinarily health insurance policies and Medicare usually do not pay for long-term care expenses. Medicaid, a federal/state health insurance program, will only pay for long-term care if you've already spent most of your savings or other assets.

What will long-term care insurance cover?

Long-term care insurance typically covers the cost of:

  • Help in your home with daily activities like bathing, dressing, eating and cleaning.
  • Community programs such as adult day care.
  • Assisted living services that are provided in a special residential setting other than your own home. These services may include meals, health monitoring, and help with daily activities.
  • Visiting nurses.
  • Care in a nursing home.

When should I buy a policy?

The best time to buy a policy is in middle age while you're still healthy. Many people don't think about long-term care until they get in their 70s or 80s and their health begins to fail. At these ages, you may be too high a risk factor for an insurer to cover you, or if you do qualify the premiums may be astronomical.

Is long-term care insurance right for me?

It depends upon your situation. Long-term care insurance is expensive. An individual who's 65 years old and in good health can expect to pay between $2,000 and $3,000 a year for a policy that covers nursing home care and home care with premiums adjusted for inflation. You will need to carefully consider your current assets and income. Discuss this with your financial advisor.

What should I look for in a policy?

  • Coverage. Some policies pay only for nursing home care or home care. Some provide a mixture of care options that include nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care. Some will pay for a family member or friend to care for you in your home.
  • Daily or Monthly Benefit. This is the amount of money the insurance company will pay for each day or month you are covered by the policy. If the cost of care is exceeds your daily or monthly benefit, you will need to pay the difference out of your own pocket.
  • Benefit Period. This is the length of time you will receive benefits from your policy. You can choose a benefit period that spans two to six years or for the rest of your life.
  • Elimination or Waiting Period. There is a waiting period anywhere from 0 to 100 days. During this time, you must pay for all of your long-term care expenses out of your own pocket.
  • Inflation Protection. Make sure your policy includes inflation protection. There are two kinds: the right to add coverage at a later date and automatic coverage increases.

What features are important?

Make sure your long-term policy:

  • Clearly explains when you will be eligible for coverage and how your eligibility will be determined.
  • Does not require that you spend time in a hospital before receiving benefits.
  • Will be renewed as long as you pay the premiums.
  • Lets you stop paying premiums once you begin receiving benefits.
  • Has one deductible for the life of the policy.
  • Automatically covers pre-existing conditions if you disclosed them when you applied.
  • Offers choices for inflation protection including an automatic increase in your benefit on an annual basis or a guaranteed right to increase your benefit.
  • Allows you to downgrade your coverage if you cannot afford the premiums.
  • Includes coverage for dementia.
  • Provides at least one year of nursing care and home health coverage.
  • Allows the right to cancel the policy for any reason with 30 days of purchase and receive a refund.
VETERAN'S AID AND ATTENDANCE SPECIAL PENSION

The Veterans' Administration offers a Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit that is largely unknown. This Special Pension (part of the VA Improved Pension program) allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring or other various activities of daily living. This benefit is available to individuals who reside in assisted living communities, residential care homes, skilled nursing facilities and those receiving personal in-home care.

This is a "pension benefit" and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Most Veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension. Any War Veteran with 90 days of active duty with at least one day during active War time is eligible for this benefit. A surviving spouse of a War Veteran may be eligible if married at the time of death. The individual must qualify both medically and financially. Assets cannot exceed $80,000, however many things including their home, vehicle, annuities, pre-paid funeral expenses and many other items are not included in this number. A Veteran is eligible for up to $1,554 per month, while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $998 per month. A couple is eligible for up to $1,842 per month. For further information regarding financial qualifications, consider seeking the professional advice of an attorney or financial planner.

There are two ways to apply for the Aid and Attendance benefit. There are some senior communities that will assist you in applying or refer you to a professional who will complete the documentation for you. You may also apply by contacting your Regional Veteran's Administration Office. To locate the closest regional office to you, visit the VA web site.

Once you apply, the average processing time is about 3-6 months depending upon the accuracy of the initial application. However, the VA does pay retroactively from the date of application. The resident is paid directly from the VA. This program financially assists the resident with paying their monthly rent, care and/or services.

The Aid and Attendance Benefit is considered to be the third tier of a VA program called Improved Pension. The other two tiers are Basic and Housebound. Each tier has its own level of benefits and qualifications. While the objective of this site is to disseminate information about the Aid and Attendance Benefit, we urge you to read an important document prepared by the American Veterans Institute that clearly explains the Improved Pension program, its levels of benefits and the qualifications for each. If you or your loved one does not qualify for Aid and Attendance, you may want to check to see if you qualify for another level of the Pension.

For more information about this benefit, please contact your local Veteran's Administration office.

TAX DEDUCTIBILITY FOR ASSISTED LIVING

You, or the person paying for your care, may be eligible for certain deductions on your federal tax return, depending on the type of services and the level of care you require.

The IRS allows deductions for the cost of housing and meals if you are receiving long-term care in a home or community for the aged due to chronic illness or the inability to live alone. Assisted living residents receiving personal care services may qualify for the deduction.

To qualify, you must require assistance with at least two activities of daily living (such as eating, toileting, transferring, bathing and dressing), and a physician must certify that you have been unable to perform these functions without assistance for at least 90 days.

The same deduction can be used for people who require substantial supervision to maintain their health and safety because of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease.

An adult child paying for their parents' care may also qualify for the tax deduction, if the parent is a dependent.

For a parent to qualify as a dependent, he or she must:

  • Be related to the child or have lived with the child for the entire year as a member of the household;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico, for some part of the calendar year in which the tax year began; and the child must have provided over half of the total support for the parent for the calendar year.

Tax deductions can be a useful way to alleviate the cost of care. However, please note that Heritage Senior Living does not provide tax advice for its residents, potential residents, or families, and this information should not be considered as such.

For more information about possible deductions, please consult with a tax adviser.

Sky view of Arbour Square of Harleysville

Frequently Asked Questions

The following list of frequently asked questions about assisted living/personal care, retirement living, and services for people with Alzheimer's disease and other memory impairments may be helpful in making a decision about one of these senior living options for you or your loved one.

What is assisted living or personal care and why might it be a better option than in-home care?

Assisted living/personal care is much like in-home care in that both offer non-medical services. Both provide services like assistance with activities of daily living, bathing, grooming and dressing, transportation to medical offices and shopping, medication reminders and meal preparation.

Working with an in-home care agency is the best way to find an in-home caregiver because they will usually take care of the business side, such as conducting criminal background checks of employees, providing insurance, managing payroll taxes and maintaining support and training of the caregiver – all things a senior's family would be responsible for if hiring a caregiver through private hire or a referral agency.

Likewise, assisted living/personal care communities like Heritage Senior Living take care of business matters, with many other areas of concern, including opportunities for social experiences. Heritage Senior Living communities can also be cost-effective for residents and their families because of Heritage Senior Living's ability to serve our residents as a community.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care describes the diverse range of options that are available to seniors who are no longer capable of managing the complete range of daily activities on their own. Sometimes a senior's needs may be met in an independent living community, where the primary focus is bringing seniors together to provide social opportunities – with the added bonuses of things like meal preparation, housekeeping, maintenance and transportation.

Assisted living/personal care - like independent living - shares the aspect of socialization but might include meal and/or medication reminders, assistance with grooming or even incontinence care. Heritage Senior Living's assisted living/personal care communities offer specialty neighborhoods that serve the needs of residents coping with memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Outside of the Heritage Senior Living family of communities, there are other types of long-term care with various options such as in-home care, home health care, adult day health care, skilled nursing facilities, board and care homes, as well as palliative and hospice care.

Are all assisted living/personal care and retirement living communities alike?

No. Assisted living/personal care and retirement living communities vary greatly, even within Heritage Senior Living. At Heritage Senior Living, we're proud that each of our communities is unique and a reflection of its locale. We believe that unique people deserve exceptional communities, designed with these individuals and their desired environment in mind. This holds true for everything from the building's architecture, to the food choices offered, to the Heritage Senior Living professionals who care for our residents. We strive to offer the best assisted living/personal care and retirement living services in each Heritage Senior Living location.

What are continuing care retirement communities?

"Aging in Place" is a common industry term that, unfortunately, can potentially mislead those interested in assisted living/personal care. Some establishments offer a range of services that could allow a resident to age in place. These are often called continuing care retirement communities, but you should thoroughly question any assisted living/personal care community that tells you a resident can live at the community forever, even if their needs increase. In fact, the community may not be able to adequately meet the resident's needs for the rest of his or her life, or state regulations may restrict the community's attempt to do so.

At Heritage Senior Living, we offer independent living, assisted living/personal care, and programs for those with memory impairments. In the assisted living/personal care communities, we offer different levels of care designed to meet our residents' changing needs. This allows us to continue to serve residents as their needs increase. However, each state we operate in regulates the level of services we can provide to an assisted living/personal care community. Should one of our residents develop needs requiring services beyond those allowed by state regulations, we will assist the resident and his/her family in finding the best location for their needs.

What is necessary for the care of people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia?

One of the most important aspects in the care of a person with Alzheimer's disease or dementia is a properly planned environment. At Heritage Senior Living, you'll find communities that have a separate and secure neighborhood for memory-care residents.

Though we want all of our Heritage Senior Living communities to look nice and feel like home, memory care interior decorating is a science and an art. It's important to have bright, warm and even lighting, as well as carpeting and flooring without busy patterns. Special care and attention is important for residents in memory care. With our specially trained staff, we carefully plan our staff-to-resident ratio and activities programs to ensure that our residents' individual needs are met in a structured and secure environment.

Are new residents required to pay an entrance fee when moving into a Heritage Senior Living community?

In our communities, no entrance fee is required. The only up-front fee required by most of our communities is a processing fee. Because this fee varies by community, check with the community of your choice for more information.

Can I bring my own furnishings to my apartment?

Yes. This is your home and you should have all the comforts and furnishings to which you're accustomed. Heritage Senior Living residents enjoy decorating their own apartments and entrances to add their own unique personality to their homes.

Can I bring my pet to Heritage Senior Living?

We know that a pet can be an important member of the family. Most Heritage Senior Living communities allow residents to have pets in their apartment for a nominal, one-time fee. Be sure to check with the community in your area.

Do Heritage Senior Living communities allow smoking?

We are sensitive to the health needs of all of our residents, so Heritage Senior Living communities are designated as non-smoking. Our communities offer dedicated areas where residents and guests are free to smoke.

Is there access to a full-time, licensed nurse?

Each Heritage Senior Living assisted living/personal care community employs a full-time, licensed nurse as a Resident Services Director who oversees all aspects of care services including assessments, medication assistance and communication with family and physicians.

Is there access to an emergency call system?

Heritage Senior Living's spacious apartments are all equipped with emergency call systems.

What options are there for activities?

Each Heritage Senior Living community has a full-time activities director to design and execute a calendar of events that provides residents with plenty of diverse opportunities for cultural entertainment, continual learning, spiritual development, creativity and socialization seven days a week.

What meal programs are available?

Each community's full-time culinary staff freshly prepares selections daily. Heritage Senior Living offers varied and seasonal menus. Plus unique dining occasions make mealtime memorable. Many Heritage Senior Living communities also have a café, with complimentary nutritional snacks and beverages available 24 hours a day.

Is there ample privacy in the current accommodations?

Heritage Senior Living offers a variety of floor plans from which you can choose either private or semiprivate accommodations with attached baths. With the exception of those who live in our secure, memory-care neighborhoods, residents have their own keys and may come and go as they please.

Is there access to transportation and is it wheelchair accessible?

Yes. Heritage Senior Living communities provide scheduled transportation to meet your needs.

Choosing a Community

Living a senior lifestyle today is not as easy as it used to be. A few decades ago, it was simple - when Mom and Dad needed extra attention they simply moved in with the kids. Today, senior citizens are more active then ever before. Seniors want to remain independent for as long as possible, but they still want the safety net, just in case health problems arise. The question remains - What type of retirement community is right for you?

Selecting a retirement community can be a daunting task, not just for the senior at hand but for all family members involved. The most important thing to remember is to take your time exploring the many retirement living options available today. Choosing the retirement community most compatible with you becomes simple when you are armed with basic information about yourself.

When selecting a retirement community have a few things available, such as age, health, religious preference, marital status, financials, and interests. By having your personal checklist on hand, this will help you in deciding which community is equipped to best serve you.

Active Adult Communities

Active Adult Communities are for older adults who want to maintain their lifestyle, but want to scale down in terms of house and lawn upkeep. Active adult communities are usually rented solely to adults who have surpassed a specific age, such as 60 years. Apartments, condos, or townhouses are among the types of living quarters one can expect when choosing to live in an active adult community. Keep in mind, this type of community usually does not offer meal service and structured activities.

Independent Living

Independent Living is for the senior who is independent physically and socially. Seniors benefit from this type of living because it is a maintenance-free environment. A person can truly enjoy this particular living arrangement because most everything is available for the senior from planned activities to linen service to meals served in a dining room atmosphere. Residents typically have the option of choosing from multiple floor plans and furnishing the apartment with their prized belongings from home.

Residential Care / Assisted Living

Residential Care / Assisted Living is for the senior who needs assistance with daily life tasks, such as bathing and medication management. The concept behind assisted living is to maintain a person's independence for as long as possible. Living options range from private apartments to shared living quarters and take the form of an independent living arrangement, only with the added benefit of nursing care.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled Nursing Facilities are for seniors who require 24-hour medical care. Skilled nursing facilities, otherwise known as nursing homes, provide both short-term rehabilitation and long-term care for people with chronic illnesses or disabilities that need the attention of a nurse in addition to assistance with everyday needs, such as bathing and dressing. Trained staff are on hand to provide these services as well as daily activities according to the residents' ability.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities, referred to as CCRC's, are for the senior who would like to 'age in place.' When a person prefers to 'age in place,' they simply do not wish to be moved from facility to facility as their medical needs change. A CCRC is usually a campus set up to offer services for independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. A senior may find comfort in only having to move once; they will be able to remain on the same campus no matter what medical needs may arise.

Once you become familiar with the basic types of senior living services available, as described above, you will better understand what type of community will best serve you. Find out what is available in your area by searching the telephone book or browsing the internet. Stop by every community you are interested in and take a tour. Most retirement communities will offer lunch, so don't hesitate to take them up on the offer. This is a great way to observe the staff and everyday happenings. Take your time, you will want your new residence to feel like home and the only way that can happen is if you feel comfortable and secure.

To help you determine which type of community may be best for your or your family member, download our assessment form.

Where You Live Matters

The American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) has a helpful compilation of resources available at whereyoulivematters.org.