Los Angeles assisted living - best resources for this process?
June 19, 2016 4:21 PM   Subscribe

My father concedes that is no longer able to live alone. He has no money other than his rather meager social security. He is mobile, mostly rational, eighty years old next Monday, an L.A. native, quite independent, a daily library patron, and for his small-but-crucial social needs would like a street nearby on which to buy his daily paper and coffee. Is this possible? I wish to help my brother with the beginnings of a way to secure this.
posted by goofyfoot to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Start by contacting the county/city Department of Aging. They should be able to send you a packet of info that has stuff like what the difference is between types of facilities and how to find a good place. Also contact his physician, because often assisted living facilities require medical authorization - especially to qualify for pro-rated fees (be prepared to make full financial disclosures, and if he has, say, a savings account designated for a grandchild turn it over NOW, as it will be considered an asset for the purposes of securing a bed). I found, quite recently, with going through all this for my grandmother that her physician was able to also hook us up with a social worker who not only helped get some in home care during the time it took to get a bed in a facility (6-8 weeks) but was able to facilitate getting equipment from the county for very little money, and was generally available for guidance. You may also want to consider starting the process for Power of Atty. I know that sounds drastic, but it should be done while your father is still able to sign it over. It's also the time to have him specify how much medical intervention he wants should he face an emergency, a directive which will carry over into the facility.

Whether he'll be able to still free roam depends on the facility, but keep in mind that the facility will likely provide quite a lot in the way of socialization. The facility where we placed my grandmother (two weeks ago...) has activities all. day. long. They've got musicians and bingo and cookouts and a bookmobile...she does more than I do! But she's not allowed to leave without one of the family signing her out, because she's technically been "committed" to their care.
posted by AliceBlue at 5:42 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

A Place for Mom has referrals for senior care facilities.

The mother of one of my co-workers got to this point and she moved to a "board and care" home, so add that to your list of search terms.
posted by mogget at 6:01 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Seconding A Place for Mom. We used it to narrow down to a few homes that fit our criteria, one of which ended up being a great place we never would have come across on our own.
posted by joan_holloway at 6:37 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

If your dad has no income except for Social Security and no assets, he might be able to qualify for Medicaid. That said, do not move any of his money around or give money away without first consulting a attorney who is familiar with Medicaid. There is a "look back period" involved in Medicaid applications and if you try to hide assets it will delay his ability to qualify.
posted by jesourie at 6:57 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

No, he has no assets that I know of. He thinks he may own an acre of desert in the middle of nowhere but has never paid any kind of property tax.
posted by goofyfoot at 9:08 AM on June 20, 2016

Your first step needs to be getting his financial affairs and papers in order. Figure out about the mystery desert land, because if he owes back taxes, that's going to need to be addressed. You can probably find out more by contacting the registrar of deeds in the relevant county. Lots of property ownership information is available online.

Gather up all of his financial paperwork--his Medicare and Social Security paperwork, his bank statements, any retirement plan statements, his tax returns, etc.--going back as far as you have them, and keep them in a folder for easy reference. And then get started learning about Medicaid eligibility and the application process here: https://www.medicaid.gov/.

Assisted living facilities are incredibly expensive--thousands of dollars a month. Medicaid will pay for them; Medicare and other private health insurance plans won't. So the quicker you can figure out his Medicaid eligibility and get an application going, the quicker you'll know what kind of facility he can get into.

It can take more than a year to get a final Medicaid decision, and lots of facilities have waiting lists, so it would be worth your time to do some research about assisted living facilities that take Medicaid and calling them to see if you can add him to the waiting list.

If it seems like this process is a full-time job... It kind of is.
posted by jesourie at 2:33 PM on June 20, 2016

We are in the same boat, and I'm going to give you my version of AliceBlue's story.

I brought my mom to WISE on 4th & Broadway and a case worker helped us navigate all the programs available for her and the whole Medi-Cal process. Another valuable resource has been the social worker at Kaiser; if he's part of a similar medical group they probably have the same resource. In fact, after she took a fall they actually presented me with the info for the two facilities that had room and were in her Medi-Cal budget right in the ER. (We declined that option at the time.)

Assisted living facilities are incredibly expensive--thousands of dollars a month. Medicaid will pay for them; Medicare and other private health insurance plans won't.

And they're not always the greatest places. For this reason I decided to apply for IHSS (in-home services) to keep mom at home as long as possible. 24-hour care is available in certain circumstances, otherwise 283 hours is the max. I mention this as an option if your father doesn't need round-the-clock care.

MeMail me if you have questions, and don't forget to keep putting your own oxygen mask on first.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:39 PM on June 20, 2016

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