Assisted Living in Cambridge, MA

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Massachusetts Assisted Living: How to pay for, Licensing and Questions to ask…

Cambridge is a city in Massachusetts, across the Charles River from Boston. The city is best known for being the home of two world-class universities, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At the heart of campus, grassy Harvard Yard is anchored by the neoclassical Widener Library. Harvard Square has cafes, bars and bookstores. The Harvard Art Museums comprise the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler collections. With two campuses filling its city, Cambridge is beautifully designed to be walkable with classical academia sights.

The diverse economy of Massachusetts makes it a desirable location for seniors and retirees. The economy of the state is the third best in the country. The summers in Massachusetts are arguably the most beautiful seasons of anywhere in the world. The seafood is world famous, bringing people from all over the country. 

About Assisted Living in Cambridge

An advantage to being an aging adult in Massachusetts is the top-tier hospitals and medical facilities. Massachusetts ranks first in the United States for healthcare access. About 18% of the population of Massachusetts is 65 years and older. We all know that as we age some people may require care at some point. When the time comes to move into a new housing situation, assisted living communities offer your loved one the benefit of security and peace of mind. These communities are a specific level of care in a community setting.

A personalized service plan is required for all residents before admission. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs states that a Service Coordinator and a nurse are required to coordinate the service plan and to assess and adjust it as needed. Aside from evaluating a resident’s needs, service plans must include all services that will be provided to the resident ( bathing, dressing, medication management, mobility, grooming, meals), and the type of unit(s) allotted to the resident. Assisted living communities and facilities must provide a single or double unit. There must be a lockable door at the entry to each unit. There must be a kitchenette (access to a refrigerator, sink, heating element). Resident units must have a private bathroom with a toilet and bathtub.

The Department of Elder Affairs in Massachusetts requires that all staff be qualified for the level of care they provide. All communities and facilities must have a qualified manager to oversee operations. In Massachusetts, assisted living communities must hire a service coordinator with a Bachelor’s degree or experience in human services. 

Considerations when looking for care in Cambridge

The hottest month of the year in Cambridge is July, with an average high of 82°F and low of 66°F. The cold season lasts from December 4 to March 15, with an average daily high temperature below 45°F. With a population of 117,090, the Boston area 25 assisted living communities. This area includes Cambridge which has 14 facilities within 10 miles.

Cities Near Cambridge

Boston – 3 miles east of Cambridge

Medford – 4 miles north of Cambridge

Waltham – 7 miles west of Cambridge

Lexington – 10 miles north of Cambridge

Pricing and How to Pay for Assisted Living

The expected monthly cost of assisted living in Massachusetts is $6,100 / month. The Boston area pricing ranges a little higher at $6,700 / month. Across the country, the average cost of assisted living is $4,500 / month. When comparing national costs, the northeast region of the United States is among the most expensive in the country for senior care and housing.

It is important to take your time when exploring payment and coverage options.

Medicare – NO:

  • Medicare does NOT pay for Assisted Living.
  • People 65 years and older and individuals with end stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare benefits, no matter their income.
  • Coverage is meant for people in need of short-term care.

Private pay – YES:

  • Many families pay for assisted living with private funds.
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.
  • Family members may contribute funds to pay for assisted living or other senior housing and care.

Medicaid – MAYBE:

  • Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans. Eligible participants include: low-income adults, elderly adults and people with disabilities.
  • Medicaid is administered by state, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by each state and the federal government.
  • Every state has their own individual Medicaid assistance program.
  • National guidelines are in place do decipher how states must spend Medicaid money, but with allowances toward the guidelines.
  • The state determines what levels of care will be covered by Medicaid, who is eligible, and how much the state will reimburse the care community.
  • If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid, you should apply. You may be eligible depending on your household income, family size, age, disability and other factors.

Long-term Care Insurance – MAYBE:

Long term care insurance is a great way to pay for assisted living, and planning ahead is important when considering how to pay for senior housing and care. Nearly 75% of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care and services at some point. Buying into long-term care insurance when a person is in their 50s and 60s is the most common time to do so.

  • Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of chronic medical conditions.
  • Individuals and couples with the ability to pay into long-term care insurance have the advantage of a head start in allocating funds for senior care.

Veteran Aid and Assistance – MAYBE:

This benefit is available to some military veterans and surviving spouses who live in an assisted living community and those who have in-home care.

  • There are specific guidelines, but a veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month.
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month.
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month.

Questions to Ask

Finding an assisted living community, can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on things to be observant of:

  • Make sure the facility is clean and well maintained. You can tell a lot about the operation by noting What is clean and maintained. Are doorknobs loose or damaged? Do you see any frayed carpet or trip hazards?
  • Visit during lunch hour to observe what the residents are eating. Ask questions about the nutrition program. Is there diversity in meals, healthy fruits and vegetables served at all meals, drink options?
  • Speak to residents and/or family members to learn their perspective.
  • Ask about staff and resident engagement. Get a feel for how staff interact with residents.
  • Ask about the life enrichment programs. Activities are crucial when it comes to quality of life and play a key role in care for older adults.
  • And finally (there is a plethora of more things to consider), get to know the leadership in the building. If you feel good around the executive director, head nurse, lead activities director and even the chef or janitor, it is a good sign you can trust them with the care of your loved one.

Local Hospitals and Healthcare Providers in Cambridge

Cambridge Health Alliance

237 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Harvard University Health Services

1563 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

CHA Cambridge Hospital

1493 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Mount Auburn Hospital

330 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging seeks to outreach to older persons and their caregivers, hoping to educate them on services and programs that are meant to serve and assist them to remain safely and securely in our communities.

Age Strong Commission As an AAA, the Commission provides funding to community partners to provide services to seniors in the neighborhoods. The Commission also provides direct services to seniors such as advocacy, information and referral, transportation, volunteer opportunities and cultural and social events.

Executive Office of Elder Affairs State Agency that contracts with local service providers.

Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc. is an Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) providing services to help preserve the independence, and quality of life of elders and disabled persons desiring to remain within their own.

Eldercare Locator This is a great resource to search for specific care in specific counties and cities. This database is a nationwide resource that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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