New Jersey Assisted Living

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New Jersey Assisted Living: How to pay for, Licensing and Questions to ask

New Jersey is well-known for it’s long and beautiful coastline, which is a famous vacation destination. There are over fifty resort towns offering a wide variety of fine dining, entertainment and more. The state of New Jersey has the fourth lowest crime rates in the country, which makes it ideal for raising a family or retiring. For seniors looking to retire or age in New Jersey, there are over 260 assisted living communities and facilities. All these features make New Jersey a great place for seniors and retirees to continue their life with comfort and safety. Assisted living communities are a specific level of care in a community setting. Most Assisted Living Communities will provide a bedroom, restroom, meals, and assistance with care. Additionally, the size and amenities of each community can vary greatly and affect cost. While being a good option for senior citizens, know that Medicare does NOT pay for Assisted Living.

Assisted Living in New Jersey

The most common universal term is assisted living. Some other common terms include: care home, residential care, convalescent home, rest home, or retirement home. The lay person sometimes groups all senior housing into the term of “nursing home.” Assisted living is not a nursing home.

What does assisted living in New Jersey offer?

Each State regulates Assisted living communities and determines what care levels and staffing are allowed. Most Assisted living communities provide meals, light housekeeping, and activities program. Additionally, some may also offer support such as scheduled transportation and linen service. 

In New Jersey, assisted living facilities may offer:

  • Dining
  • Planned recreational activities
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) – dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, medication assistance and reminders
  • Limited nursing care
  • Social work services

Housing requirements in New Jersey

Licensed facilities in New Jersey must follow strict guidelines regarding room size and safety precautions.

  • Private rooms must provide 150 square feet or more.
  • Semi-private rooms must have an additional 80 square feet on top of the 150 square feet allotted in a private room.
  • This square footage must be clear and usable space for residents, NOT overtaken or including bathrooms, kitchenette, closets, hallways, foyers, etc.
  • No more than two residents per living unit.
  • Each unit MUST. contain a bathroom, sink, and shower or tub.
  • Facilities must have an appropriate number of toilets to accommodate residents and staff.
  • Smoke detectors.

The fee schedule is regular monthly rent. There may be additional charges for amenities and any specific services. These community settings are terrific situations for individuals who want to live as independently as possible and direct their own care.

Additional Services and Amenities that may be offered in Assisted Living Communities

  • Transportation: Options vary from community to community, state to state, city to city and so on.
  • Housekeeping: Typically, assisted living communities provide housekeeping and linen services. Duties may be performed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • Life enrichment: Activities should be provided for the enrichment of residents. Typically, these include light exercise, social opportunities, or spiritual programming.

Additional activities and amenities may include:

  • Clubs
  • Game nights
  • Classes 
  • Parties and other social events
  • Planned outings

Laws and Regulations in New Jersey

Licensing

Licenses and certification is required in the state of New Jersey, as overseen by The State of New Jersey Department of Health. In order to be certified as an Assisted Living Administrator, you must complete the assisted living training courseand then pass the Assisted Living Competency Examination within two years. There is also a background check.

Admission Requirements

There are no requirements or restrictions regarding admission in New Jersey. Though, be aware New Jersey may discharge a resident if their needs exceed the capabilities of the facility staff. If a resident requires continued access to a respirator or becoming a danger to themself or others, the facility will discharge automatically.

Staffing

  • Facilities are responsible for organizing and administering all training and orientation programs.
  • Every two years, medication aides must undergo and complete an additional 10 hours of continuing education.
  • Personal care assistants must complete 20 hours of additional continuing education and must complete a DOHS training program.

How much is assisted living in New Jersey?

Prices will vary from community to community, as well as the city in which you are looking. On average, you should expect to pay around $6,350 per month. The national average is roughly $4,500. So, New Jersey is much costlier. Typically, states in the northeast region of the country as more expensive than other regions.

Within the state, costs vary depending on the city or region in which you seek care.

  • New Jersey state average: $6,350
  • Trenton: $7,300
  • Vineland: $6,900
  • Atlantic City $5,150

What Financial Aid is available in New Jersey?

New Jersey has two programs available to eligible seniors under the state’s Medicaid program (New Jersey Family Care).

PACE (Program of All-inclusive Health for the Elderly)

Applicants must live in one of the seven counties where the PACE program is available in order to receive any benefits. The services provide a team of professionals which provide thorough social and medical services. The PACE program is open to people 55 or older.

Managed Long Term Service and Support (MLTSS)

This program does not cover the cost of of housing or meals, however, it does cover most basic ADLs, like bathing, dressing, assistance with eating. The MLTSS services are honored at all assisted living facilities that hold a license in the state of New Jersey.

How to pay for assisted living

Paying for Senior Living and Care will vary depending on a few factors. For instance, the level of care needed; the income and savings of the resident; the state and location of the community; or if the resident is a veteran. In the United States there are over 400 programs that may offer some monetary relief for senior care, but often the majority of costs are covered by private funds and family assistance. These funds come from our Federal, State, and Local Governments. 

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 when Looking for Senior Living

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

  • Does the facility have the right atmosphere for your needs?
  • 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.

Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service 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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