Oregon Assisted Living

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

Oregon is known for beautiful parks and lakes, majestic mountains,forests and deserts. You can explore unique scenery that reminds you why you live in the Pacific Northwest. Crater lake and Mount Hood bring visitors from all over the country. Oregon is becoming a hotspot for new residents, young and older. The pleasant climate and scenery have made it an ideal location for aging adults to call home. More seniors and retirees move to Oregon each year. And as seniors age, some may require care and safe housing. Assisted living is ideal for aging adults who may require some assistance with activities of daily living. This type of community or facility describes a specific level of care, which allows your loved one the benefit of security and peace of mind because they may experience increased socialization, classes for health and fitness and quality nutrition plans. All assisted living communities are licensed by the state, and provide a bedroom and restroom, meals, and assistance with care.

Advantages of long-term living in Oregon

  • Portland is the largest city, a hub of culture, food and art
  • Oregon Health and Science university is one of the nation’s highest quality modern health institutes. Located in Portland.
  • Eugene is home to the University of Oregon
  • Corvallis is home to Oregon State University
  • Ideal climate and scenery. The Pacific Ocean and lustrous mountains make Oregon a great place to enjoy a day trip.
  • St. Charles Medical Center in Bend

There are a variety of care and housing options for seniors, aside assisted living and nursing home.

Common terms that differentiate levels and types of senior living: 

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)- typically include independent living, assisted living, residential care and skilled nursing services all on one campus.  
     
  • Independent Living Communities – provide residents a setting without the burden of home ownership. Residents commonly live in fully equipped private apartments or cottages from a studio to large two-bedroom units.  
     
  • Care Home or Adult Family Care Home- are private residences in a home-like setting that provide care services to a smaller more limited number of residents (typically 5-12 residents, depending on each state’s regulations). 
     
  • Assisted Living- provides housing and supportive care in a community setting, but the residents do not require 24-hour nursing care. 
     
  • Memory Care- a care setting for residents with memory loss or confusion. The community typically has a “secured” entry for residents that may wander. This care can be provided in different care settings depending on the state licensing requirements. 
     
  • Skilled Nursing is state licensed to provide a safe, therapeutic environment for people who require rehabilitative care 24 hours a day.

What does Assisted Living in Oregon offer?

Assisted living communities are NOT nursing homes. Commonly, people group all senior housing under the umbrella of “nursing home.” However, to describe this kind of care and community setting, the most common universal term is assisted living. Some other common terms include: care home, residential care, convalescent home, rest home, or retirement home.

Typical services offered in assisted living

Activities of daily living (ADLs):

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Medication assistance and reminders
  • Eating 
  • Toileting and incontinence management
  • Transferring

Other provided services in assisted living

  • Medication administration
  • Laundry and housekeeping services
  • Transportation (social and medical)
  • Social and recreational programs

Additional activities and amenities may include:

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

Laws and Regulations for Oregon Assisted Living

Licensing

The Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Licensing and Regulatory Oversight, licenses two types of residential care: Assisted living communities and residential care facilities.

Housing

Provided housing in Oregon must meet the Oregon Department of Human Resources specific guidelines and requirements for licensed assisted living communities and facilities.

Assisted Living in Oregon must provide

  • Personal apartment. Apartments may be shared by choice of resident.
  • Lockable doors
  • Private bathroom with sink and toilet
  • Kitchenette facilities with a sink, refrigerator, appliances, storage space and a place for preparing food
  • An escape window in case of emergency

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.

Staffing

Oregon has specific requirements for all employees.

  • There must be an awake attendant on call 24/7 to respond to any needs of residents.
  • A full-time licensed nurse at the ready.
  • An administrator to monitor and oversee all going ons within the facility.
  • Proper staff to resident ratio so that they may oversee all aspects of care within the facility.

Grievances

Considered abuse: all behavior involving caregivers, self-negligence or self-harm that cause distress or harm regarding physical, emotional, mental or financial well-being.

Adult protective Services Abuse Reporting Hotline is available to report any abuse or suspicion of abuse to elderly residents.

If a community or facility is suspected of violating any rules or laws or regulations, a complaint should be reported to the Community-Based Licensing Complaint Unit.

Expected Monthly Costs of Assisted Living in Oregon

The average monthly statewide cost of assisted living in Oregon is $5,100. This is more costly than the national average of $4,500 per month. Neighboring states range in cost for assisted living.

  • National average cost per month: $4,500
  • Oregon: $5,100
  • Washington: $6,000
  • California: $5,275
  • Idaho: $3,900
  • Nevada: $3,800

The cost of assisted living will vary within the state. Some regions and cities are more expensive than others.

  • Oregon Average per month: $5,100
  • Eugene: $5,650
  • Portland: $$5,000
  • Salem (Capitol): $5,550
  • Corvallis: $4,900
  • Bend: $4,850

Financial assistance for Oregon Assisted Living

Oregon Health Plan (OHP)

This is Oregon’s Medicaid program administered by the Oregon Health Authority. There is strict financial criteria regarding eligibility. Seniors may apply for Community First Choice Plan, which provides monetary assistance to aging adults who require long-term care (apart from a nursing home).

How to pay for assisted living

You want to consider your payment options for assisted living, memory care, and care homes. For these services, Medicare is NOT an option for payment.

The most common payment for these services would be out of pocket Private Pay and assessing a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.

Medicaid can also be an option, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

Long-Term Care insurance is also a possible option in cases of chronic conditions, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

For our Veterans and spouses of veterans, be sure to assess Veteran Aid and your eligibility for these benefits.

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 (along with 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.

Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman – The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a free service available to residents, families, facility staff, and the general public.

Oregon Abuse Reporting Line for Children and Adults – To report elder abuse, please contact 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). State law protects the confidentiality of all people reporting abuse and anyone who reports suspected abuse in good faith. The department also accepts anonymous complaints of abuse or neglect.

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon-Elders Program – Caregiver Programs, Case Management, Home Health Services, Emergency Response System, Employment Services, Legal Assistance, Home Repair, Home Modification, Information and Referral/Assistance, Home Delivered Meals, Congregate Meals, Personal Care, Respite Care, Government-Assisted Housing, Sr. Center Programs

Nursing Facility Complaint Unit– If you suspect a nursing facility resident was neglected or abused, please contact the Nursing Facility Complaint Unit

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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