Washington Assisted Living

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

Washington is one of the safest places to live in the country. The weather, although rainy, is mostly temperate throughout the year, especially towards the western side of the state. From the Pacific Ocean to spectacular mountain ranges, to its fertile agricultural lands in the east, Washington is known for far more than you may think. Washington State is known for snow-capped volcanic mountains, multiple national parks and for its agricultural prowess. The bustling economy and beautiful scenery have made Washington a desirable location for retirees and aging adults looking for senior housing and care. There are over 1 million people in Washington 65 years or older. Of the 1 million seniors, many will require care at some point. Assisted living communities, also known as residential care facilities for senior citizens, (you may even hear retirement home) are a specific level of care in a community setting. In Washington State, these communities house 7 residents or less.

What does Assisted living in Washington offer?

Services

Above all, residents move into assisted living communities and facilities to receive help with activities of daily living (ADLs):

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

Housing

Apartments are typically self-contained private living units, which include lockable doors and private bathroom and kitchenette facilities. The fee schedule is typically 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.

Other Services and Amenities in Assisted Living Communities

Transportation options, which will vary city to city; housekeeping, which may include linens. Duties may be performed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis; life enrichment activities, which typically, these include light exercise, social opportunities, or spiritual programming.

Expected Monthly Cost of Assisted Living Communities

In Washington, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $6,000 statewide. The national average cost of assisted living in the United States is $4,500 per month. Washington averages out to be more expensive than many of its neighboring states as well.

  • National cost for assisted living per month: $4,500
  • Washington State: $6,000
  • Oregon: $5,100
  • Idaho: $3,900

Monthly costs within Washington State differ in each city and county. The level of care a resident requires and additional amenities will affect monthly costs.

  • Washington state average for assisted living per month: $6,000
  • Seattle: $6,800
  • Olympia: $4,850
  • Mount Vernon: $5,550
  • Wenatchee: $5,800

How to pay for assisted living in Washington

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.

Community Living Connections For people who are looking primary for Information and assistance line for people facing aging and disability issues.

Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program – Promotes and protects the rights of long-term care residents living in licensed care facilities with the assistance of trained volunteers, the Ombudsman investigates and resolves complaints made by or on behalf of residents, and identifies problems that affect a substantial number of residents.

Adult Protective Services (APS) For those who are looking to contact APS for reports on allegations of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect of vulnerable adults living in the community and in facilities.

Department of Social and Health Services Adult Abuse and Prevention A Department we are tied together by a single mission: to transform lives. Each administration within DSHS has a refined focus on this mission. Individually we have the following missions to transform lives by promoting choice, independence and safety through innovative services.

Office of Insurance Commissioner, Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA)– SHIBA has volunteers who can help you with your health care coverage questions. You get free, unbiased and confidential education and assistance.

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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