When you or a loved one needs to find new housing or care options, the choices can be overwhelming. While you can certainly do all the research and make all the phone calls yourself, it can be tiring and tedious work.
That’s where senior placement agencies come in. Senior placement agencies work with seniors and family members to help to determine what type of care is needed and what types of facilities are available. Not all seniors have family members nearby to help them with this task which is another reason why senior placement agencies are helpful.
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How Do Senior Placement Agencies Work?
Before anyone is sent to live in a new environment, a coordinator will sit down with you and your family to assess your situation. He or she will take the following information into consideration:
- Medical condition & needs
- Financial status
- Religious or cultural needs
All four pieces of information will give the coordinator a good idea of what type of living situation is best for you. Once you all come to an agreement as to what type of facility is best and where there is availability, the coordinator will set up a tour so you can see the facility and ask questions. You will most likely visit several facilities so you can compare and determine which one is best for you.
Once you decide, the coordinator will work with you and contact any insurance companies you are covered by to determine what will be covered and what will not be covered, as far as senior living is concerned. This will help give you a better idea as to whether you can afford a certain location. This process may take a little time, but be patient and know that the coordinator is working in your best interest to find you the best and most affordable living situation possible.
After a final decision is made, the coordinator from the senior placement agency will also help you organize your move. The agency understands this is a big undertaking both emotionally and physically. That’s why it’s important to have someone in your corner that you feel comfortable with and can trust.
Even after you’ve moved in, the coordinator will most likely stay in touch during the transition to make sure there are no problems. It is his or her job to make sure you’ve made the right decision and are comfortable.
Things To Consider When Using A Senior Placement Agency
Just as you don’t want to jump into a new living environment, you don’t want to go with the first senior placement agency you find. You want to do your homework and make sure they are not only reputable, but also have a good track record.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Language barriers. If English is not your first language, you may feel more comfortable with a senior placement agency that has employees who speak your language. This can also be helpful if you are looking for an environment that caters to your cultural beliefs and needs.
- Someone who knows the area. Before contacting a senior placement agency you should have a general idea of where you want to live. While you may not know the ins and outs of the area, having a good idea of where you want to live will help the coordinator narrow down the choices. The agency you decide to work with should be familiar with the general area so that he or she can provide you with vital information to help you make your decision.
- Can work in a timely manner. While some people have the luxury of time when deciding on a new place to live, others do not. For some seniors, getting discharged from the hospital means having to find a new place to live as soon as possible. That’s why you want to find an agency that has the time to work with you.
- Familiar with Medicare/Medicaid. Dealing with insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid can become tedious. You want an agency that has experience dealing with all types of insurance and benefits programs so that you can maximize the amount of aid you can receive and minimize your out-of-pocket cost. Many seniors are on a fixed income so this piece of the puzzle is crucial.
How Do I Find A Senior Placement Agency?
If you are computer savvy, you could also do an internet search for a senior placement agency in your area. But, the best way may be through word of mouth. Doctors often have this type of information and can refer you to reputable agencies. Social workers at hospitals and rehab centers are also good sources.
Do I Have To Pay A Senior Placement Agency?
Many senior placement agencies do not require payment from the client. But, many facilities have contracts with agencies and will pay the agency an agreed upon price if a new client is referred to their facility.
This is something you need to watch. If an agency knows it will get a certain commission for referring you to the facility, you may be sent somewhere that is not in your best interest.
It’s best to ask the agency’s policy on referrals and what facilities are contracted with them. If one of those facilities is indeed in your best interest, that’s great. But, if it’s not you want to make sure you find one that is, regardless of any contracts.
In the end, senior placement agencies are good resources for seniors and families who need help finding living options. These agencies have a database of facilities at their fingertips and are familiar with the necessary processes. Be sure to research them fully to make sure you have the right people in your corner.