Housing Options 101
Everyone deserves a place to live and thrive that’s accessible, affordable, and pleasant. If you’re experiencing housing challenges as you age, there’s a solution for you. Read on for a wealth of information about housing options, including independent living, personal care homes or assisted living communities, nursing homes, and life plan communities. Individuals with disabilities can find additional information here.
You can also contact empowerline directly for assistance with the following:
Help with home modifications or repairs
If your mobility needs are changing, you may need modifications—like adding grab bars and ramps—to help make your home safer and more accessible. If you own your home, empowerline can help link you to trusted partners who can adapt your home at full, reduced, or no cost to you, depending on your circumstances.
If you rent your home, empowerline can help link you to services that can protect your rights as a tenant. You have rights to require your landlord to make certain repairs and to a reasonable accommodation of your disability to make your home accessible to you.
Help securing services in your current or new home
If you need to bring in professional services to assist you in your home, empowerline can help you find options, including if you have limited income.
Help determining options for senior housing in metro Atlanta
If moving to senior housing is right for you, empowerline can provide information on housing options, services, amenities, costs, and facility contact info.
Get to know your options for senior living in Atlanta
Once you understand your housing options in depth, you can figure out which is right for you, whether that’s adapting your current home or moving to a new location.
Is independent living right for me?
Independent living may mean you either stay in the home you own or rent or move to a downsized home or apartment. There are also several independent living communities (sometimes known as independent retirement communities, retirement communities, or senior living communities) around metro Atlanta that may be an option for you if you are considering moving. It is important to realize that independent living means that hands-on assistance (sometimes called “personal care”) or nursing services are not provided. If you find you need personal care, you will need to access it from a family member or paid service rather than from your landlord or housing provider.
Amenities and services at independent living communities vary. Some offer hot meals and housekeeping only. Others offer lots of options: dining rooms, housekeeping and laundry services, social and leisure activities, libraries, beauty salons and barber shops, pools, gardens, movie theatres, and fitness facilities.
Either way—whether you stay where you currently live or move to a community designed for independent senior living—this is a great option for people who do not need hands-on care, or can access that care via a nursing service, family member, or a paid service.
Independent senior living communities are not licensed by the State of Georgia and have no regular inspections to ensure that the setting is meeting minimum service standards.
Paying for Independent Senior Living Communities
If you can afford to pay the full amount for your housing and plan to move into a complex designed for independent living, you’ll find many options. Independent senior housing communities may offer apartments, townhomes, villas, cottages, suites, or for-purchase-condominiums. Costs vary widely depending primarily on type of residence and services and amenities offered. Many of these communities have a minimum age criterion for admission.
If you cannot afford to pay the full amount for your housing, there are several subsidized independent senior living options available. In these settings (typically apartments), residents pay a reduced rent rate. In many subsidized housing units, social service staff are available on site to offer social activities. Often, these housing options require that residents meet age, physical disability, or income criteria to qualify for the subsidy.
Obtaining personal services in your home
To access in-home personal care or nursing, there are a couple of options for licensed provider agencies in Georgia:
- Private home care provider: an entity that provides direct care services at an individual’s residence, including nursing services, personal care tasks, and companion or sitter tasks.
- Home health agency: an entity that provides home health services according to a written treatment plan signed by the patient’s physician in the individual’s residence. Home health services include part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and at least one of the following: physical, occupational or speech therapy; medical social services; or home health aide services.
To search for in-home personal care providers, including their inspection histories, visit GaMap2Care. You can also contact empowerline to help find home- and community-based services, even if you have limited income.
Is a personal care home or assisted living community right for me?
Personal care homes and assisted living communities are options for individuals who’d like some help with day-to-day living. These services are provided directly (or arranged for) by the housing provider. In both cases, individuals receive help with personal services, including individual assistance with or supervision of self-administered medication, as well as other essential daily activities such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting, but do not receive round-the-clock nursing services.
- Personal care home: a residential setting which provides or arranges for housing, meals, and personal services for two or more adults unrelated to the home’s owner or administrator. Download our factsheet on personal care homes to learn more, or use our personal care home checklist during your search for the best living situation.
- Assisted living community: a residential setting which provides personal services and medication administration by a certified medication aide for 25 residents or more.
Personal care homes and assisted living communities are licensed by the State of Georgia. You can search for these options and learn about their inspection history. Plus, residents have access to person-centered advocates called Long-Term Care Ombudsmen to help them resolve any concerns.
Paying for personal care homes and assisted living communities
Residents of personal care homes and assisted living communities usually pay the rent and other fees with their own private resources. Depending on the type of home and amenities, fees can cost several thousand dollars per month.
Individuals who qualify for Medicaid-funded home and community-based services, including the Community Care Services Program (CCSP), have the choice of living in specially-enrolled personal care homes called “alternative living services.” These individuals receive 24-hour supervision, medically-oriented personal care, periodic nursing supervision, and health-related support services.
Is a nursing home right for me?
The first thing to know is that most nursing homes actually provide two separate categories of service:
- Post-acute: sometimes called short-term rehabilitation or skilled nursing; only available after a qualifying hospital stay and only for a limited time.
- Long-term care: nursing, medical, social, and personal services to support individuals who have chronic conditions and need assistance with daily activities.
For further information on nursing home accommodations, costs, and services; read our in-depth Nursing Home Tip Sheet.
Nursing homes are regulated by the federal government and licensed by the State of Georgia. Plus, residents have access to person-centered advocates, called Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, to help them resolve any concerns.
It is important to know that some nursing homes do not have the name “nursing home” in their name. They may use the terms “health and rehab,” “care center,” or “nursing facility,” for example. The best way to know for sure whether a particular facility is a nursing home is to go to Medicare’s page to compare nursing homes and search by facility name.
Paying for a nursing home
Nursing home payment options depend on what category of service you are receiving:
- Post-acute services are typically covered by Medicare Part A for a limited time. Almost all nursing homes in Georgia are certified to accept Medicare.
- Long-term care is not covered by Medicare and typical health insurance. This is an important (and often misunderstood) point. Payment options include private pay, private long-term care insurance, and—for those who qualify—Medicaid and Veterans Administration benefits.
An important note about Medicaid: Most nursing home residents in Georgia receive Medicaid to help pay the part of their stay that they cannot afford. Even if they came into facility paying privately, they often end up qualifying for Medicaid because they have spent down all of their savings. These individuals provide all of their monthly income (except for a small personal-needs allowance) to the nursing home, then Medicaid pays the rest of the bill. Almost all nursing homes in Georgia are certified to accept Medicaid.
Additional resources to find a nursing home
You may also find these other resources helpful:
- Find nursing homes near you and explore their inspection history and quality.
- This guide to choosing a nursing home can help you understand your rights and whether your stay is eligible for payment assistance from Medicaid or Medicare.
- For a tool to help you evaluate and compare various options, download our Nursing Home Checklist.
What is a Life Plan Community?
Life plan communities are a special category of residential communities designed for people age 62 and older, which include all the options listed above — independent living, assisted living, and nursing homes — on the same campus. This type of community is also known as a “continuing care retirement community” or “CCRC”. Life plan communities typically require a large up-front fee which ensures that you will receive a variety of living options and services on the same campus, designed to address your changing needs.
Learn more about Life Plan Communities in Georgia.
Need more help understanding your options for senior housing in Georgia?
Prepare to discover new comforts and new communities or adapt your own home to be a better fit for your current needs —there are numerous options and resources to help you navigate them. If you’d like more information on senior housing options, services, amenities, costs, or facility contact info, call empowerline today.
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