Growing older can also come with setbacks such as decreased mobility or even the inability to walk. Some seniors may have suffered accidents, falls, or have other medical conditions that require them to be wheelchair-bound. Regardless of the reason, if you or your loved one are considering moving to an assisted living community, it is important to consider what limitations, if any will be faced.
Up until 1990, there were not many states that enforced the civil rights laws that were on the books for those who suffered from disabilities. When The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created, those who provide services changed the way those in need were treated. Thanks to these changes and the increased awareness countrywide, there are more long-term care, skilled nursing home care, and assisted living options available for seniors with disabilities.
Communities that offer assisted living services are specialized spaces that help to facilitate senior living. They can be large sprawling complexes, apartment-style senior housing, or even dormitory-style locations. Caregivers work with seniors to create a low maintenance lifestyle that allows residents to live out their golden years with ease. An ideal resident is one who is active and generally able to care for themselves. Every resident will get a customized level of care, but in general, seniors will receive assistance with eating, grooming, and other daily tasks.
As we have covered in other blog posts, many long-term care and assisted living facilities fall under state regulation. While this does help ensure that seniors are afforded a minimum standard of care regardless of their stay, these laws still present complications for seniors in wheelchairs. Most state regulations list that completely bedridden residents can’t be accepted in an assisted living home. The same laws state that those who are not able to move back and forth between their chair and bed are also not eligible for acceptance in an assisted living facility.
This may seem strange, considering that the notion of assisted living is to help seniors with tasks they are unable to complete on their own. Not all facilities follow this vague terminology to the letter, however, there are some locations that exploit such outdated terminology to reject residents who are wheelchair-bound.
Assisted living communities are intended for seniors who need limited to moderate levels of assistance. Seniors who transition to an assisted living community still seek to maintain an active lifestyle and maintain their independence. The care provided will be based on each person’s need, and those that are wheelchair-bound will need more assistance than most residents. The general cost of a unit in an assisted living community for wheelchair-bound seniors starts around $4,000 monthly nationwide. It can go up to as much as $8,500 monthly depending on personal selections. Additional services may or may not be included and will vary from facility to facility.
Thanks to newer legal precedents, the practice of denying seniors a spot in an assisted living community due to disability is no longer commonplace. If a senior or their family member is denied enrollment in a facility based on their wheelchair dependence, it can be successfully challenged. Such denial or even hindrance that is due to using a wheelchair is considered a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Seniors and their families who have been worried about finding an appropriate long-term care facility no longer have to worry about their disability getting in the way. Some important laws that seniors and their families should be aware of are:
Seniors who are wheelchair-bound and wheelchair dependent should be able to seek the same services in assisted living as those who are fully mobile. There are instances when assisted living may not be the right choice for a wheelchair-bound senior, even if the facility offers all of the right accommodations.
The age of the senior, level of wheelchair dependence, and even the existence of comorbid conditions may indicate that more aid than simply an assisted living home is needed. Any facility that offers residential care is legally required to be wheelchair accessible. However, due to ethics and safety, there is a limit to how much aid an assisted living caregiver may provide.
Seniors who are bedridden permanently, as well as those who need more than one person to transfer them from their bed to their wheelchair, are not a good fit for assisted living care. This level of care boarders on medical dependence and seniors who are in this condition may find much more comprehensive care in a senior nursing home.
There are many different types of senior living arrangements to choose from. Independent living, and in-home residential care are all common options for seniors. Seniors who are wheelchair users and those who are wheelchair-bound will find that the former options are quite limited when compared to an assisted living community. Many aspects of assisted living for wheelchair-bound seniors should be considered. Most important is that these specialized facilities are equipped with mobility aids, ramps and wider areas that create a satisfying atmosphere for wheelchair-bound seniors.
All assisted living homes will offer the same basic range of services. As you delve into each location, you will notice that many facilities will offer more than the basic amenities. Specialized services can include everything from a comprehensive social calendar to experimental therapies. Seniors who are limited in their movements due to dependence on wheelchairs should take a close look at what each facility offers. A few amenities to look for in a home that caters to wheelchair-bound and wheelchair dependant seniors are:
As we mentioned earlier, assisted living homes are intended for seniors who are generally able to care for themselves, but need occasional assistance. Seniors who use wheelchairs, but are able to move back and forth from their chair alone are good candidates for assisted living. Those who are able to move back and forth from their chair with the assistance of a single caregiver’s help are also good candidates.
Seniors who are dependent upon wheelchairs may still receive any other services typically offered in an assisted living setting. Keep in mind that skilled nursing care and 24-hour supervision are not provided in an assisted living community. Basically, any elderly person who is in general good health, but needs to use a wheelchair for any reason, is a good candidate for normal assisted living enrollment.
Paying for assisted living on top of regular medical expenses can be difficult for many seniors. Long terms expenses tend to increase over time, which can add extra pressure on families or seniors’ savings. There are ways to help reduce the burden of cost for assisted living and supplementary services for seniors who use wheelchairs. Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare along with waivers are available for those who qualify.
Medical waivers in the form of Medicaid are available to help cover the medical expenses of low-income and other qualified seniors. Elderly people who use wheelchairs are commonly able to use Medicaid waivers to cover the cost of wheelchair replacement. Seniors who are living in an assisted living facility who are unable to pay for a wheelchair but can’t function without one are eligible for a waiver. Those who are unable to use a manual wheelchair without assistance also have the option of purchasing a scooter with a Medicaid waiver.
Medicaid and Medicare both generally cover the cost of mobility aids such as scooters, walkers and wheelchairs in addition to other auxiliary mobility services. The good thing about these wavers is that it covers caregivers who provide assistance. Although Medicaid and Medicare won’t pay directly for lodging, it helps by covering supplemental care, which includes services such as personal care services, physical therapy, prosthetics and chiropractic services offered at an assisted living location.
Seniors and other individuals who are wheelchair-bound face daily challenges that not many people understand. Despite the reliance on a wheelchair, most seniors will do everything they can to live their life as independently as possible. Elderly citizens deserve the same chance to live their lives on their terms, be that in an assisted living facility or otherwise. Since the ADA was passed in the late ’90s, more housing options for disabled seniors have become available. With a greater number of seniors depending on wheelchairs and other mobility aids, senior living communities have evolved to meet and even surpass their needs.
If you are in need of help finding an assisted living community for wheelchair bound seniors near you in your area, we have a unique search tool that you may find helpful. Seniors who are wheelchair-bound who suffer from memory conditions may also locate memory care homes for the wheelchair-bound using our search feature.
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