Q: Where can I learn about the different types of licensing and which facilities provide what kinds of care? We live in Dallas, Texas and would like to have my mother in a place that offers the higher level of care in assisted living, as opposed to skilled nursing, which she really does not need. All I can find on the internet are various commercial sites that don’t really help other the than to advertise for the facilities. Also, is there any way to find out which facilities are the “best” in terms of care, environment, etc.?
It can be difficult to find information about assisted living communities that goes beyond the basic marketing gloss. And learning about assisted living standards and regulations is also difficult because assisted living communities are not regulated nationally like nursing homes. That’s why we’ve compiled basic information about each U.S. state’s assisted living laws, so that senior living consumers can make educated and informed decisions.
In Texas there are two basic kinds of assisted living communities, type A, and type B. Type A communities are for more independent seniors, while type B assisted living communities offer a high level of care. Here is how Texas’ Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) puts it:
- A Type A facility cares for residents who do not require routine attendance during sleeping hours and are capable of following directions in an emergency.
- A Type B facility is for residents who require staff assistance to evacuate, are not capable of following directions in an emergency and require nighttime attendance.
While an in-person assessment by a healthcare professional would be necessary to say for sure, it sounds like your mother would may be a fit for a Type B assisted living community, which can offer a high level of care, but not quite to the degree of a nursing home.
If you’re looking for information beyond that what’s included in our state assisted living laws summaries, you can contact the local Long-Term Care ombudsman at your local Agency on Aging office, which can be located at www.eldercare.gov. The forementioned laws section on our state pages also link to the websites of each state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Determining Quality and Making a Decision
You also asked how to find high quality communities for your mother. There are a few components to this step of your search. Firstly, I would get a list of communities which would seem to be appropriate for your mother based on her needs, budget, and personal preferences, which our Advisors can provide at no cost. Our Advisors can also discuss their own candid impressions of communities in your area, and you can also check the DADS Quality Reporting System website for complaints and violations related to assisted living communities and other care providers. (Many other also states have similar databases where you can access inspections and complaints regarding care providers.) Of course visiting each of the communities that your family is considering is an essential too. You might consider narrowing your search down to two or three favorites based on your tours, the backgrounds of communities, and feedback from your Advisor. If you are at the point where your family would like to arrange a move, you can make followup visits, including unannounced visits, to help reach a final decision.
We welcome your comments below, and also invite you to submit your senior living questions to [email protected].