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Choosing Senior Services

You and Your Aging Parents
Choosing Senior Services

This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook. Sign up to receive the blog series and download our original eBook at www.hslindependentliving.org

What criteria should I use when evaluating senior healthcare and housing?

The most important thing to determine is whether the facility is licensed, in what category and if they are Medicare and/or Medicaid-certified.

While some states have laws explicitly prohibiting a provider from using the phrase “assisted living” in their advertising, if they’re not licensed by the state as an assisted living residence, they are not assisted living.  

If a provider is licensed, that means: (1) it’s obligated to abide by certain laws and regulations, and undergoes on-site government surveys; and (2) there will likely be more publicly available information about its ‘performance track record’ through state and federal websites.  Here are a few Massachusetts resources:

  • If a provider is licensed as an Assisted Living Residence (ALR), you can locate the regulations governing their operations at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) website. The EOEA also has a free resource guide that outlines ALR services, typical costs, a summary of the applicable regulations, and more.
  • The Massachusetts Senior Care Association (MSCA) website provides helpful information about how to choose a nursing facility, including an overview of payment eligibility, types of clinical services provided and questions to ask.
  • To understand how a licensed nursing facilities has performed, search for Mass. results either by facility name or for all facilities in a given city or town at http://webapps.ehs.state.ma.us/nursehome/.
  • On the Medicare website you can learn how a single provider fares in a variety of quality of care and patient satisfaction categories, as well as how they compare against state and national averages.
  • Examining Independent Living (IL) communities is more challenging since they are not as regulated. Take a tour of the community and carefully review all lease-related documents.

To download your copy of our “You and Your Aging Parent” ebook, visit our website, www.agingredefined.org.

Rachel Lerner, Esq.'s picture

About the Blogger

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Hebrew SeniorLife

Rachel Lerner is responsible for managing all legal and compliance affairs across Hebrew SeniorLife.  She oversees HSL’s Compliance Program and counsels the organization on a diverse array of legal issues that arise from HSL’s healthcare, housing, research and teaching operations.  Rachel has spent her entire career working with healthcare and senior living organizations.  After earning her law degree from New York University School of Law, she worked for a number of years as a healthcare transactional and regulatory attorney in a national law firm.  She then served as Associate General...

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