3 C’s for Choosing an Eldery Care Facility in California

According to the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF), There are as many as 300,000 Californians being cared for in the many 1,260 licensed long-term care nursing facilities in California. CAHF further reported that, In 2014, the “average cost per patient a day for a skilled nursing facility was approximately $238 ($86,815 annually).” With so many alarming stories today of elder abuse and loved ones being left to fend for themselves, I wanted direction from one of the most experienced care managers on the Central Coast, Angela Ettinger. 

My friend, Angela, invited me over for breakfast in the comfort of her Southern California home. Not only did we attend the same private college in Montecito, California, but she shares the same passion of caring for others. Angela is the Care Manager for Channel Islands Fiduciary Group, which provides conservatorship/trust administration and care management. Having been in the medical field for nearly twenty years, Angela was the first person who came to mind for tips to seek out-of-home placement when a loved one can no longer can care for themselves.  Ms. Ettinger gave me 3 essential principals to secure the best care facility possible. 

1. Contact a Fiduciary

Ms. Ettinger relayed that fiduciary firms are the best resource for selecting a care facility, because they have a working relationship with the facilities, the employees, and are experienced navigating through the process of placing someone at the appropriate level of care. When asked how she chooses a care facility for her clients, Angela responded, “My rule of thumb is asking myself ‘would I place my mom or dad here if I had to?’ They’re not just a client, they’re a person. My job is to make sure they are comfortable and safe and well-taken of.” 



 2. Call Care Facilities using Online Searches

Angela recommended searching the internet for a thorough list of care facilities in your area. These websites will contain all the information required to locate the proper placement for your loved one: cost, level of care, services, programs offered, and if they are a Medicare provider. If you do not have a fiduciary, you will want to schedule an appointment to take a tour of the facilities. Do not be afraid to communicate and specific needs or concerns. Therefore, it is best to have a list of questions prepared prior to your tour. This will make your visit more efficient and you will have a chance to address the topics of most interest to you and your dependent adult. Also, ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers if they recommend a care facility which they have been satisfied with placing a loved one. 

3. Characteristics of Quality Care

In order to assess a satisfactory level of care, Ms. Ettinger indicates one should observe if the following characteristics are present: Continuity and longevity of administrators, management and caregivers. She also mentioned that the presence of activities and programs for residents is important and something to look for when selecting a care facility. Along with that, look to see if the staff are attentive to the residents and appear receptive to open communication with the family members in charge of the patient. Next, Ms. Ettinger said once your loved one has been placed in the appropriate residence, be sure to observe if the staff is attentive to the resident, daily needs are met, and good hygiene maintained. Also, check in to make sure that your loved one is present at meals, and participating in activities as desired. Ms. Ettinger ended by saying, “Ultimately, you want to find a facility where your loved one is comfortable with the environment, with the staff, and where open communication is encouraged.”

If you or someone you know has further questions concerning care facilities, Ms. Ettinger can be contacted at angela@cifiduciarygroup.com or visit http://www.cifiduciarygroup.com

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Tackling Alzheimer’s Disease

I’m enjoying my iced tea a few weeks ago with a friend and her colleague on a sunny southern California day. My friend, Courtney Desoto, mentioned that June was Alzheimer’s Disease awareness month. She knows this because her firm serves and coordinates care for the elderly and dependent adults, many of which suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. She shared with me what this disease looks like in a real life scenario. Desoto told me a true story about an elderly man who suffered just the beginning signs of the disease: change in personality and irrational behavior. This man’s family was unaware of the onset of the disease and the gentleman fell prey to a scam which convinced him he was the winner of a $30,000 car. The man was persuaded to handover $100,000 from his retirement in order to secure his “winnings.” By the time the bank caught on to the multiple bank transfers, there was nothing that could be done, because he did not have proper protection such as conservatorship or trust. This now frail elderly man, who had worked hard his whole life, was left without any savings and not able to make ends meet for basic living necessities. Courtney’s tender heart and intellect fuels her passion for her work. I asked, what I can do to help out since I missed Alzheimer’s Awareness month. Courtney encouraged me to buy a ticket to the local Alzheimer’s Association Blonde Vs Brunettes all-female flag football game this summer on July 18th. She put me in contact with the Brunette’s Team quarterback, Felicia Rueff, #3. 

I met with Felicia to get more information about what Blondes Vs Brunettes Football Game. Felicia enthusiastically shared that each member of both teams is required to raise a minimum of $500 for the Alzheimer’s Association which benefits the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Felicia mentioned that all of us know someone who is or was affected by the disease and that, as of yet, there is no cure. She said this friendly rivalry is also a fun way to get the community involved to settle the battle of who is superior…blondes or brunettes? Apparently, red-heads are a wild card who can play on either team. This event began in 2005 in Washington DC and has branched out to cities nationwide. This concept was designed to attract the spirit of young leaders in the community to get involved in a condition which primarily affects the elderly. The game will take place this Saturday, July 18 (11:00 a.m.) at the beautiful Santa Barbara Polo Club fields in Carpinteria, California. There will be a DJ along with promotional booths. There will be a tailgate party before the game and an after-party will ensue following the victory. For more information go online and visit Blondes Vs Brunettes act.alz.org . Let’s tackle Alzheimer’s Disease together!
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