Boomers investigating senior care facilities for their parents now can take advantage of an online tool that presents a spectrum of choices nationwide.
A new service offered by SNAPforSeniors provides a Web search tool that allows a searcher to enter criteria ranging from the type of facility and space availability to specifics such as whether pets are allowed, and find an array of listings in a geographic area.
For boomers who need to find new living arrangements for parents, the Web service provides access to quick, comparable, detailed data, says Eve Stern, president of SNAPforSeniors.
The effort, Stern says, started 3 years ago and has resulted in the site, , and company based in Seattle. Information is culled from available federal and state licensing data and updated as frequently as these sources are updated, she says.
All facilities are listed but they also have the option of paying for upgrades such as a link stating that inquiries are accepted. The upgrade costs $200 a month for facilities with over 20 beds and $100 for facilities with fewer than 20 beds.
The site also sorts out the many different kinds of licensed facilities, Stern continues. For instance, she adds, there are currently 243 types of licenses for assisted living and residential homes. A glossary of terms with specific definitions of state licenses is being developed and is nearly ready to go live, Stern adds. In the last year alone, she says, 60 new types of licenses nationwide have been added.
To make matters more confusing, she says, with the acquisition of facilities in a fast changing field, names are also changing. SNAPforSeniors addresses that problem by assigning its own facility numbers to institutions.
At this point, Stern notes, the industry is not made up of big chains; rather, of the 60,000 licensed providers, nearly 70% are 10 beds or less. Consequently, the quality of a facility can be at issue, she says, and to address that concern, there is a link to www.Medicare.gov that provides comparison information on nursing facilities. In addition, a blog for each facility is planned for the SNAPforSeniors site which will allow participants to discuss facilities. The site also provides an online tour of facility rooms.
In addition to the SNAPforSeniors site, the company also private labels sites for organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association’s senior housing finder and the just announced locator for the Case Management Society of America, Little Rock, Ark. Currently, there are over 40 sites powered by SNAPforSeniors, but Stern says that with the addition of government and non-profit organizations, the number should be over 100 shortly.
Case managers need tools to be able to help their clients and this provides another tool for the CMSA to be a one-stop shop for its membership, according to Cheri Lattimer, CSMA executive director. While a case manager probably has a good idea of facilities locally, if a facility is needed in another geographic area, the site can save hours of time, she explains.
Suzanne Modigliani, a geriatric care manager based in Boston, says that while such a service may be helpful for those who are not working with a professional, a geriatric care manager knows both what level of care a patient needs and has expertise about what facilities are available locally. In most situations, the senior lives locally and a child or concerned relative contacts the geriatric care manager for assistance with local assessment and placement, she explains.
Geriatric care managers start by providing an assessment of the level of care that is needed and then determine whether that care can be provided in the home or in an assisted living facility, she adds. More information on geriatric care managers is available at .