Information, Resources and FAQ
As a leader in the development and management of senior living communities in Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona, and Texas, Heritage Communities is dedicated to the core values of compassion, trust, respect and fun.
Fun may not be the first word that comes to mind when thinking about a community’s culture, where seniors have serious health care needs. But we want to make sure that fun is never left out of the lives of residents, associates, families, and everyone we touch.
We also know it can take a lot of time, work and thoughtful consideration to select a retirement community for you or a loved one.
We’ve created this Resources page to help you find information, better understand senior living terminology, and get facts all in one place.
We truly value our relationships with current and future residents, family members, and our community partners. So if you have any questions you’d like us to answer, please feel free to contact us at 402-603-0358.
Heritage Communities is based in Omaha, Nebraska. You can find us at:
Questions to Guide You
There are many considerations when choosing the right community. The best way to start is to visit, experience the lifestyle first hand and get more information. These questions will help guide you to get the information you need to make decisions and to help find the best fit.
Finding a community that you can comfortably afford is very important. Many people don’t stop to think of the cost of many benefits and household expenses that are included in Independent and Assisted Living Communities managed by Heritage Management. Please take a moment to review the items included in your monthly fee and compare the value below!
The Senior Living Search: Key Questions for Making an Informed Choice
Lifestyle Options in Senior Living Communities
What is Independent Living?
Some Independent Living options are identified as “free-standing IL” or “rental IL.” Generally, rental or free-standing Independent Living communities require a monthly fee and a low or no deposit.
When an Independent Living community only offers rental residences (usually apartments), they generally do not offer any access to on-site health care or Assisted Living services. Free-standing Independent Living options may also offer limited meal plans and few amenities.
Then there are Independent Living communities that exist as part of a multiservice retirement community. Most Independent Living communities offer restaurant-style meal plans and a more complete array of services and amenities.
Should one’s needs change, many Independent Living communities welcome their residents to hire “at-home care” to provide caregiving or low-level medical assistance in their own residence.
What is the difference between Assisted Living and Memory Care?
Assisted Living communities provide assistance, as needed, with activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are generally considered to be bathing/grooming, medication reminders or assistance with medication administration, dressing/undressing, eating/meal prep, safe restroom use/continence, walking – with or without assistance – and safe and functional transferring.
In most Assisted Living communities, prospective residents are assessed by a qualified staff person to determine what level of care they will require. That required level of care determines the monthly fee each resident pays in Assisted Living.
For the most part, care in Assisted Living communities is provided by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and medication management technicians (med techs).
In most Assisted Living communities, residents do not necessarily have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They may have some low-level memory impairments, but not enough to require Memory Care services.
Memory Care communities provide a secure, physically safe, and emotionally and socially supportive environment to residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory Care offers very low resident-to-caregiver ratios. The mental, physical and social well-being of each resident is of paramount importance in Memory Care communities.
The main objective of Memory Care services is to help residents remain as independent as possible while reducing frustration and confusion with daily memory impairments.
Caregivers work closely with residents to help them:
· Maintain or improve physical health
· Derive comfort from enjoyable routines
· Engage with activities and people
· Enjoy a meaningful role in the community
· Improve their self-esteem
· Choose opportunities to contribute to their environment
Heritage Communities welcomes new residents with an individualized Memory Care Plan, which helps them experience more successful moments throughout each day. Just like in Assisted Living, prospective Memory Care residents will be assessed by a qualified staff person to determine what level of care they will require.
For more information on knowing when it’s the right time to transition from Assisted Living to Memory Care, read this informative blog post: https://www.heritage-communities.com/2021/07/13/when-to-transition-from-assisted-living-to-memory-care/
How do I choose an Assisted Living community?
Plan Now for the Future:
Let’s face it. Transitioning into retirement living can seem quite challenging. However, as with many major life events – going to college, planning a wedding, having children, starting a business – big decisions are much easier with advance planning.
The smartest first step is to get a good handle on your finances and determine a budget for your retirement plan. If that seems daunting, there are plenty of local financial planners who cater to helping adults evaluate and plan their retirement.
It’s also a very wise idea to go ahead and visit Assisted Living facilities in the location you might want to retire. Perhaps you can visit family or friends who have already retired to a community setting. They will be terrific resources for you to ask questions and learn about various retirement options before you are ready to retire. It will answer many questions and help you decide what your priorities are.
The first consideration most seniors and their families address is where you or your loved one wants to live. Close to their current home? Close to adult children? Perhaps they want an entirely new destination? This is the place to start because location will influence other aspects of your search. You can easily find what the cost range is of various Assisted Living communities by state with a simple online search.
How to Pay:
One of the top considerations of choosing an Assisted Living community is cost. You want to avoid falling in love with a community you or your family cannot afford. Like buying a home, the general cost of living in a state, region or city will drive retirement living costs. Retiring in Omaha will certainly cost less than retiring in Miami.
Work with a financial planner to get a clear picture of current assets to create a budget. Believe it or not, most people don’t realize there are many ways to pay for retirement living. Take a moment to read our blog post, How To Pay For Assisted Living: Five Ways You Haven’t Thought Of. You might also find this guide quite helpful: https://info.heritage-communities.com/corp-senior-funding-guide
Visit Communities in Person
You can read online reviews. You can talk with friends, family and neighbors. But this decision is too important to put anything ahead of touring several Assisted Living communities in the location you or your loved one desire.
It’s OK if you and your spouse or you and your children have differing opinions. Different opinions can help you evaluate your options and consider what is most important to you.
When You Visit, Remember These Tips!
Be Open to Meeting Residents: As the marketing representative if they would be willing to introduce you to a few residents, so that you can hear their stories of coming to that particular community. Bring a list of questions you’d like to ask.
Talk to staff: Employees who seem to enjoy their work and have a good rapport with residents are proof of a caring environment. Observe staff members who aren’t a part of your tour to see how they interact with residents.
Enjoy a meal: Food choices, food quality and dining services are incredibly important to today’s seniors. If you don’t like the food when you’re visiting, chances are you may not like it any better if you become a resident. If you have the opportunity during your tour, you may want to discuss any dietary preferences with the chef or dietary manager to see how they respond to your concerns.
Be sure to find out whether residents can get seconds or snacks if they are hungry outside of mealtimes. This can make a big difference for many seniors.
Learn about the services and amenities offered: Services are what you require and need. Assistance with daily activities. Medication assistance. Housekeeping. Laundry services. Maintenance services. Wi-Fi access. On-site security. Local transportation.
Amenities are what sets one community apart from another. Fitness classes. Easy-to-navigate walking trails. Dog park. A well-stocked library. Religious services. Engaging on-site events and celebrations. Community garden. Woodworking shop. Art studio.
In general, residents of Independent Living communities must be able to live safely, on their own, without needing care.
How do seniors pay for Assisted Living?
When you or a loved one requires long term care, it’s important to know the various options when it comes to paying for the care you need.
Medicare and Medicaid may be familiar terms but many people don’t know exactly what they fund, for how long, and for whom. The most important thing to know is that they both have physical and/or financial qualifications to determine if you are eligible for benefits. Those who do qualify to receive benefits are limited in terms of coverage and choice for care facilities. Understand Medicare & Medicaid.
Savings, retirement accounts, inheritances, proceeds from the sale of one’s primary residence are all common ways that seniors today pay for at least some of the costs of Assisted Living.
There are several types of insurance designed to aid in the reimbursement of long term care expenses. Veterans benefits is an often overlooked source of coverage for former veterans of the U.S. military. To learn more, click here.
Long term care insurance, life insurance with a chronic illness or long term care riders, and annuities can pay for aging related expenses or provide a series of regular payments to help cover long term care expenses.
There are several types of insurance that can reimburse policyholders for long term care related expenses.
Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) can be used to reimburse policyholders for long term care expenses administered in your own home or at an assisted living facility or nursing home.
LTCI is issued as either an individual policy or you can purchase coverage through some employers that offer group plans. Some life insurance policies have built in benefits that can help pay for long term care expenses or similar types of expenses.