Welcoming you..By Carol Fena
The Arbors Assisted Living community on Long Island (Bohemia)
1065 Smithtown Avenue
Long Island, NY
There are five Arbors communities in Suffolk County and one in Nassau County.
The communities have been on long Island over 25 years and there may be one near your preferred location:
The community in Bohemia is in a neighborhood of large stately homes. Although the building looks like a large apartment building, all on one level--sprawling--the grounds were spacious, open and appealing; having a front driveway for easy access to visit residents and having the feeling more of an estate than a facility, and also included a large courtyard for residents to stroll.
The entire facility is on one level.
One of my main impressions was that the resident's rooms seemed more spacious than average - I was shown the couples suite, for my husband and myself, which I found quite satisfactory for two people.
Greeting in the Lobby
The lobby area was very large and spacious -- more like a community meeting area, and even though it was the Christmas holiday time, and a quiet time of year, there were several residents sitting and talking or walking through. There was a large reception desk to sign in. I was asked to fill out a form with no personal information -- just basic things like name, address etc - I had made an appointment rather than just walking in; it was holiday time and I felt an appointment would be better, but it isn't necessary.
I was given a great full-color brochure packet with detailed information, menu and Activity Calendar. The Director came to greet me as soon as the form was filled out--they didn't keep us sitting and waiting long-- and there was an immediate warmth and friendliness that made the unfamiliar lobby seem more like a home -- The Director was great -- had a great smile and gingerly invited me into her office to talk. There was absolutely no tension, hurriedness or feeling that she had something better to do.
You are given attention to your questions or concerns. Visiting these facilities is a good start to deciding to try them out or move in. I was so persuaded after she showed me around that I was sorry I left my husband, who has the memory issues, to remain sitting in the Lobby. I would recommend taking the person who you are looking for, if it isn't yourself, along with you on the facility tour.
I gave her my background information and proceeded to ask a lot of questions -- I had so many. I wanted to know if you had to have a need for assisted living to live there--"Could anyone move in, I asked."
The answer was that some people there continued to work and were very independent but they wanted an easier life which living in an assisted living community would allow -- all housekeeping, meals, medication management were supplied plus many more assisted services if needed.
She said that if only one person in a couple needed assisted living, it would work out. My husband, who has some needs due to memory issues, would receive services that would free up my time to live more independently. One would have the peace of mind of knowing the spouses needs were taken care of. We could live together in a couples suite. The other option being for just one of us to live there, which I wasn't ready to do because it would mean living apart.
At The Arbors if one is in a couples suite, one could go about thei business while the other would receive the services needed. I would be relieved of the care giver responsibilities I now had. That was very appealing to me.
However, my husband was quite reluctant to consider assisted living yet. Even though I assured him I would be living with him, the idea still wasn't appealing to him. Next time I would want him to go on these tours with me.
Update: Since my husband's condition has progressed, I wonder how he would feel today. I believe his attitude would be more open to assisted living care. A lot depends on the stage one is in if it is Alzheimer's dementia.
There is no long term lease here - month-to-month living, no financial qualifying - you just need to know you can pay the monthly fee - this way you can even try it out to see if it is for you.
You can move in, pay the monthly fee, and if it doesn't work, or if you can no longer afford the fee, you only need to give a 30-day notice to move out.
As mentioned already, socializing is an important stimulation at The Arbors Assisted Living and the Director stated it helps those with cognitive memory issues - you will be reminded to join the others in social activities (but at the same time no one insists if you are not willing or interested.)
I found the Director's explanation of dementia very informative:
the focus is off and the person is not retaining the information. They get frustrated. Some signs are:
There were also other more sinister symptoms, which, fortunately, I personally had not experienced but could be devastating to families of dementia patients.
Additional fees for dementia services:
There are advanced packages, at additional fees, above the basic assisted living one to help those who needed more assistance. it was comforting to know that the Director understood this condition so well and could answer my concerns.
We walked through the community areas which included the dining room, lobby and resident's rooms.
We passed a "bistro" area open 24-7 where one could have a beverage or snack.There was a bar area for a social hour.
You could keep a refrigerator in your room for extra snacks.
All on one level
Many facilities do not have this feature, but The Arbors Bohemia does. If you or your spouse has memory issues, it is easier to find one's way - but plenty of help available if they cannot.
The best part: Easy walking everywhere--no steps, no elevators to navigate--nothing complicated.
Residents can control their own air conditioning or heat in their room if they like.
There is a very large movie room with regular movies--again everything under one roof and easy to get to.
The dining room had lots of light and windows and there was a daily menu. They have their own chef-prepared meals.
There are trivia games, mental games and taped books in their library for additional stimulation for seniors.
A look at the Activity Calendar was fascinatingly filled with these types of activities.
Since I am still working, I was concerned that my spouse was not getting enough mental stimulation all day while I was working at home. This Activity Calendar would certainly provide that for him and considerable relief for me.
I asked what the Director thought about the alternative to assisted living--having an aide come into the home and would it be less expensive.
She felt a home aide would not be able to give the comprehensive service received at the facility, and that it may cost as much in the long run.
Another problem was the person may not find an aide they can relate to in any way, and so would not be a true companion since they had nothing in common. She stated one must decide this for oneself and the needs of the individual situation.
The average cost of assisted living in New York State is on the higher side:
Metropolitan Life Market Survey says the range for New York is $1400-$7750 with the average monthly cost being $3806--she quoted my rate (keeping in mind we required extra care for my husband's dementia--fees may vary depending on services needed) at $3900/month plus $750 for the second person.
This is the basic assisted living and includes everything, meals and housekeeping, medication management, shower help, dressing, laying out clothes etc. Please verify what services are included in the rate.
Included in Basic Assisted Living Monthly Fee (please verify as rates can change):
If there is more help needed, there are additional packages. One needs to ask about the costs of additional services in case one would need them in the future.
If a person is bedbound, that becomes beyond the scope of an assisted living facility and requires a nursing home.
They have a respite program. As far as a respite program, she felt a week or two is too short a term to see how the resident would do in assisted living - a respite stay needs a month or so to get the feeling of what assisted living is like and can do for the resident.
I did ask about the program they have called "Heroes Welcome" for veterans. She referred me to someone to call at the Veterans Administration for specific details on the Aid and Attendance program. The Arbors Assisted Living also has a discount for veterans at some facilities (please verify as information can change.)
Everything Close at Hand
One thing I learned: Having everything (all activities) under one roof means it is easier to participate -- in a retirement community, you have to go out to find activities and recreation - but it is all at hand in this assisted living facility:
just look at the array of activities under one roof as listed on this month's calendar:
So whether you are fully retired or still working, The Arbors Assisted Living may be worth taking a look at - there may be one of their 5 locations near your preferred area. Depending on your needs, the locations offer some variation in services.The Arbors Assisted Living is one of those places that makes you think there is so much more to do than you can grasp in one visit .. there's only one thing to do -- give it a try ..now that isn't such a bad idea, is it
Special thing I learned
As I have mentioned before, I learn something new every time I visit one of these communities. This time one of the many things: If two people will be living at an assisted living facility, both persons should go on the tour.