To help senior adults avoid potentially costly mistakes, Fair Haven recently hosted a panel seminar covering a variety of topics related to retirement services and payment options. In Part One of this 2-part series, you’ll find information related to senior placement services, home care agencies, and long-term care policies.  Part Two next month will cover retirement community options, Medicare, Medicaid, and VA benefits.

Senior Placement Services

Did you know that there are companies that can provide senior placement services for free? The communities agree to pay a referral fee. Shawn Barnes, owner of a senior placement service company called CarePatrol of North & Central Alabama, shared some of the services that senior placement companies can provide:

1) Pre-screening of all communities in their network.

2) Meet with seniors and/or their family members to discover their wish list for retirement, as well as their health needs.

3) Have knowledge of the services and pricing for each community in their network.

4) Can take you on a tour of communities that meet your specific needs.

5) Provide support throughout the entire process, and even after you move.

Shawn explains that not all families are nearby to help their loved one with the task of locating appropriate senior living options. In addition, seniors and their families may not be familiar with the types of services offered at each community, and could waste precious time making phone calls and touring communities that may not even be able to meet their needs. 

Before choosing a senior placement services agency, Shawn cautions that you should make sure you are working with a reputable company. Ask the representative for references and check online for reviews, if available. Making a move is a very important decision, and you need to trust that the person and the company representing you has your best interests at heart.

Home Care Agencies

Some seniors would prefer to remain in their own home and bring in the additional care they need under their own roof for as long as possible. If continual care around the clock is not necessary, a home care provider might be a good option for you.

Ryan Robnett, owner of ComForCare, a home care agency in Birmingham, Alabama, gave answers about some of the benefits a home care agency can provide:

1) One-on-one attention tailored to meet your unique needs and preferences.

2) Remaining in the comfort of your home or the home of a family member.

3) You have a direct choice about the person who will be providing the care. 

4) Other tasks, such as light housekeeping, laundry, shopping, errands and other non-medical services are often part of the services offered.

5) Can provide additional support inside a retirement community as well as at home.

Ryan explained that in-home care may not be the best option for individuals who have little or no family support, or for those who have complex medical conditions requiring around-the-clock support. As for paying for home care services, most services are paid by the senior or family, but a home health representative can help you review a long-term insurance policy to see if it contains benefits that can be used for in-home care. They can also advise you on any VA benefits that might be available to a wartime veteran or their spouse. Medicare only covers certain costs of in-home care and only under certain circumstances, all of which can be explained to you by a reputable home care agency representative.

Long-Term Care Policies

Speaking of long-term care insurance policies, when you purchase a long-term care insurance policy, the policy usually contains three main factors that greatly affect your monthly premium:  

#1) Elimination period – that is, the period of time where you must foot the bill for the services yourself until the policy begins to pay. 30 days, 60 days, 90 days?

#2) Length of benefit period – this is how long the benefits will pay. Two years, five years, unlimited?

#3) Daily benefit – the daily amount the policy will pay after the elimination period has been met, up until the length of benefit period has been reached.

Keep in mind that unless your policy contains a special provision for daily benefit increases over time (such as an inflation rider), the daily benefit amount you selected when you purchased the policy will be your daily benefit amount payout, regardless of increases in the cost of care since you purchased the policy. Be sure you understand the terms of your LTC policy, and consider whether gap insurance (that is, insurance for your insurance that will pay during the elimination period) might be an affordable option if you wish to have some long-term care coverage from day one. Ryan also recommends that if you have a long-term care policy and find yourself in a covered situation, start using the policy right away – don’t wait. The average length of stay is 30 months, which is typically well within the policy’s lifetime payout agreement.

For information about how to make Fair Haven your or your loved one’s new home, contact our admissions team at 205-956-4150, or send an email to


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