8 FAQs on Personal Care Homes in Pennsylvania

Personal care homes in Pennsylvania offer supportive care toward helping seniors perform daily tasks such as grooming, cooking, and getting dressed. They also provide a rich variety of activities, social opportunities, classes, and special events geared toward keeping seniors active, happy, and healthy. If you’re considering moving your loved one to a personal care home (PCH), here’s what you need to know.

1. What is a personal care home, and how is it different from a nursing home?

Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care for people with complex medical needs. For example, a person might receive IV medication in a nursing home. Personal care homes support people who need help with basic daily tasks such as dressing, grooming, and eating. Personal care home residents tend to be more independent and have fewer complex medical needs.

2. How do I know if a personal care home is right for my loved one?

A personal care home can support seniors with a variety of medical conditions, including dementia, limited mobility, heart disease, diabetes, and more. A senior may be happier in a personal care home if they need help with one or more daily activities, feel unsafe or lonely living alone at home, or must rely on care from family members.

3. Are seniors happy in personal care homes?

Many seniors hope to age in place, remaining in their homes for as long as possible. This can become more challenging for seniors who suffer from health or cognitive limitations, or need help maintaining their homes. Living at home can also exact a heavy toll on caregivers. For many seniors, transitioning to a personal care home offers more opportunities for socialization and adventure, less stress, better food, and a safer and more attractive living space. While the transition can be difficult at first, research suggests most seniors are actually happier in senior living communities.

4. How can I choose the right personal care home?

It’s best to begin the search for a personal care home early, so that you don’t have to rush the decision. Spend some time reading about various options online. Once you’ve found a few communities that meet your needs, schedule a tour. The PCH should feel safe and welcoming. Residents should be happy, relaxed, and clean. Take a second person with you on the tour for some additional perspective. And trust your gut. Can you envision your loved one being happy and healthy in this community?

5. Do personal care home residents have rights?

Of course. A personal care home is simply a different living option. Seniors don’t have to give up their rights. They can still have relationships with loved ones, make phone calls, and enjoy their privacy. They can leave as their care plan and the rules of the facility allow. They have the right to personal possessions and to basic respect, as well as access to the legal system and every other right their citizenship affords them. They also have the right to be free from discrimination and abuse, as well as the right to fair notice about any changes in PCH rules.

6. Are personal care homes regulated or licensed?

Yes. Personal care homes must follow all Pennsylvania Department of Human Services guidelines, in addition to local laws such as fire regulations. Personal care homes are subject to regular inspections, and residents have the right to report violations and file complaints.

7. Does one have to give up everything I own to move to a personal care home?

It’s a popular myth that seniors must sell everything they own to move to a personal care home. This may be because of confusion about the rules that govern Medicaid and Medicare eligibility and payments. It’s best to talk to an elder law expert for advice about your specific situation, but there is no requirement that seniors give up their possessions to move. Seniors are entitled to their personal possessions, as long as those personal possessions comply with the PCH’s rules. A PCH does not have the right to confiscate a senior’s belongings.

8. Are there doctors or nurses on staff at personal care homes?

Personal care homes are support facilities, not hospitals or nursing homes. So while some contract with medical professionals, there is no requirement that doctors or nurses be on staff. Instead, the PCH transfers seniors to medical facilities as needed, while supporting their efforts to satisfy daily needs such as grooming and preparing food.

The Arbor Company has joyfully served seniors for 30 years. As Pennsylvania’s premier provider of personal care homes, we know how to give seniors the exceptional lives they deserve. We’re happy to answer your questions, and we welcome visitors. Give us a call to learn more!

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