PALS for Assisted Living

Valerie Juleson, our guest blogger this week, is a member of The Transition Network’s Spirited Women Peer Group; a dynamite group of women in CT that I am fortunate enough to belong to.  She adds greatly to the group with her knowledge, strength and thoughtful advice.  I thank her for sharing this vital information with us all today…

I am concerned about the limited housing options for elderly and younger individuals who require handicap accessible housing.  Are you, as well?

For the elderly, the cost of assisted living communities continues to increase, while homes are not selling at the price they once did – house sale prices decreased by over 25% in 5 years.  Many elderly have sold their home and moved into assisted living for several thousand dollars per month, believing their needs would be met and their money would last.  However, they find that the “extra charges” at assisted living and higher level of support they need as time passes causes them to go through their money more quickly than they had planned.  Once that money is gone…where do they live with no money and higher care needs?

They might consider subsidized housing, which was once an option for elders with limited funds and younger handicapped individuals.  But those require you come in as an “independent person” able to perform your own activities of daily living.  The second issue is that the  “subsidized housing” option now has long waiting lists or is no longer accepting applications.

Others have shared with me the statement, “well when the money runs out…we’ll use Medicaid and a skilled nursing facility”.  Please know because of government cut-backs, nursing centers are becoming restrictive regarding accepting individuals, and many nursing centers are at risk to be shot down*.

The reality for skilled nursing centers is that the percent they receive from the government for long term care patients on Medicaid is quite low, and the number of beds they are allowed to have for these long term Medicaid patients is also a low percent of their total beds.  Understand if they are going to be able to stay open and meet salary requirements for their nurses and staff, they will save those Medicaid long term care beds for individuals who came in to them as “private-pay”.  They will not be in a rush to take a long-term care Medicaid patient from the outside community…a person that is a guarantee to be a financial loss to them.

My social work experience in the community for 20 years has taught me that many folks want to remain home or remain near their friends/family, churches and doctors.  Therefore, I want to share with you information regarding PALS (Practical Assisted Living Solutions), a housing option that might not be everyone’s answer but it is worth checking out if you or a loved one are looking for a housing solution for frail, elderly people and/or younger populations that have special needs and might require handicapped accessibility.

The saddest statement I hear in my work is “If only I’d known about this – life could have been different for my family member.”  Possibly the “this” is PALS.  Possibly it is another solution, but knowing is better than regretting.

I hope that by sharing this information with you now you can share it with people in your life who are in this situation or might be in the future. 

*The Coming Nursing Home Shortage – Kaiser Health News…/fiscal-times-nuring-home-shortage.asp

For more information about PALS you can go to their site:


Valerie Juleson earned a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree, with a concentration in gerontology, from Columbia University NYC.

Her twenty-plus years experience in senior care management gives her a unique insight into the needs of mature adults and their families.

Valerie’s goal is to creatively assist as well as educate her clients and their families regarding the aging options available to them, enabling them to make informed decisions about their future.