An open letter District 19 legislators:
My husband, Harrison Smith, spent the last 15 months of his life, bed-bound, at the Circle of Life adult family home in Long Beach. He died there on Oct. 25, 2012. It cost me $3,000 a month, but was well worth it because of the intimate home setting, great food and excellent care he was given. All the meals are home made, using nutritious food. Fortunately it was only 2.2 miles from our home and I could go see him everyday.
In talking to Andrea Noonan, the owner, she told me about the increasing fees adult family homes are being required to pay. She said it used to be $100 per home. She has two houses, each holding six residents. Now the price is $175 per bed and it is going up to $300 per bed! This kind of increase could drive many such places out of business. We need more of them, not less.
These adult foster homes are so much better for the residents than a nursing home in many ways. They are not so institutional, the residents get much better care as there are only six of them in each home with two or three caregivers looking out for them, instead of 10 to one, which is often the case in nursing homes. They are also less expensive for the families. I was looking at a place in Astoria before I found the Circle of Life. It is a huge, multi-story building with scores of residents. It would have cost me $6,000 a month to place my husband there and, being 25 miles away, I would only have been able to visit him one or two times a week. Andrea also told me that the background checks for potential caregivers is expensive. I believe background checks are essential, but it sounded like they were a bit over the top.
I would like you to do whatever you can to educate our lawmakers about the importance of supporting the smaller adult family homes.
Thank you for your consideration on this matter.