What are the Amenities?
All assisted living communities provide the same basic services:
- Private living area- an apartment, studio, etc. Each community has its own highlighted floorplans, so knowing exactly what your preferences are in a home layout is a must when researching living options.
- All utilities including cable and internet- Some communities offer WiFi, while the majority offer a minimum of basic cable options for viewing.
- Laundry- Some communities offer full laundry services, while others will clean the “flat linens”- towels, bedsheets, etc.
- Housekeeping- typical is weekly housekeeping of your individual living spaces, with daily cleaning of common areas during the weekdays- the common dining areas, recreational spaces and hallways are community grounds and kept up daily by housekeeping staff.
- Meal preparation- basic assisted living communities provide three meals daily. The most important point you can emphasize with meal preparations is VARIETY! Ensuring the community has options available for your specific health needs or dietary preferences is vital to ensuring satisfaction in your culinary selections.
- Emergency services/alert systems (pendant, call button, etc.) and healthcare oversight
- Maintenance and groundskeeping- all maintenance and outside upkeep will be attended to by the community- but often there are opportunities to cultivate your own green thumb by way of private or community gardening areas.
- Activities programs and often transportation to and from errands, appointments, and activities based off-site. These can be a wide array of items- from basic activities provided to keep the day moving, to more exciting excursions to local area restaurants, shops and entertainment destinations- ensuring the community has a full program of activities available and the means to get you to and from is vital to the selection of any community.
Each of our select communities are robust and have all of the above amenities. What sets them apart are the extras: from chef-prepared dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner- to activities to bring some new and fresh options to your daily agenda- these facilities have spared no expense to ensure the options are veritably endless.
- The Legacy at Cimarron details a fitness program to help maintain a vibrant lifestyle.
- Royal Estates has visiting physicians for the convenience of healthcare on-site.
- The Bartlett boasts a family-owned environment to ensure you feel right at home.
- Montevista at Coronado is adjacent to it’s affiliated skilled nursing facility to ensure continuity of care should your healthcare needs ever increase.
Ensuring your community has exactly what you’re in need of is vital to selecting your new home. Of my favorites in this list, I would emphasize the importance of affiliation to healthcare if you have advanced health issues and concerns.
The importance of Healthcare Connections
Each of these communities has healthcare oversight either on-site or, in the case of Montevista, mere steps away. This is an important factor in selecting the premier assisted living communities. Even if your health is excellent currently, we all know how quickly life happens- and when it comes to our health, especially later in life, having that oversight at a moment’s notice can make the entire difference between a positive and negative outcome.
Sounds Great- but What’s the Cost?
So, you know WHAT you’re paying for, but just how much can all of that cost? When looking at El Paso’s best communities, knowing what you’re paying for is vital, but knowing how much overall you should expect is just as important. According to senior living.org, Assisted Living in Texas costs run around $3,500 a month on average- which is lower than the national average of approximately $4,000/mo. These figures sometimes come with a sticker shock- but it is important to keep in mind the costs that are included in the monthly fee- groceries, utilities and healthcare oversight are added into the cost of a home.
Our Communities’ Costs
Our selected best communities start their rates below the state average:
The important thing to remember in regards to assisted living costs is that often services in the healthcare arena are on an a la carte basis- the higher care needs that are required, the higher the monthly rates are likely to be. Things like help with medication management, medical supplies and inventory, and direct care assistance with activities of daily living all factor into the costs associated with living in an assisted living community. Keeping in mind these expenditures when looking at the costs associated with assisted living environments is crucial to understanding the price tag associated with a long-term care environment.
How do I Pay for That?!
Knowing what to pay and what you’re paying for is one thing, but often I hear the same question once we’ve arrived here: How on Earth are we going to afford that? Thankfully, there are many options people look at when looking at the costs of moving into an assisted living community.
- Social Security Benefits- the most straightforward method of payment.
- Personal Savings- oftentimes, personal savings accounts provide the means to cover a variety of living expenses in the long-term setting
- Long-Term Care Insurance- typically, this is purchased earlier in life to cover the eventuality of needing a higher level of care.
- Life Insurance- sometimes, a life insurance policy can be utilized for living benefits in lieu of the traditional beneficiary payment after one has passed away. This varies from policy to policy.
- Reverse Mortgage- this option has both benefits and downfalls, and it is important that you know your own financial goals in the long-term before opting for this selection for coverage of living costs.
- Other variety of benefits: Health Insurance, Veterans’ Benefits, etc. Veterans benefits (through the VA) can cover a variety of long-term expenses. As assisted living communities often provide healthcare oversight, health insurance companies are consulted when moving into an assisted living community to see what benefits may be covered for the facility costs.
- Any and all reputable assisted living communities will have specialists in your benefits options to help you decide what is the right route for you in determining how to best cover your new assisted living community costs.
Why The West Side?
In El Paso, while there are assisted living communities surrounding the city’s variety of neighborhoods, each of the best communities we’ve identified are all on the city’s west side. West El Paso includes neighborhoods like Franklin Hills, Coronado Hills, The Willows, Chaparral Park, Coronado Country Club Estates, and West Hills. These communities are surrounded by stellar shopping opportunities, delicious restaurants, and excursion activities to keep you out and about, and active with family and friends. Nearby there are exquisite golf courses- both the El Paso Country Club and Coronado Country Clubs can be found in West El Paso. Also in the area are beautiful parks and amusement centers to take the grandkids- White Spur Park, Western Playland, Keystone Heritage Park and the Westside Community Park are all located nearby.
How Safe Will I Be?
In an assisted living environment, handing over control of your day to day tasks, the upkeep of your living environment, and trusting your medical needs into veritable strangers can be a daunting concept to overcome to many. While assisted living environments in general are geared towards maintaining independence, knowing where your community stands in relation to the others in the area is important to help with your peace of mind. Assisted living communities undergo inspection by state officials on a regular basis (annual, biannual, or more or less often, depending on local municipality regulations and past performance by a community). These inspections produce reports on the safety and soundness of the communities, and the information provided by these inspections are public record for all to review. While looking at this information, it can be difficult to discern what is a negligible infraction versus a serious safety concern, which is why I can break down each of these communities recent evaluation results for you to ensure you have the most in-depth understanding of their safety rankings.
What are the Infractions and What do they Mean?
There are two different designations for code violations in the language used for the evaluations of assisted living facilities in the El Paso area- “life code” and “health code”. Life code violations typically refer to the oversight of safety standards established by the state. Health code violations refer to the oversight of medical care standards set forth by the state.
As someone with a background in the oversight of these code infractions and their corrective actions, I can not emphasize strongly enough that the state regulations and requirements are VERY expansive and cover items like safety checklists and appropriate management delegation that are so detailed and difficult that it is a nearly impossible task to walk away from an inspection free from identified violations. That stated, the speed with which violations can be addressed and rectified are a good indicator of how minor infractions are when they are found, and also how prepared a community truly is when it comes to health and safety oversight.
The Legacy at Cimarron
The Legacy at Cimarron’s most recent evaluation was in 2019 and revealed 4 violations of state standards. Three of these violations were in the “health code” designation. The remaining violation was in the “life code” safety category- designated due to the oversight of safety code and management. Each of these areas of concern were immediately addressed, and all violations were safely corrected within 1 month of being identified (some in as little as one day!)
Royal Estates had an evaluation performed in 2019 that found 7 areas out of compliance in the “life code” safety category. Each of these compliance areas were rectified prior to a return visit 2 months later.
The Bartlett’s last evaluation occurred at the end of 2019 and found 4 “life code” safety violations. These violations were minor in nature, and each were reviewed and corrected within just one day of the violation.
Montevista is not under the same regulatory requirements as our other communities we have identified due to it’s more independent living nature. There are publicly available evaluations for the Montevista’s associated skilled nursing facility that is nearby, but those evaluation results don’t readily translate over to the assisted living community standards and would not be an apples-to-apples comparison with the above facility results.
It is important to note that each of these facilities were clearly overseen by a skilled staff that was able to readily identify the issues at hand and a satisfactory resolution to those areas needing remediation.
Of the 42 area Assisted Living communities in the El Paso area, the average number of code violations per community was 7.24, with many facilities with over 10 violations per annual evaluation and a maximum number of citations seen was 34 in one community alone.
Knowing that the communities we selected fall below the average number of citations, and also knowing that they were easily rectified citations in a small time frame, allows me to confidently recommend these facilities as among the safest in the El Paso areas.
Where do I Choose?
The important factors in deciding which of our top El Paso assisted living facilities come down to your personal preferences. If your health is becoming complex, a facility with keen medical oversight and higher level of care available may be your priority. If your golf game and excursions are what keep you going, the facilities with the best transportation and community access abilities should top your lists. The beauty of the communities at The Legacy at Cimarron, Royal Estates, Montevista and The Bartlett is that they are all-encompassing, vibrant communities that can meet all of your needs as you enjoy all that El Paso has to offer.