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Frequently Asked Questions

When choosing a Senior Residence for your loved ones or for yourself, there are bound to be lots of questions that come up. If you’re considering The Sparrow House, please take a look at our list of most frequent questions that we receive. If you still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

What is Adult Foster Care?

An Adult Foster Care (AFC) home is a licensed residential setting which provides 24-hour personal care, protection, and supervision for individuals who cannot live alone but do not need continuous nursing care. These types of homes can focus on care for individuals who are developmentally disabled, mentally ill, physically handicapped, or aged. The Sparrow House specializes in care for the aged (over 65 years of age).

How does Adult Foster Care differ from Assisted Living or a Skilled Nursing Facility (nursing home)?

Adult foster care homes and assisted living are very similar, and typically provide comparable services. Both offer assistance with daily living needs and have caregivers that are available 24 hours per day.  Adult foster care homes are limited to a certain number of residents, and offer a more residential, homelike setting. 

Adult foster care homes are significantly different from skilled nursing facilities/nursing homes in terms of residents, facility style, services provided, and cost. In an adult foster care home, residents need assistance with daily activities and cannot live on their own, but they do not require constant medical assistance. A nursing home provides medical assistance and is more like a hospital facility than a residential home. They are typically for people who need extensive or complex assistance. 

What is the monthly cost?

Paying for senior housing can be expensive and difficult to navigate. Adult foster care is typically half the cost of a nursing home. Pricing varies depending on geography and care needs. Private room rates for Sparrow Senior Living are available upon request. Our monthly rate includes room and board, 24 hour care, food, activities, laundry services, and housekeeping services.

It's important to note that the cost of an adult foster care home typically includes daily care services as well as room and board. Assisted living and nursing homes commonly itemize services separately on an a la carte basis. 

Are there options for financial assistance through Medicare/Medicaid/VA?

Medicare does not pay for any costs associated with assisted living communities, including adult foster homes. Medicare is a federally administered program, and adult foster care homes have no federal guidelines; rather they are state regulated. When Medicare does pay for long-term care (typically in a nursing home setting), there are many requirements and caveats, and you may be required to pay a for a portion or percentage of your care. Medicare does not cover room and board charges, only care services. It could still cover in-patient hospital care, medical appointments, home health care, and prescriptions outside the home, just as it would if a resident lived in a regular residence. 

Medicaid is administered at a state level and therefore is more flexible and likely to offer financial assistance and programs to assist with adult foster care home costs. Just like Medicare, Medicaid can only pay for care services; it will not cover the cost of room and board. Medicaid in Michigan will pay for long-term care in a nursing home, or for home and community-based services through the MI Choice Waiver program or PACE, if you meet certain medical and financial eligibility criteria. 

Veterans can access the Veterans Administration for specific care services. The VA refers to adult foster care homes as Adult Family Homes. You can find more information regarding options for veterans here

Sparrow Senior Living is currently private-pay only. However, some AFCs  do work with Medicaid and other state programs. Please see the resource links at the bottom of the page for additional assistance. 

What are the licensing standards for Adult Foster Care?

Adult foster care homes are subject to state level licensing and requirements; there is no federal standard for AFC homes. The state of Michigan has the following licensing requirements: 

  • Satisfactorily passing a criminal history check for caregivers

  • Minimum age requirement for caregivers (21 years of age)

  • Passing health inspection and multi-tenant occupancy requirements for the physical building

  • Doctor certification of health of caregivers

  • Written house guidelines 

  • Emergency and evacuation plans which are regularly reviewed/practiced

  • Individualized resident care plans

  • Ongoing training/certification of caregivers (including CPR and first aid)

What are some private financing options for Long-Term Care?

Many older adults pay for care in part with their own money. They may utilize personal savings, a pension or other retirement fund, income from stocks and bonds, or proceeds from the sale of a home. Care provided in an assisted living facility or adult foster care home is almost always paid for out of pocket. 

Long-Term Care Insurance: This type of insurance covers many types of long-term care, and can vary based on the type of policy. This is typically a good choice for younger, relatively healthy people. The cost increases for individuals who are older or have health problems. 

Reverse Mortgages for Seniors: This is a type of home loan that allows a homeowner to convert part of the home ownership value into cash. No repayment is required until the borrower sells the home, no longer uses it as a main residence, or dies. If you have existing mortgage or other debt against your home, the funds must be used to pay off those debts first. 

Life Insurance Policies for Long-Term Care: Some life insurance policies can help pay for long-term care. Policies with an "accelerated death benefit" provide tax-free cash while you are still alive. You may also be able to sell your life insurance policy for its current value, known as a "life settlement". This option is available to people 70 years of age and older; the proceeds are taxable and can be used for any reason, including payment for assisted living or adult foster care. 

Is there a waitlist to get in?

We currently have a waitlist at Sparrow Senior Living. Please call or send a message to find out more about being added to our waitlist for a private room in our newly renovated Sturgis facility.

Do you offer hospice care?

Yes, we partner with hospice providers in the area to offer these services when needed.

Additional Resources 

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