Family Members' Views: What is Quality in Assisted Living Facilities Providing Care to People with Dementia?. 3.1 Characteristics of the Focus Group Participants


As noted in the methodology section, we asked focus group participants to complete a short self-administered survey. This section of the report presents the results of that survey.

As shown in Exhibit 2, the participants were overwhelmingly women, Caucasian, and children of loved ones with dementia who were residing in an assisted living facility.3

The participants also reported on the range of monthly charges ($1,400 to $5,000) and the average monthly charge ($2,930 per month) by the assisted living facilities. This range and average rate was probably lower than one would find in a study that did not include Oregon, which provides Medicaid funding for the "service" component of assisted living charges. Other states either provide no direct coverage of assisted living for low income elderly or provide limited coverage through Medicaid waiver programs.

EXHIBIT 2. Results of Focus Group Participant Survey
Characteristic   Distribution1  
Gender Male 15%
Female 85%
Marital Status Married 75%
Widowed 5%
Divorced 5%
Never Married 15%
Race Caucasian 98%
African-American 3%
Ethnicity Hispanic 0%
Relationship to Resident Spouse 11%
Child 74%
Child-in-law 16%
Annual Income of Loved One in an Assisted Living Facility2 < $1,200 16%
$1,200 - 4,999 2%
$5,000 - 8,999 3%
$9,000 - 13,999 28%
$14,000 - 24,999   28%
$25,000 - 49,999 17%
> $50,000 22%
Family Provision of Financial Support Some provided 11%
None provided 89%
Length of Stay in Current Facility 21.6 months N.A.
Monthly Charge by the Facility Range: $1,400 - $5,000 N.A.
Average charge: $2,930 N.A.
Type of Unit in the Assisted Living Facility Private apartment 24%
Private room 37%
Private room/shared bath 11%
Semi-private room with bath 5%
Semi-private room with communal bath   18%
Other (e.g., studio apartment) 5%
Prior Use of Long-Term Care Services Use of any type of LTC services 75%
Home health 18%
Home chore 26%
Respite 9%
Adult day care 5%
Board and care home 18%
Other assisted living 29%
Nursing home 9%
Other (e.g., retirement home) 16%
Family Expectations About Length of Stay in Current Facility Expect loved one to stay indefinitely in current assisted living facility   54%
Expect loved will have to move 46%
  1. "Rounding" of percentages may lead to figures that combine to more than 100 percent.
  2. Five percent of the family members reported they did not know the relative's annual income; these data represent a calculation that excludes this missing data.

Given the typical monthly charge, as might be expected, few of the elders residing in assisted living facilities were poor. More than 98 percent had annual incomes of more than $5,000; 95 percent had annual incomes higher than $9,000; 67 percent had incomes above $14,000 per year; and 39 percent had incomes greater than $25,000 per year. Given this, it is not surprising that most family members were providing emotional and physical support rather than financial support to the loved one in assisted living (i.e., only 11 percent of families provided financial support). We also found that most families and elders with dementia (75 percent) had some prior experience receiving long-term care services, while nearly one-third of the loved ones with dementia had been in another assisted living facility before the current facility.

We also asked a few questions about the loved one's experience in assisted living. We found that 61 percent of the loved ones resided in a private room or apartment; five percent in another arrangements, such as a studio apartment; and 34 percent were living in a shared room (semi-private). The average time the loved one had been in the current assisted living facility was nearly two years (i.e., 21.6 months). Finally, we found that family members were about evenly divided among those who expected their family member to be able to "age-in-place" and remain in the current facility indefinitely (54 percent) and those who expected that their loved one would eventually need to be moved to receive the level of care they would require (46 percent).

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