In service to our amazing seniors—the heroes of our society—MorningStar has resolved to stay true to foundational truths rooted in Judeo-Christian ethics. We call them our Hallmarks. First is our allegiance to Mission. In everything we do at MorningStar, we are grounded and guided by our mission. It’s our moral compass: honor God, value all seniors, invest generously (read more on our website’s home page).
To deliver on our brand promises, it’s not enough to follow a mission rooted in heart. Radiance, which describes the culture of MorningStar, gives us a framework through which we nurture and empower our team to be People of Excellence with Servant’s Hearts.
We start by hiring for heart. If our residents are the heroes, our team members are the heartbeat of MorningStar. We say it well on our recruiting card: You can’t teach Nice. So we hire Nice. Downright nice people with Great Hearts and Radiant Spirits.
Everyone on the team, regardless of role, takes a full day of culture training, a class we call Radiance. Then daily we remind each other of our 12 Service Values, and how we are as much about hospitality as about healthcare.
In offering tender service to the memory-impaired, we train and model the precepts of Lavender Sky, our thoughtfully considered philosophy and approach to dementia care. Ask us more about these brand standards.
At MorningStar, we take tremendous pride in creating an environment where excellence can flourish. Our days are busy in serving others. But the way in which we conduct our work defines who we are as a brand. We are about taking the time to be radically relational—building warm, genuine connections, team member to team member, and team member to resident.
We also want to be known as a company that serves our fellow men as we contribute to a more noble world. For this reason we established a MorningStar Foundation with the intention of leaving a legacy of benevolence in honor of our God through global philanthropy, local volunteerism and abiding support of the Alzheimer’s Association. MorningStar has made an abiding commitment to support an orphanage in Nicaragua and the drilling of water wells in Africa.
MorningStar offers what variety of senior living options?
MorningStar communities offer a mix of Independent Living, Assisted Living and/or Memory Care; see each web profile for specifics. Certain of our campuses also include free-standing casitas or cottages for Independent Living. Accommodations are nearly as varied as the residents we serve, with a wide selection of private suites in a range of square footages—from an economical studio to a sprawling two-bedroom. We also offer companion living for those residents who seek shared accommodations for its social and economic benefits.
What does the tour process look like?
In a word: customized. That is, we want to show you what you want to see, not what we think you should see. Each of our communities is unique in its architecture, features and facets. A virtual tour on our website offers you a preliminary look. From there, if preferred, we can video chat to enable a more personal look-about. But once you’re in our midst, under our roof, we welcome the opportunity to point out the tangibles and intangibles that hold the most appeal for you, and speak best to your needs and expectations. This starts with a relaxed conversation through which we get acquainted. Our role is that of Listener, helping to untangle life events, and crystallize thoughts and plans. We look forward to initiating that kind of trusted relationship.
Will my loved one be isolated?
Early in the pandemic, and given the vulnerability for older Americas, MorningStar communities were locked down like the rest of the nation. The freedom under our roof has varied considerably ever since, given the state in which we are operating and the community’s testing status at any given time. Yes, there were periods in some communities when residents were asked to stay in their suites to the degree possible. But the worst has passed. Most of our homes not only offer residents freedom to move about, but we are reintroducing communal dining, activities, outings, salon and therapy services, and other healthy markers of normalcy. To learn more about the community of interest, please call us.
What are the lifestyle activities during COVID?
In part, the answer depends on the state in which the community is operating. Throughout the pandemic, governors and state departments of health were free to exercise power in how they would handle the virus generally and specific to licensed senior communities. By the dictates of our licensure, MorningStar must comply. Within those parameters, our team is diligently, flexibly and creatively enriching life for our residents, a feat we are exceedingly proud of. To learn more about the community of interest, ask us for a copy of our current activities calendar.
What CDC guidelines are you adhering to during COVID?
MorningStar is respecting as many CDC guidelines as we can feasibly follow (given the evolving nature of those guidelines). More to the point, each MorningStar community is strictly adhering to orders particular to our operating state. By the framework of U.S. Federalism, states have been vested with the primary authority to navigate citizens through this public health crisis. Accordingly, the mandates and permissions vary considerably state to state, and are themselves evolving as the pandemic runs its full course. Ask us more about our layers of protocols and procedures across all aspects of operations.
UNDERSTANDING SENIOR LIVING
Is there an age requirement for becoming a resident of MorningStar?
In our Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care suites and in our Independent Living cottages/casitas, you must be at least 55 years old.
What is Independent Senior Living?
Independent Living is a lifestyle choice within a senior community offering amenities such as meals, housing, entertainment, and transportation for hassle-free living in your active retirement years. Independent Living can be the only option in a given community or one of several lifestyle neighborhoods. Such setting encourage seniors to stay engaged, maintain physical and social well-being and eat a balanced diet.
If I don’t need any assistance, why should I consider Community Life as a senior?
It is common for residents to move into one of our communities without needing any kind of assistance whatsoever. Rather, these men and women seek a refreshing change of lifestyle with built-in companionship, predictable budgeting, activities and programming, and tasty meals they no longer need to cook. Under our roof, seniors enjoy stress-free living, a season that extends their independence given the nearness of care, if ever needed.
What happens if I live in Independent Living and my needs increase? Can I transfer to Assisted Living? Is there a transfer fee?
That’s part of the advantage of having more than one neighborhood under our roof. Of course, a resident can transfer to Assisted Living or Memory Care, depending on the availability of the desired suite. If there is any delay, you are welcome to bring in a home care agency in the interim. There is no internal Transfer Fee.
How do I move a parent with dementia to Assisted Living?
Dementia is an umbrella terms for many forms of brain disease, only one of which is Alzheimer’s. Each type of dementia manifests differently in each person and at various stages. Ask us for a copy of the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s. If you suspect mental decline, consult your family physician as only he/she can authorize the need for a secure environment (if wandering and exit-seeking is a foreseen risk).
If a senior is already in a senior community offering secure memory care, the staff, knowing the resident so well, can offer a great deal of insight in to the mental decline, ultimately helping to make the lifestyle transition happen internally.
If the senior is in a private residence, a licensed nurse can conduct an initial medical assessment and cognitive evaluation. We would be happy to provide one at no cost to determine the particular needs of a senior.
How do I move a parent to Assisted Living?
While many pathways are open to you in securing the necessary care for your parent, a great first step is to ask us for a copy of our Senior Life guide (How to have the best conversation ever with an elder parent about aging, life and legacy.) Call us today for your free copy.
How do I introduce the idea of Assisted Living to my loved one?
Again, see our Decision Guide for an answer to that question and many more related to healthy conversations as we age.
Do I qualify for Assisted Living?
Our Community Relations team has the knowledge and resources to walk you through the qualification criteria, both financially and medically. A licensed nurse can ascertain the appropriateness for Assisted Living through a medical assessment. We would be happy to provide one at no cost to determine the particular needs of a senior. Call us today.
When is it time for Assisted Living?
Please see our Decision Guide for a full answer to this important question.
What agency regulates Assisted Living facilities?
Licensed Assisted Living Facilities are regulated by the individual states. Rules and regulations can look somewhat different, state over state. Call us for help in better understanding the state of greatest interest to you.
Who regulates Memory Care facilities?
Licensed Assisted Living Facilities offering secure memory care are regulated by the individual states. Rules and regulations can look somewhat different, state over state. Call us for help in better understanding the state of greatest interest to you.
Explain your Resident Rights policy as it relates to choice.
Important among the assurances denoted among Resident Rights is the right to refuse participation in any activity or program. We will do all we can to encourage participation, knowing the joys of Community Life and the friendships they engender. But we also respect a resident’s right to choose.
What is the difference between Assisted Living vs Skilled Nursing?
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) had their beginnings decades ago as “nursing homes,” in a time when there were few other options for senior care. Today SNFs are generally more focused on short-term rehab over long-term care, dedicating more of their space and resources to post-hospitalization rehab. Their staff are typically RNs and CNAs, serving residents in fragile and declining health. High acuity is common (hoyer lift, feeding tubes and other complicated levels of care), giving those facilities more of a clinical atmosphere.
Whereas most Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are principally designed to assist residents with 62 years and older the activities of daily living (ADLs) in a residential setting. Life enrichment and hospitality services are as much a part of the day as health care; when coupled with third-party providers, ALFs can ably serve residents through end-of-life. Residents and their families gain peace of mind knowing trained care managers are there to help navigate changes in health. Some Assisted Living communities also offer a secure neighborhood for the memory-impaired (those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia).
Do you offer 24-hour nursing?
MorningStar communities are not licensed as Skilled Nursing Facilities. Rather we have made the business decision to operate only as an Assisted Living facility. Were we licensed for skilled nursing, we would have to abide by a more stringent set of regulations which would limit resident choice and restrict many (by their preexisting condition) from living with us.
However, every MorningStar community has at least one full-time licensed nurse available for clinical concerns 24/7. Please see our Care Services page for a description of how widely we can serve under our Assisted Living license through the additional support of third-party providers.
What is Respite Care for elderly?
Yes, based on availability, within a fully furnished suite. For as long as 30 days, seniors are welcomed into our homes to convalesce after surgery, or to reside while their regular caregiver is on vacation or otherwise indisposed. Respite stays are also a wonderful way to “take senior living—and MorningStar—out for a spin,” and explore what life is like under our roof. Of course, we hope you’ll settle right in and make the arrangement permanent. See our Short-term Stay page.
Do you offer a Trial (short-term) Stay?
Yes, based on availability. We encourage you to try any of our neighborhoods for just a week or a full settled-in month. Within Independent Living especially, you can consider it a Retreat Stay, wherein you sample a life free from cooking and household chores, and a bustling calendar of activities. New friends and adventures are just outside your door.
What’s Companion Living?
MorningStar is pleased to offer Companion Living where two unrelated people of the same sex share a suite, whether in Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care. The attending benefits of such a living arrangement, including cost effectiveness, are fully explained on our Companion Living page.
Can a couple live together in Assisted Living?
Of course! Couples can live together in their own suites, surrounded by their own treasured possessions. Alternatively, suites can be shared by friends who simply enjoy one another’s company.
CARE SERVICES AND STAFFING
What kind of training does MorningStar staff receive?
Every team member, regardless of role, completes three foundational one-day training as part of joining the MorningStar family: O2 (onboarding and orientation), a general introduction to the various aspects of our operations and culture; for most roles is includes three-day shadowing; Radiance (our culture and customer service initiative); and Lavender Sky (our dementia care philosophy and approach to programming). Some states in which we operate require care managers to be certified in both CPR and First Aid; of course, we comply. Continuing education is conducted regularly through in-services and online video training. Our Med Tech (QMAPs) are additionally trained in medication administration.
What is your ratio of care staff to residents?
To ensure that you are not paying for services you do not need, we staff in accordance with the level of care (acuity) of our given population of residents. As residents’ individual needs change, so changes the number of care managers on the floor.
How is my level of care determined?
As part of your move-in process, our Wellness Director will assess your current health, and review your medical history to ascertain how we can best meet your needs. At that time, we will also learn your preferences, as well as normal routines, so as to develop a care plan customized to you, a plan that is regularly re-evaluated to coincide with your changing needs.
What if my healthcare needs are temporarily heightened while in Independent Living?
Absolutely. And we can assist you with these arrangements. Our license does not permit us to extend care ourselves to anyone living in Independent Living.
Define “Directed Level of Care.”
“Directed level of care” is a type of Assisted Living license that permits us to care for residents who, due to compromised cognitive ability, cannot recognize danger and, therefore, cannot respond appropriately and/or cannot express their needs. MorningStar carries this type of license, enabling our trained staff to care for the memory-impaired within a secure environment.
Do you have a medication management program?
Yes, which includes both the ordering and supervised administration of your medications. We have two price points based on the number and type of prescriptions involved.
Can you help me find a doctor?
Certainly, be it a primary care physician or a specialty health care provider, such as an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist. Our communities also have rounding physicians, though our residents are not obligated to use them.
What is end-of-life care?
Unless a resident has a need requiring round-the-clock nursing (including the management of acute pain), MorningStar is honored, with the partnership of a hospice agency, to care for a resident through end-of-life.
What is hospice and do you provide it?
Hospice services offer palliative care and end-of-life care through advanced medical interventions, grief and comfort counseling, and durable medical equipment supplies. While we do not directly offer these tender specialty services, every MorningStar community is in vetted partnership with the best local hospice agencies in our area. In most situations, hospice care is covered by Medicare.
What about transportation services?
We have scheduled transportation every week for those needing a ride to a medical appointments, with two vehicles to serve you, both of which can accommodate a walker or wheelchair. You will be able to schedule your transportation needs through our Wellness team or Life Enrichment Coordinator. We are also provide transportation to organized activities and cultural events at no charge.
How does your dining program work?
We offer three hot meals a day, served restaurant-style (sometimes family-style in Memory Care), and prepared by our Executive Chefs. Our menu changes daily in keeping with the season, and includes “Anytime Fare” choices and items denoted as BrainWise (with brain-healthy ingredients), Gluten Free, Sugar Free, No Sugar Added and HomeGrown. Meals are served by our dining team in our well-appointed dining rooms. You will have a server who will ensure your dining experience is prompt, courteous and reflective of the beautiful surroundings you are in. We also will have private dining for those times you wish to have an intimate gathering with loved ones. In every community, you’ll also find a 24-hour bistro, where residents can grab a snack or beverage any day, any time.
Is there a salon onsite?
Yes. MorningStar uses fully licensed and talented cosmetologists. Typically the Salon is open two to three days a week or as needed. It is a full service Salon, including hair and nail services. We will cater to your need and schedule whenever possible.
Can visitors stay overnight?
Some MorningStar communities offer to family and friends Guest Suites (resident suites not currently rented) for a nominal overnight fee. Ask the Executive Director of a community for specifics.
Can you have pets in Assisted Living?
Absolutely. We are pet friendly, recognizing the tremendous ministry animals are to all of us. Some communities have a weight limit on pets, and we do need to assess an animal’s appropriateness for our community on a case-by-case basis. There are also some restrictions on breeds. We require a one-time, nonrefundable pet fee.
PRICING AND AFFORDABILITY
Is senior Independent Living tax deductible?
Consult a tax advisor for further information or visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Click Here.
Is Assisted Living tax deductible?
Consult a tax advisor for further information or visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Click Here.
Is Memory Care tax deductible?
Consult a tax advisor for further information or visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Click Here.
How are prices structured within your communities?
We offer apartment suites (studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom in a variety of sizes). Their monthly rental fee is based on square footage, location within the building and views.
For those in our Assisted Living neighborhood, we offer five levels of care, established through a thorough assessment with our Wellness Director (Licensed Nurse). Various auxiliary services, both medical and non-medical, are priced a la carte.
Our Memory Care neighborhoods offer all-inclusive services (suite and care) at one packaged price. See those specifics under their respective pages.
What is a Community Fee?
This modest one-time fee (slightly higher for couples) covers the administrative aspects of your move-in, and helps us refurbish the suite after you have vacated the space.
Am I contractually bound to stay at MorningStar?
No. You may move out at any time with a 30-day notice in Assisted Living and Memory Care, and a 90-day notice in Independent Living.
Can I pay my bill with a credit card?
You certainly can through our Rent Café, accessed through our website: MorningStarSeniorLiving.com. Speak with our Business Office Manager to make that arrangement. Please note, a 3% processing fee is levied through that option.
Does VA pay for Assisted Living?
Please see a full explanation of these generous benefits on our Veterans page
Does Medicare pay for Assisted Living and Memory Care?
No. But while Medicare never pays for Assisted Living, it will pay for rehab as long as the person’s health is improving. When you’ve plateaued, Medicare stops paying. In other words, Medicare covers only those situations where progress is being made, and where healing and recovery can be marked. It does not, and never has, included coverage for senior living communities.
Medicare is a federal government program for those 65 years and old (and for certain ill or disabled persons), regardless of income, designed to help them fund certain health-related expenses, namely hospitalization and rehab. Benefits may be available for home health care, but only if certain conditions are met. Medicare may pay for up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing facility per benefit period (100% for the first 20 days) after a three-day hospital stay, if skilled care is needed. For days 21–100, Medicare requires a co-payment. To help cover the co-payment, many seniors have a Medicare supplemental insurance policy. In general, once Medicare stops paying for care, the supplemental payment also will end.
Medicare Part A covers hospice, regardless of income, including within a senior living community.
In contrast, most Long-term Care Insurance policies do cover Assisted Living rent and care. Check with your insurance carrier for coverage options, or ask us for advice about your particular policy. See our Affordability page.
Does Medicaid pay for Assisted Living and Memory Care?
Yes, at some facilities. Medicaid is a federal government program that subsidizes the medical expenses (including certain health services and nursing home care) for low-income people of all ages. Medicaid may also pay for some long-term care services at home and in a senior community. Medicaid sets limitations on the amount of assets you may own and the amount of income you may receive each month before you are eligible for benefits. Who is eligible and what services are covered vary from state to state. There also are restrictions on transferring assets to others in order to qualify for Medicaid. MorningStar does not accept Medicaid.
Does Medicare cover Respite Care?
Medicare does not cover nor reimburse any type of stay in licensed Assisted Living facilities, even short-term. Medicare coverage does include short-term stays at rehab centers, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.
What does a typical move-in process look like?
Each move is unique to the new resident. But appreciating that moving into a retirement community is a major lifestyle transition, MorningStar approaches the move-in with great sensitivity, sincerely hoping to nurture a relationship from the start that reinforces the positive aspects of community life and the new adventure made possible.
Once your family decides upon MorningStar, a deposit secures your chosen suite, of which you take possession ideally within 10 days. Taking financial possession early makes the physical move far easier for all concerned, particularly the senior. Our “House to Home” process begins in earnest with securing the vital information, agreements and permissions inherent to the move including a medical assessment and physician’s plan of care (if for Assisted Living and Memory Care). Some of this paperwork is tied to state regulations depending on the lifestyle neighborhood. We offer packing tips in selecting what’s most important to bring. We recommend to you moving companies experienced in senior transitions. The key, as with any significant undertaking, is communication. We’re ready.
Do you provide furniture?
We do not, with the exception of our fully furnished respite suites for short-term stays (under 30 days). As described above, bringing in a senior’s own treasured possessions is the quickest way to make any space personal and homey.
Do you move my loved one’s furniture for us?
You will want to engage a professional mover to help transport furniture and belongings safely and efficiently (without injuring your own back!). Ask us for recommendations on companies we trust with resident moves. Our community has furniture carts and dollies to borrow, if needed.
Do I need a designated POA to move my loved one into Assisted Living?
No. But seniors are encouraged to name a POA (Power of Attorney) in advanced age given their increasing fragility of health. Formal POA status endows a designated agent to represent or act on another’s behalf in private or business affairs, whether legal or financial. If the designation is Durable POA, that authority stays in effect if the grantor becomes incapacitated. A medical POA has specific authority over the grantor’s medical affairs.
However, a POA cannot override the choices or force the decision of any senior deemed of sound mind. And POA authority dissolves upon the grantor’s death.
In contrast, a Guardian designation is of broader authority. Whether temporary due to emergency conditions or permanent, Guardianship is a court-appointed role wherein a person’s rights are transferred to that of the Guardian.
Families are well-advised to seek the professional advice of an attorney to fully understand these important designations and their appropriate applications.
How often and how soon should I visit after my loved one moves to a senior community?
An excellent question which many family members don’t fully consider. Hovering too near, too often and too soon will slow a healthy transition, and hinder the formation of new relationships between the senior and the community’s staff and other residents. While new environments are challenging, and the temptation to ease the process is strong, family members are prudent to step back and give this social situation time to meld. The settling period is unique for each senior but trust that, in time, the benefits of community life will present their full and healthy colors. Once the senior is settled, families should focus on being there for plenty of hugs and conversation, joining in with the community to make new memories together.
How do I make my loved one feel at home after they move in?
In choosing what furnishings and personal belongings to bring, select items most significant emotionally, nostalgically as well as functionally…the things that bring us comfort and joy. (We have suggested packing lists to aid you.) Considerate of the suite floor plan, arrange these items similar to their relative position in the prior residence as this brings welcome familiarity, especially for those with low vision or cognitive impairment.
Relationally, it’s all about making new connections and trusted friendships with the team and other residents. Ask about our Resident Ambassador program that quicken that all-important sense of belonging. Eager as the Family is to see a Senior settled, don’t rush the process. Give this transition and your loved one space and time to settle in.