Where is the care? Nursing home and assisted living staffing shortages hit Clark County

Retirement homes and assisted living facilities are not the only option for people in need of long-term care. For people who cannot age in place but want to live in a smaller, more affordable place than an assisted living facility, there are adult family homes, a home run by a mother or licensed mother who provides long-term medical care accommodate up to six residents.

Clark County resident Selihom Gobeze learned about adult family homes after a friend of his lost his grandmother while she was living in an understaffed assisted living facility, Gobeze said. He thinks his friend’s grandmother would have received better care in an adult family home and it could have ultimately prolonged his life.

“She wasn’t getting the care she needed, and because of that, she died,” he said.

Gobeze, a University of Washington and Lee student, began to do research. He learned that the average caregiver-to-patient ratio was higher in adult family homes and cost was lower. He also learned that they are safer for COVID; in Washington, just 16% of adult family homes have had a case of COVID-19, compared to 100% of nursing homes and 88% of assisted living facilities, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Gobeze was surprised that more people don’t know about adult family homes, especially because they are AARP recommended and numerous senior care liaisons. He wanted more seniors seeking long-term care to know about adult family homes and their benefits. So he decided to take a year off to design a website that could help people find quality adult family homes in their area.

He interviewed owners of adult family homes, social workers and senior liaison workers in southwest Washington while creating the website, findadultfamilyhomes.com, launched in November. So far it only covers Clark County, but hopes to expand it in the future.

“I think Vancouver is a good place to start,” Gobeze said. “I didn’t just want to make it available everywhere. I want it to be a really good website. I wanted to start small. I don’t want to list all the houses that exist. I want this website to direct people to great homes. I want people to find important information about the houses, see reviews, owner profile, important information, and also things like if the owners are vaccinated, if there is smoking, if there is pets, freshly cooked meals, stuff like that. I want it to be as consumer friendly as possible.

—Dylan Jefferies

About Antoine L. Cassell

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