Need assisted living?

Elders who require help may find it in assisted living situations.

Sometimes called Housing With Services, assisted living offers a package of services offered to elder tenants living in congregate housing.

The providers of services generally are required to register with the Minnesota Department of Health as Housing With Services (HWS).

In many Housing With Service buildings, the rent may include a basic package of services and amenities such as:

  • 24 hour on-site staff,
  • transportation for shopping and health care appointments,
  • continental breakfast,
  • cultural activities,
  • wellness programs,
  • laundry assistance,
  • help managing finances,
  • help arranging medical or health services,
  • help making appointments with social workers, and
  • housekeeping.

How do I know this building is registered as Housing With Services?

Find Housing with Services Settings in www.MinnesotaHelp.info or call the Minnesota Department of Health at (651) 215-8701.

What care is provided?

Services that are offered vary from site to site.

If the site is registered as Housing With Services, the owner/operator must write a 17-point contract with each tenant. If fees are charged for health-related services, then the owner/operator must obtain a home care license or contract with a licensed home care agency.

How do I find assisted living in my community?

Find Housing with Services with Assisted Living Designation in www.MinnesotaHelp.info or call the Senior LinkAge Line® One Stop Shop for Minnesota Seniors at 1-800-333-2433. Be sure to consider how the cost of the rental package and additional services fit into your available income and assets. Shop around and compare costs among buildings.

What questions should I ask?

  • Is the building registered with the state as Housing With Services?
  • Is there a rent subsidy? What services are included in the rent? Is a deposit required? How often has rent increased in the past? (A 30-day notice is required for a rent increase).
  • When financial resources are no longer sufficient to pay for rent or additional services, what options (public or private) are available?
  • Can you rent without purchasing assisted living or health-related services?
  • What assisted living services are available? What are the fees? Are bills itemized?
  • When additional services are needed, how is this arranged?
  • Who offers the licensed health-related services (called home care)?
  • Will Medicare or another public program pay for the health-related services?
  • Does the housing contract outline all 17 points required by the Housing With Services law? Is this contract clearly separate from your written home care service plan called a service agreement?
  • What conditions would require a move out of the building or a termination of home care services? How much notice is required? (Landlord/Tenant Law requires a 30 day eviction notice and home care agencies must give a reasonable advance notice of changes in services or charges).
  • Who do I call if dissatisfied with the building or home care services?
  • How is the security of my room/apartment ensured? Under what circumstances would a housing or home care employee be allowed to enter without my permission?
  • Are special diets offered? What is included in the meal plan? What is the cost? Are reservations required if I bring a guest? Are upcoming menus posted or distributed? Are tenants invited to offer suggestions regarding meals?
  • Does the building appear clean and inviting? Are tenant references available? Do employees seem friendly, respectful and cooperative?
  • Is there a system (such as a pull cord or personal response devise) for contacting staff when you need help? Under what circumstances may you use this system?
  • Is there a charge for its use? What tasks are on-call staff allowed to do? Are these staff credentialed?
  • Can persons with dementia or memory loss live in this building? Are escort services available and at what cost?
  • What is the building security system? What are the tenant parking options?
  • Does the building have its own vehicle for tenant transportation?
  • What are the policies regarding pets and smoking? Is there extra storage space?
  • Is a guest room available for your visitors? What is the cost?
  • What special features are offered in this building?

Having problems with assisted living services? Call the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care at (651) 431-2555 or 1-800-657-3591.