Toby Mullenger Lifesprk Housing Services

Planning Ahead for Senior Housing Allows Creative Options

Recommendations from a Senior Housing Expert

Toby Mullenger, Lifesprk’s Director of Housing Solutions, has been in the senior housing business for decades. His advice– don’t wait until a crisis hits to plan for senior housing. He explains how too many people face limited options because they waited too long. “They think that when they’ll need senior housing, their top choices will be available,” said Mullenger. “The reality though is that some properties have wait lists, or financial needs could become an issue, and if a health crisis has occurred, the level of support needed may be a challenge.” He adds that when you wait until a crisis hits, you are under pressure and less likely to take time to consider all the details important to you.

Toby also encourages people to seek support from experts like Lifesprk’s free Housing Solutions service who can help uncover financial options they didn’t know existed. “I’ve been doing this for decades so I know the ins and outs of the housing industry and can work with families to find ‘best fit’ options,” said Mullenger. He shared one story of a daughter who was resigned to finding a nursing home for her father because he was running out of money and would no longer be able to afford the apartment he had called home for the past three years. “She wanted me to find him a nursing home, end of story,” said Mullenger. “But I knew that’s not what her dad really wanted. And for her, she was given so much misinformation and not all of her choices were presented, that she didn’t even know what her options were.”

In an initial discovery Mullenger learned that her father was a veteran and suggested they reach out to his veteran rep. What did they discover? Her father was eligible for $21,000 per year through the VA Aide & Attendance program (VAA). Mullenger then put them in touch with the property owner of her father’s apartment and because he’d been privately paying his rent for three years, he was eligible to use the Elderly Waiver Fund and his newfound additional income from the VAA, to pay for living right where he was. “No move was needed and everyone was happy,” added Mullenger.

Mullenger encourages people to ask experts for guidance now, to learn about all your financial and senior housing options so that when the time comes, you’ll be right where you want to be.

We want to know – what experiences have you had with finding senior housing? What were the challenges and how did you solve them?