How to Find the Right Home Away from Home

By Selena Depaz, Anihita Pardiwalla and Jacob Martella

Entering the room of Beverley Ball at Parsons House is like entering a bookstore with a proudly displayed art collection. A plethora of James Patterson novels lean against each other in every nook and cranny amongst other peculiar titles such as “Death in a White Tie.”

Ball, 88, is a resident at Parsons House, an assisted living facility, and she couldn’t enjoy it more.

According to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services’ website, there are 1,206 nursing facilities and 1,819 assisted living facilities, for a combined total of 3,025 facilities in Texas.

An assisted living facility (AFL) is different from a nursing home. AFL’s categorize into types to ensure autonomy, independence and privacy for residents. Services include bathing, dressing and supervised medication administration.

Anjelica Williamson, Resident Services Director for Parsons, said there’s alway something going on at the facility.

“We do volunteer work, have tea time and a couple of church services as well anything we can do to make sure that [the residents] have a successful and a purpose in their day,” she said.

There are three types of AFL’s. Type A facilities care for individuals who can care for themselves. These residents should be capable of evacuating the facility under emergencies and do not require 24 hour assistance.

Type B facilities cater to residents who need help with evacuation, emergency situations and nighttime attendance.

Type C has maximum of four beds and meet the licensing standards as an adult foster care facility.

Care refers to how autonomous a patient is and what service they need. An AFL offers minimal care in terms of observation and check ins with healthcare professionals.

The Texas Health Care Association (THCA) states that residents pay AFL’s for rent and other services. However, some facilities participate in the Medicade waiver program which pays for eligible Medicade residents.

Unlike an AFL, A Nursing Facility (NF) requires patients to have a medical condition that requires care by licensed and trained healthcare professionals.

According to THCA, “Residents [at a NF] must also require medical or nursing services that: (1) are ordered by a physician; (2) are dependent upon the individual’s documented medical conditions; (3) require skills of a registered or licensed vocational nurse; (4) are provided either directly by or under the supervision of a licensed nurse in a facility; and (5) are required on a regular basis.”

Payment can be private pay like an AFL or with Medicade.


The colored pins represent assisted living facilities in Travis County and the type of facility each on is. Red pins represent Type A facilities, which house residents that can take care of themselves. Yellow pins represent Type B facilities, which house residents that need help evacuating and nighttime assistance. Green pins represent Type C facilities, which are adult foster care houses.

How To Find A Facility:

Talk to your physician about facilities they recommend based on your specific needs.
Research nursing homes online — The Medicare Nursing Home Checklist has some good ideas to consider when visiting a facility.

What to Look For:

-Warm interactions between residents
-Medicare and Medicaid certification
-Handicap access
-Accommodations
-Activities
-Quality and attitude of the staff and management
-Rehabilitation programs
-Security and privacy for residents
-Therapeutic diets/special menus
-Visiting hours

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