What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a safe place for seniors where there is 24/7 assistance, meal preparation, and medical care. There are many retirement and assisted living options that can meet both lifestyle and medical requirements. It's important to research and consider all of the options to find the right fit.
These living facilities tend to provide more autonomy and privacy than nursing homes do. Residents of these communities are not completely reliant on external caregivers to do all of their daily tasks. We can call them semi-autonomous seniors who need some assistance.
Is Assisted Living Right for You?
As you get older, you may find daily chores a little more challenging and taking care of your home may be more difficult too. Has your spouse passed away? Do you feel lonely often? Possibly, it is time to look at alternative housing options.
Assisted living accommodations are safe environments for seniors to have access to the individual care they need and when they need it. There are various types of services and all have pros and cons. Now, it is time to determine which is the best option for you.
Assisted Living Services
There is no official definition of assisted living in the U.S. States and facilities vary in the services that they offer. Mainly, it involves keeping seniors safe and cared for in an environment that tries to replicate home life as much as possible.
Basic services offered:
- Meal preparation
- Medication preparation and supervision
- Help with personal care, like dressing and bathing
- Cleaning and laundry
- Transportation to appointments and social outings
- Hobbies, entertainment and social activities
Who Is Assisted Living For?
There are many reasons why someone would choose to move into this alternative housing. It’s definitely not like moving into a nursing home and should not be looked at in a negative light.
People who can benefit from this type of housing:
- Seniors who are still active and autonomous but need some care with daily tasks
- A person whose spouse has passed away
- Seniors whose children live far away
- An elderly person with no children
- Someone with slight cognitive impairment
Types of Assisted Living Facilities
The services come in various options. You can find assisted living communities, retirement homes, senior independent living communities and residential care homes.
Assisted Living Communities and Senior Independent Living Communities
These are residential communities that offer personalized care to the residents in a home-like environment. You get to live independently, but get the daily assistance you need with meals, medications and basic care. This may be individual housing or apartments in a community setting.
Continuing Care Retirement Homes
These facilities offer a personalized and adapted care program for each resident. It’s a place where you can age in one place, meaning that as your needs change over the years, so does the level of care you receive.
Residential Care Homes
These are private homes with a maximum of 20 residents at a time. Services are provided with round the clock care to each individual in the home. You may have a private or shared room and share the common areas with other residents. There are helpful resources to help you find facilities in your area.
Assisted Living vs Nursing Homes
Assisted living provides more autonomy and privacy for seniors compared to nursing homes. Seniors who need to be moved to nursing homes typically need more medical attention and have lost their autonomy, either physically or cognitively.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
Unfortunately, it is not covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Some medical procedures you may encounter while living in facilities may be covered by these healthcare programs, but it varies state by state.
Assisted living accommodations range in price from $2,000 to well over $5,000 per month, depending on the services required. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, “48% of the facilities offered a flat base rate while 52% of services have a variable rate, based on disability.” There are resources to help you calculate the cost of care in your area.
Assisted Living – The Pros and Cons
Deciding on accommodations for you or a parent is a big life decision. There are many benefits to gain when moving into an alternative environment and there are also things that you need to consider before taking the leap.
- Feeling safe and taken care of
- No worries about food shopping and meal preparation
- No household chores like laundry and cleaning
- Daily social interactions and activities to help fight loneliness
- Loss of complete autonomy and privacy
- Moving from your home
- May not be pet friendly
What to Keep in Mind
It’s important to research the facilities and services that are offered at each location before making a final decision. Visit several facilities and ask a lot of questions.