What is Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is a type of Senior Living is non-medical care that provides supervision and assistance to seniors who do not need 24 hour medical help. These type of facilities are suited for seniors who want to live independently, but need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming and minor house chores.
Generally, doctors and nurses are not on site or on staff, but they are on call when residents need their assistance. For most of the 50 states, caregivers are required by state licensing to be present at all times at the facility to supervise and assist their residents.
Who is Assisted Living For?
Assisted living is suited for seniors who want to live independently but need help with activities of daily living like eating, toileting, bathing, dressing up, grooming, and other minor house chores. Assisted Living is the right senior care option for seniors who do not need 24-hour medical assistance and supervision.
Activities and programs for seniors may vary depending on the actual size of the facility or community. Usually, Communities can offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more residents and more staff. Typically, Large Communities have 25 or more senior residents while Residential Care Homes have fewer residents with an average of 4-6 seniors per care home.
Types of Assisted Living
A) Large Communities – “Resort-Style Living”
In a large community, there can be anywhere from 30 to 200 residents and a typically a 1:6 to 1:12 caregiver-to-resident ratio. Large communities also provide a high level of socialization among their residents, frequent activities throughout the day, pet and music therapy, daily prepared meals, transportation to mass service or doctor appointments, and assistance with bathing, dressing, walking and medication management.
Some of these care facilities also have secure, locked-down memory wings for residents that are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and have tendencies to wander.
- Brookdale Senior Living
- Sunrise Senior Living
- Atria Senior Living
- Pacifica Senior Living
- Enlivant Senior Living
- Senior Lifestyle
- SRG Senior Living
- Merrill Gardens Senior Living
- Belmont Village Senior Living
- Holiday Retirement
- Aegis Living
- MBK Senior Living
- Meridian Senior Living
- Oakmont Senior Living
- Carlton Senior Living
B) Residential Care Home – “Just like Home”
In a small residential care facility, also known as a “board and care” home, there are typically anywhere from 6 to 10 residents in the home. For most of the 50 states, state licensing also requires at least one caregiver on site at all times to supervise and assist the residents. Seniors also prefer these type of assisted living facilities because they provide care in a “home-like” environment similar to what they are used to at home. Also, they do provide the same services as the large care communities except for the high level of social interaction and frequency of daily activities.
Most residents in a residential care facility prefer a more intimate and quiet environment for the most part. The caregiver-to-resident ratio is typically 1 caregiver per every 2 or 3 residents in the care home. In terms of costs comparisons, smaller residential care homes can in general can be a little more affordable than the costs of rent and care at a large community.
Each type of Facility will have pros and cons and it will come down to your Loved One’s care needs, budget and location. Please ensure to do your thorough research and consult with a family care advisor who can give you care options that are a match to help you save time.
How Assisted Living is Different than other Care
How Do these Differ From Independent Living and Memory Care?
Assisted Living is care in a non medical facility for active and alert seniors who want to maintain independence for as long as possible but may need help with one of the activities of daily living (ADL). These activities of daily living include assistance eating, bathing, showering, dressing, getting out of bed and more.
Independent Living is a non medical facility for active, healthy and alert seniors who want a “resort-style” living without having to worry about household chores and maintenance. Older adults living here want the socialization with other residents and frequent activities and entertainment.
Memory Care facilities provide special care to those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. These special services include structured Memory Care Programs such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other board games to help stimulate the brain. Caregivers will undergo special and extensive training to ensure the proper care is given to their residents.
How Do These Facilities Differ From a Nursing Homes?
Nursing Homes are for seniors who require nursing assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week due to the higher level of care needed.
How Do These Facilities Differ From In-Home Care?
In-Home Care is different than Assisted Living. In-Home Care is performed by a caregiver in the comfort of the individual’s own home or even at a family-member or friend’s home. In-Home Caregivers can stay 24-7 in the home or perform help and care during hours specified by the individual or family. This is usually one-on-one care with the caregiver directly helping and giving full attention to the individual. Since in-home care is one-on-one in the convenience of the individual’s home, it is also typically more expensive.
The difference with Assisted Living is that care is performed in a facility that does not belong to the individual or family. Residents have moved away from their home and into either an Large Community or Residential Care Home. This is also known as a board and care home, residential care home, or elderly care home. Help and Care at a Facility is performed by Caregivers employed or hired by the Facility owner.
Usually in a Residential Care Home, there are usually 2 caregivers in the home taking care of 6 residents. In larger facilities, there are more caregivers present in order to help all the residents which can span up to 200 or more residents.
Types of Services Provided
These Assisted Living offers meal service, personal care assistance, housekeeping, transportation service, social activities and pleasure trips. Basic medical services such as medication assistance, medical records maintenance and monthly wellness check-ups may also be available.
Senior activities and programs in these facilities may vary depending on the actual size of the facility. Usually, large communities offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more senior participants.
General Care Services
- Three complete meals a day including snack and drinks.
- Housekeeping and Laundry Services
- 24-hour Emergency Call Systems for each room
- Assistance with Activities of Daily Living for Seniors like eating, toileting, bathing, dressing up and walking, if needed.
- Transportation to Medical Appointments
- Exercise and Wellness programs to help keep seniors physically and mentally active.
Daily Meals, Housekeeping, and Laundry Services
The food service is an important factor for seniors. Assisted Living facilities offer a wide range of healthy and nutritious menu selection. Three complete balanced meals are provided daily as well as snacks and drinks throughout the day. Special diet accommodations may be available upon request.
Usually, Residential Care Homes offer a casual family dinning style, while Large Communities may offer a wider range, from casual dinning to fine dinning. Housekeeping and laundry services are available as well.
Activities and Programs
A variety of activities and programs are available in Assisted Living facilities to entertain seniors and enhance quality of life. Activities such as daily exercise, gardening and board games help keep seniors mentally and physically active for a healthy lifestyle.
The following additional activities and programs may be available to meet seniors’ needs and interests:
- Book Clubs
- Scheduled Outings (trip to the movies, theme parks, concerts, etc)
- Shopping Assistance
- Religious Activities
- Barber and Beautician services
- Shopping Assistance
- Money Management/Banking Services
- Computer and Internet Services
Basic medical services are usually provided with Assisted Living such as:
- Medication Management
- Maintaining Medical Records
- Monthly Wellness Check-up
The following health-related services may be available to seniors as well:
- 24-Hour Nurse Assistance
- Oxygen Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Radiation Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Memory Care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients
These health-related services may be performed in the Residential Care Home or Large community, but could be provided by an outside third party.
The Cost of Assisted Living
Assisted Living costs can range from $3,500 per month to as much as $6,978 per month. Costs will depend on a variety of factors but Assisted Living costs ca typically start at $2,800 per month. This will include care needs of your loved one, desired services and amenities, private or shared bedroom and bathroom, location of the care facility, years they have been in business, staff experience as well as other services. (source: Genworth 2021)
The monthly fee for this type of care may vary depending on the location, level of care needs and size of the facility or community. Care and Rent can be very expensive, that’s why it is important to plan and prepare for your aging loved ones future.
Paying for Assisted Living
Assisted Living is typically paid out of pocket (private pay). This can be expensive for most families, so planning ahead is crucial to ensure a smooth transition into Assisted Living.
Factors that Influence Assisted Living Costs
1) Location, Location, Location
Just like real estate prices, location always influences the cost of labor, property value, services, etc. If you need to save on costs and are working with a budget, you might want to consider areas a little further out from your desired location. A Senior Care Advisor should be knowledgable with costs in a specific area and can give you a variety of options based on budget requirements.
2) Care Needs
Just like anything in life, the higher the care needs, the more expensive it gets. If certain residents require special attention from highly trained professional staff, the costs are usually higher. Again, being able to compare a few communities and having options is ideal as one facility may charge a little less for the same provided care. A Senior Care advisor can make the search much easier and give you free options to compare.
Large Communities usually charge based on different levels of care while Small, Residential Homes typically have an all-inclusive rate. These are factors that families will want to consider when looking for Senior Living.
While the cost of Amenities will vary by community, it is wise to ask what’s included so you can determine what is essential and what is not really required. Assisted Living Facilities with more amenities and services will typically have higher Assisted Living costs.
For more information on What Influences Assisted Living Costs, click here
Options on Paying for Assisted Living
1) Long Term Care Insurance
Typically, seniors and families use private funds (or “out of pocket”) to pay for Assisted Living. However, some facilities accept long-term care insurance. Check your senior loved one’s long-term care insurance policy to see if this type of care is covered.
2) Veteran’s Aid and Attendance
This special pension is called VA Aid and Attendance Pension Program. If the senior is a war veteran and/or a spouse of war veteran, he or she might be able to get pension from the Veterans Administration to help pay for care. In order to be eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance Program, the Veteran or spouse will need help with at least two Activities of Daily Living.
To qualify for the VA Aid and Assistance program, a Veteran must:
- Have served in the Armed Forces on active duty for at least 90 days
- Have served at least one day of active duty during time of war
- Have received an honorable discharge
- Require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, dressing and walking (or the qualifying Veteran’s spouse must require such assistance)
For more information on the VA Aid and Attendance Program, click Here. You can also read VA Aid and Attendance to learn more or contact your local VA regional office at 1-800-827-1000.
3) Assisted Living Waiver (ALW)
The Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver was created for older adults and disabled residents that need Nursing Home care. However, the ALW gives these residents the ability to have Assisted Living rather than nursing care.
Generally, Medicaid does not pay for Assisted Living but in some states, Medicaid may pay for a limited stay in the facility. Keep in mind though that you will have to qualify since Medicaid has very strict guidelines. Contact your local Medicaid office to learn more about your state’s Medicaid program. You can also contact Medicaid directly at Medicaid.Gov or 877-267-2323.
Assisted Living Touring Checklist
So you’re set and ready to tour an Assisted Living Community or Residential Care Home. The biggest mistake we see families make is not having enough options to compare. We highly recommend touring at least 2-3 facilities so that you can choose the right home for your loved one. When touring, it is important to ask the right questions and spot any red flags.
Some Important Questions to Ask:
- Does the facility offer services and amenities that cater to my needs?
- Is the facility located nearby for family & loved ones to visit?
- Is the facility located in a safe neighborhood?
- Is the facility within my budget?
- Is the entire facility accessible to walkers and wheelchairs?
- Are there grab bars & non-skid floors in the bathrooms?
- Is there a door alarm system if a resident wanders?
- Are call buttons located throughout the facility?
- Is there a readily-available doctor or nurse, or a nearby hospital in case of health emergencies or accidents?
- Do they offer nutritionally-balanced meals 7 days/week?
- Can the facility accommodate special diets/meal requests?
- Does the facility offer organized activities? Does it follow a daily schedule of activities?
- Are there exercise or health programs available?
- Does the facility offer transport services if seniors need to go to the bank, church, grocery, etc.?
- Does the facility provide families updates regarding the resident’s status and condition regularly or if necessary?
- Does the facility offer arrangements for delivery of prescriptions or other medical supplies, if necessary?
- Are there enough staff/caregivers? Are they readily available 24/7 to assist seniors if necessary?
- Does the facility do a background check of their staff?
Who Regulates Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is regulated by the Department of Social Services and inspected by state officials. Every state has its own policies and guidelines. If the quality standards are not met, the state will not issue a license to the facility or for existing care facilities, the license will be revoked. This helps ensure the quality of senior care services in all assisted living facilities.
How to Choose & Find the Right Assisted Living
Where Can I Find Assisted Living?
SeniorCareHomes.com provides free Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best-matched facilities based on budget, location and care needs. The process for finding the right care home or community can be overwhelming and daunting. SeniorCareHomes.Com helps make the journey much easier for all of the families we’ve helped since 2007.
Contact one of our Senior Care Experts now to get started for free advice and options at (877) 523-6523 x1 for Assisted Living Options or click here
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