Overview of Assisted Living
This type of Senior Living is non-medical care that provides supervision and assistance to seniors who do not need 24 hour medical help. Assisted Living Facilities is 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 Needs Assisted Living?
Assisted living facilities are 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 Assisted Living facility or Assisted Living community. Usually, Assisted Living Communities offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more residents and more staff. Typically, Assisted Living Communities have 25 or more senior residents while Assisted Living Facilities have fewer residents with an average of 4-6 seniors per care home.
Services Provided in Assisted Living
These senior care facilities offer 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 in Assisted Living
- 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 and Assisted Living communities 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 Assisted Living facilities offer a casual family dinning style, while Assisted Living Communities may offer a wider range, from casual dinning to fine dinning. Housekeeping and laundry services are available as well.
Activities and Programs in Assisted Living
A variety of activities and programs are available in Assisted Living facilities and Assisted Living communities 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
Health-Related Services in Assisted Living
Basic medical services are usually provided in Assisted Living facilities and Assisted Living communities 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 Assisted Living facility or Assisted Living community, but could be provided by an outside third party.
The Cost of Assisted Living
Assisted Living costs can range from $1426 per month to as much as $6532 (or more) per month. Costs will depend on a variety of factors but typical Assisted Living costs typically start at $2,500 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 2013)
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), but there are other ways Assisted Living can be paid for or subsidized:
1) Long Term Care Insurance
2) Veteran’s Aid and Attendance
3) Assisted Living Waiver
Typically, seniors and families use private funds 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.
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. This special pension is called VA Aid and Attendance Pension Program. Read VA Aid and Attendance to learn more or contact your local VA regional office at 1-800-827-1000.
Generally, Medicaid does not pay for this type of care 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.
Types of Assisted Living Facilities
A) Large Assisted Living Community – “Hotel-Style Living”
In a large community, there can be anywhere from 30 to 200 residents and a typcially 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 residnets that are surffering from Alzheimers disease and have tendencies to wander.
B) Small Board and Care Home – “Just like Home”
In a small residential care facility, also known as a “board and care” home, there are typcially 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 interation 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 assisted living community.
Each type of Assisted Living 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.
Who Regulates the Care Facilities?
Assisted living facilities are regulated by the Department of Social Services and inspected by state officials. Every state has it’s 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 care facilities.
How Does Assisted Living Differ From a Nursing Home?
Assisted Living is 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. On the other hand, 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.
Where Can I Find Care?
SeniorCareHomes.com provides free senior living options to help seniors and families find the best-matched facilities based on budget, location and care needs. Contact one of our Senior Care Experts now to get started for free advice and options. Comprehensive online listings with facility photos are also available.
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Updated: May 23, 2019
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