The Pros and Cons of Assisted Living: What You Need to Know Before Making a Decision
Assisted LivingAccording to the Center for Disease Control around 9% of seniors aged, 75 to 84 need help with their personal care. That number grows to 21% starting at 85 yrs old. Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) offer assistance to older adults who don’t need regular medical care while supporting an independent lifestyle. In some states, assisted living is called residential care or personal care. Our Loving Assisted Living experts will help you find the best community for yourself or a loved one.
What Does Assisted Living Provide?Assisted Living Facilities provide residents round-the-clock support with personal care, daily living activities (ADLs), and tasks in a home-like community. As a result, residents lead healthier lifestyles with a built-in social life. Basic assisted living home services include aid with everyday hygiene, dressing, grooming, housekeeping, dining, laundry, transportation, and coordination. As well as medication management and a community event calendar. When all household tasks are covered, time can be enjoyed in a safe and engaging environment that is designed to promote independence and social connections. Some assisted living homes have Memory Care Units, providing specialized care for residents facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other types of memory impairment.
Benefits of Assisted LivingAccording to research, seniors who move to a retirement community live 7-10 years longer. Improvement in the quality of life will help slow down cognitive decline while keeping residents healthier and happier. You can have peace of mind when there is 24-hour staff available for the safety, care, and support of your loved one. When do you know if assisted living is the right choice? You might have plenty of questions about assisted living, and we are here for you. It is best to think back over the past year if your loved one is having issues with the following:
- They’ve experienced at least one fall, with or without injury.
- Meal preparation is becoming more difficult.
- You’ve noticed signs of hunger or that nutritional needs aren’t being met.
- It’s getting harder for them to safely move around the house.
- More help is needed getting dressed, bathing, managing medication, or with other daily activities.
- You have worries about isolation and/or their safety.
Is Assisted Living Right For You?Prospective residents are required to undergo a resident evaluation to assess mental capacity, physical capabilities to perform daily living tasks, as well as their social/emotional circumstances. Therefore, allowing the administration to determine the level of care required for their everyday activities, physical health, and senior wellness. The candidate must submit a current medical evaluation from their primary physician, including health status, prescriptions, medical conditions, and dietary needs. These will be updated continuously to ensure needs are appropriately being met.
What’s An Assisted Living Facility Community Like?ALFs are home-like communities for seniors who don’t have a serious illness and therefore need low to moderate levels of assistance. Unlike a nursing home that provides 24-hour skilled medical care in a clinical setting. While each community is different, you can find individual rooms, apartments, or shared quarters for your housing options. There can also be gathering spaces, restaurants, a library, a fitness room, and general outdoor space among other amenities. Assisted living communities or independent living both have the same type of lifestyle benefits and social activities. The staff at assisted living communities treat all of their residents with respect and dignity, support their independence, and improve their quality of life. Assisted living is regulated in all 50 states from Alabama to Texas, and all 50 states. Be sure to check your state’s regulations.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?How much does assisted living cost? That will depend on the type of senior living that you want and the amount of care that you need. Assisted living costs can vary from state to state, for example, senior living is more expensive in California than in Tennessee. When you consider senior care choices, the cost is an important factor. On average assisted living can be far more economical than long-term in-home care or nursing home care. The cost of assisted living facilities will also vary from home to home, so the price will come down to what you are looking for and what your loved one needs.
Assisted Living CostAt first glance, the cost of assisted living may seem daunting. Nonetheless, compared to the average cost of a nursing home ($5,000 to $10,000 a month) or in-house care (about $4,000 a month for 40 hours of care a week). Assisted living is often one of the more accessible choices if your loved one does not require immediate medical care. According to the Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in the U.S. is about $4,300 a month, or around $51,600 a year. This can vary widely depending on the venue, facilities available, level of care provided, and other factors. For example, the average cost of assisted living in California , is $4,917/ month. However, based on the geographical region of the state it can range from $3,442 in Bakersfield to approx. $6,113 in Santa Rosa. The cost of assisted living will also vary from community to community, and also depending on the lifestyle that you want.
How Levels of Care Affect PricingAssisted living fits between an independent living community and a skilled nursing facility. Most ALFs base their pricing structure on the level of care provided for each resident. A person who does not need any specialized care will expect to pay less than someone who requires constant support, medication management, or assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, toileting, or dressing. When a person needs hands-on treatment, such as help getting around, feeding themselves, or taking large quantities of medicine (the threshold is often six or seven prescriptions), the cost eventually increases. And if their needs shift, the monthly cost might be expected to fluctuate. Moreover, most facilities provide a comprehensive price list of care rates, before moving in and periodically, or if requested during a careful evaluation.
8 Benefits Of Moving Into An Assisted Living Home
1. Preventing Social Isolation
When a senior is living alone they are at a higher risk for social isolation and increased feelings of loneliness and depression. In an assisted living facility, seniors live in a community environment, making friends, and staff encourage them to participate in social events. Our communities have dynamic and diverse activities, residents can even have the opportunity to take up new hobbies or join a new fitness class.
Seniors who move into our communities make new friends, get to know staff members by name, and feel connected to a larger community of seniors who are in the same stage of their lives too. Assisted living facilities will help seniors avoid feelings of isolation that can lead to chronic loneliness, bringing increased physical health and overall wellness.
2. Around The Clock Professional Careliving in an assisted living facility will get the help that they need with their everyday activities, which include dressing, bathing, hygiene, medication management, and more. Your loved one will be getting around-the-clock care to make sure that all of their needs are being met, and making sure that they get the attention that they need. The staff are highly trained and will provide your loved one with the care that you and they expect, and they will receive the respect and dignity that they deserve.
Your loved ones will receive their own care plan, so they will get the service that they need, and it will cater to the appropriate level of care that they need.our partner locations will empower your loved ones, they will have the opportunities to pursue new passions, and help them to create a retirement that they want. 3. Independence and Fun
Assisted living communities are designed to promote independence and enjoyment, even though each resident will receive a customized care program, they are designed to make sure that your loved one is doing what they want to do.Having fun is an important part of assisted living, and we promote all of our residents to have fun in a variety of different ways.
4. Free TimeLiving in an assisted living home there are no more home duties, yard work, cleaning the dishes, or home maintenance. Homeownership can be annoying for seniors.
Having the time to do what they want is how we take care of our residents, no more duties, there is more time to have fun, socialize and do what they want to do.
5. Delicious MealsMeals at assisted living homes are designed to create a healthy senior. The burden of cooking and cleaning is taken away, plus there are no more dangers of leaving the stove on. Assisted living homes hire talented chefs, so your loved one will enjoy delicious meals, that are healthy and that taste great too. Mealtime at assisted living homes is a social event, it is a perfect time to socialize and meet new friends.
Assisted living homes have private dining rooms, so you can celebrate special events with your loved one, and have the whole occasion catered.
6. Safe Transportation
Living in an assisted living community, transportation is provided, when driving has become unsafe and owning a vehicle is a hassle, your loved one will be able to have the transportation that they need.
If your loved one wanted to go to a restaurant, go shopping, or has a doctor’s appointment, reliable transportation is provided, so your loved one will avoid dangerous situations while driving, with the safety of living in an assisted ling community.
7. Investing in Health Senior LivingMoving into an assisted living facility, the lifestyle promotes health and will give your loved one plenty of options for lifestyle and activities. All residents will have their own individual custom care plan, it will be evaluated by a medical professional, and if anything should change in their health, the team of professionals will diagnose it early and provide the best treatment.
Living a healthier lifestyle will be of great benefit to your loved one, assisted living facilities to have personal trainers, group fitness, and even brain fitness classes. They will be living a healthy lifestyle, to promote their long-term care,
8. Peace of MindYou will have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is being well taken care of, all of their needs are being met, they are living in a safe environment. Seniors also rest easier at assisted living homes, knowing that they have the support that they need in the home, they are not lonely, and have the support of the community.
How Are Care Levels Assessed?Though the components of each care standard differ from facility to facility, some common standards exist. There are two types of services beyond room and board: basic services and care & supervision. Basic services are community activities, personal assistance, and coordinating medical and dental visits. Care and supervision consist of help with hygiene, dressing, and grooming, supervising self-administered medications, and dietary needs. Most assisted living institutions use a point system to determine the level of care needed for a patient. No cost-of-care bill applies if the patient is considered safe and needs no assistance. This may also extend to residents who need only verbal instructions to complete their daily living activities (ADLs). The components usually defining the level of care needed by a resident are described below. Bathing Two considerations must be weighed about the bathing needs of a resident:
- Does the person need to shower or bathe in help?
- How often do they need help?
- The desire to clothe yourself (e.g. zipping, buttoning, and moving your body)
- The ability to make good choices, including choosing suitable clothes for the weather or event
- Brush hair
- Clean teeth
- Rising from a seated position
- Climbing stairs
ContinenceResidents who can manage their incontinence without help (e.g., a resident who can change his or her own liner or diaper) should not be factoring this service into the care amount. Providing help with their supplies will incur additional costs. Higher care levels include residents who present challenges regarding their incontinence; for example, a resident who refuses to allow aids to change his or her diapers. As a separate service, it is normal for facilities to price incontinence care according to the needs of an individual patient.
CaregiversAt a higher level of care, a patient who needs treatment from multiple caregivers at the same time is likely to be evaluated. Several conditions that would require multiple caregivers include:
- The resident who needs a high degree of pain management
- A resident who presents further challenges while obtaining bathing assistance or changing his diaper
- Senior who tends to escape or leave the facility
- A resident who is a very high risk of falling
- Senior who requires physical therapy exercise assistance
FeedingResidents who need help with feeding can fall into all care rates. The lowest level involves people who can feed themselves but need assistance in cutting food into bits of bite-size. Higher care rates may allow a caregiver to be present at all mealtimes, either because the resident is physically unable to eat independently or because he or she is at risk of choking. Some residents may be put at a higher level of care if they have issues with foods that pose nutritional, health, or medical danger while eating.
MedicationLower levels of care help hold prescriptions filled and monitor or prescribe oral or inhaled drugs. Lower treatment rates are for patients who need assistance with injectable medications and need nursing supervision. Many institutions often position residents on a higher level of care who require advanced medication management. It typically occurs when a facility has a defined number of threshold-determining drugs.
DementiaResidents with Alzheimer’s or dementia generally require specialized Memory Care. As dementia appears to be progressive, such residents will need to be periodically reassessed. Most facilities assess the needs of a patient, taking into account the following criteria:
- Diagnosis: was the resident diagnosed with dementia? If so, determine skills and needs.
- Compliance: Is the person exhibiting combative or challenging behaviors?
- Monitoring: Does the resident need to be monitored very regularly? Are there ample routine tests, such as in the morning, at night, and a few times during the day?
- Facilities with memory care units have tools for monitoring dementia patients, which can help reduce the workload on caregivers and potentially the cost for residents.
LaundryLaundry service is sometimes included in the monthly rate, but sometimes it’s charged separately. Every facility has a different policy, so make sure to ask.
What is the Difference Between Assisted Living And Nursing Homes?The main difference between assisted living and nursing homes is that assisted living provides personal care for residence that needs help with daily activities but does not need a skilled nursing home. A nursing home is good for a senior when they need a feeding tube, and they need around-the-clock care, while assisted living does not provide that. Assisted living communities to offer a range of social activities, and have a communal feel to them, where are nursing homes do not.
What Is The Difference Between Assisted Living And Memory Care?The main difference between assisted living and memory care is that memory care facilities are designed for seniors with dementia and Alzheimers. Many assisted living communities do offer memory care, they are usually separated from the assisted living residents, as they have different needs. Memory care is more expensive and it cost about 20 to 30%more per month than assisted living, as the residents need more specialized care.
What Is The Difference Between Assisted Living And Independent Living?The main difference between the two is that independent living is best for seniors who do not need any assistance with their daily activities. The seniors are still able to function independently with their day-to-day activities. With independent living, they do provide meals, housekeeping, and laundry service.
How Can I Pay For Assisted Living?You might be surprised to hear that Medicare does not pay or cover any cost for assisted living, but there are potentially other options for you to consider to help you to pay for assisted living.
- Medicaid in some states does offer some financial help with assisted living for seniors who qualify.
- Life Insurance can help you pay for assisted living if you cash out of the policy early. Some companies will buy back the policy for the cash value.
- Long Term Care Insurance will cover some of the costs of long-term care. These policies may not pay for all of your long-term care needs.
- VA Aid And Benefit can help you pay for assisted living for an elderly veteran.
- Reverse Mortgages can be a good option for you to pay for your assisted living. Getting a reverse mortgage while you wait for the home to be sold.
When is the Right Time For Assisted Living?When is the right time to move a loved one into an assisted living facility and out of their home? This is a difficult and emotional decision to make. The most important thing to consider is the safety of the loved one. The signs can be there when the loved one has difficulty with the following:
- Having difficulty with daily activities
- Falling in the home
- Increased weight loss
- Changes in appearance, being unkempt.
- Signs of dangerous driving
- Old food in the house
- Dirty home, unmade beds, and laundry
What Should I Look For With Assisted Living?The hardest part is choosing a community is finding one that your loved one will feel at home in. So it is important to visit the facility before you commit to it. When you visit communities, you will get a sense of how things are, and you can chat with residents to find out their experiences. Visiting a community is better than seeing photos or doing a virtual tour. Even though most communities do provide virtual tours, nothing is better than visiting the actual home. Also, you should look out for the following:
- Regular health assessments: Does the home do regular follow-up health assessments
- Staff to resident ratio is important, you should know what it is
- What amenities does the home offer, it is important to know what they are