When individuals reach a certain age, planning for senior living only becomes a more concrete reality. Retirement looks different for every person, but one of the most popular options for senior citizens is assisted living communities. An assisted living community is a viable option for any senior who wants to remain independent while still receiving the type of care and attention that they need as they age.
These facilities typically provide long-term care to their residents, who may also have the option to interact with other people living there. This sense of camaraderie may also be beneficial for seniors' overall wellbeing.
However, the cost of assisted living is a big concern — but it is relatively more affordable than hiring a caregiver. The average cost of assisted living facilities is $4,300 a month, which is still quite steep. Nevertheless, there are a great number of options that are more affordable and just as qualified to give seniors the care and security they deserve.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living refers to the accommodation and services for individuals who require some medical or personal assistance with daily tasks. These services are typically for the elderly, as they require assistance with tasks like the following:
- Taking medications
The difference between assisted living and nursing homes is that those who require the former do not necessarily need the extensive medical care provided by the latter. As such, assisted living is best suited for individuals who want to maintain a greater degree of independence in their day-to-day lives.
Assisted living facilities may also be referred to as adult care facilities or residential care facilities. They range in size from 25 to 120 residents, and residents typically share common amenities and apartments or rooms.
These facilities typically offer varying levels of care, with some residents paying a much higher amount for higher levels of care (which will vary by facility). Furthermore, assisted living facilities’ services may vary by state. Such services or assistance may include the following:
- 1-3 meals a day
- Personal care assistance, including eating, bathing, dressing, sitting down, standing up, walking around, and sometimes going to the bathroom
- Medication management
- Housekeeping, including cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and washing the dishes
- Security with 24-hour supervision and an on-site staff
- Other activities like social and recreational
What To Look For In Assisted Living Facilities?
Despite the varying levels of care according to state regulations, there are certain guidelines that can be used to compare the different facility options available to you:
- Size - The size may affect the services that an assisted living facility provides, so it is necessary to check how many residents they can accommodate.
- Location - You must also check the facility’s location as the laws vary per area, making a difference in how a facility may operate.
- Services - While the usual assisted living facility provides meal assistance, housekeeping, exercise and wellness programs, and medication management, some offer personalized services based on one’s health needs.
- Cost - Since facilities differ in how much they cost and how they accept payments, this will make or break whether you can consider living there.
- Culture - You won’t know what it’s like to live in an assisted living facility unless you try it. However, you can get a vibe on how the environment is like once you visit every facility of your choice.
- Higher Levels of Care - As people get older, they tend to need more care. So it is essential to check and confirm if the facility you are going for offers higher levels of care in case you need it when the time comes.
When you begin your search for assisted living for your elderly loved one, you likely want to find a place where he or she will be safe, happy, and well-cared for the remainder of their lives. In fact, that is precisely what you should be seeking. Despite knowing that this is a big decision involving considerable research, many families don't begin their search until a health emergency requires immediate action.
Check out this article discussing the proper way to take care of your aging parents.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does one pay for assisted living?
Most families cover assisted living costs using private funds. These consist of a combination of savings, Social Security benefits, pension payments, and retirement accounts. On that note, the possibility still exists for government programs to provide assistance in paying these expenses.
What does Medicare cover for assisted living?
Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living. They will pay for most medical costs incurred while a senior is in assisted living, but it won't provide any funds toward personal care or room and board expenses at an assisted-living facility.
How do I start an assisted living without money?
Medicaid is one of the most common ways to pay for a nursing home when you have no money available. Even if you had too much income in the past, Medicaid might still be an option for you because they take into account your current needs and not just what happened decades ago.
Why is assisted living so expensive?
Senior care facilities are designed to give patients the best of the best. With a larger staff and more space, they can accommodate advanced conditions or complex health issues with ease. Furthermore, the staff at these centers will be more skilled and experienced, so they can care for people with acute or chronic health conditions.
Is assisted living cheaper than a nursing home?
The cost of an assisted living facility is more than double that of a nursing home, which can break the bank for some families. For those paying out of pocket, the annual cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home is around $89,000. In contrast, an assisted living facility typically runs about $48,000 annually.
Can Social Security pay for assisted living?
In most states, Social Security (through Optional State Supplements) provides financial assistance for persons that reside in assisted living communities provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
Can you negotiate assisted living costs?
Usually, these spaces have around 10% vacancy rates, and a new community will need to fill 100% of its rooms before it is considered at full capacity; therefore, the management may be willing to negotiate on your rent for an upfront move-in date.