Is Assisted Living Right For You? If so, what type?
Different types of eldercare options provide different levels of service, care, and independence.
- Assisted Living Homes and Communities -
An assisted living is an excellent option for seniors requiring supervision or assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs). Assisted living is a catch-all phrase that describes both assisted living homes (ALHs) and assisted living facility (ALF). Assisted living homes (ALHs) or residences may also be described as assisted living residence (ALRs), personal care homes (PCHs) are licensed assisted living homes that provide 24 hour care and house a minimum of 4 residents in a residential neighborhood. An assisted living home will typically provide a private or semi-private bedroom and will have family-style dining. An assisted living facility (ALF) or community (ALC) is a licensed assisted living property providing 24 hour care and is located in a commercial area. The assisted living facility (ALF) or assisted living community (ALC) will typically provide apartment style living with restaurant style dining.
Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) by trained staff may include the administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services; such as bathing, dressing, toileting, shaving, nail care, oral care, walking, and incontinence. Cost for services may be built into the monthly fee or charged for each individual service. According to MetLife, the national average costs for assisted living is $3550 and will range from $2000 to $5000, per month.
Assisted living as it exists today emerged in the 1990's as an eldercare alternative on the continuum of care for people, for whom independent living is not appropriate but who do not need the complex 24-hour medical care provided by a nursing home and whose care needs exceed a retirement home. Assisted living is a philosophy of care and services promoting independence and dignity.
Senior Independent Apartments -
Independent senior living communities, also known as retirement communities, senior living communities or independent retirement communities, are housing designed for seniors 55 and older.
Independent senior living communities commonly provide apartments but some also offer cottages, condominiums, and single-family homes. Residents are seniors who do not require assistance with daily activities or 24/7 skilled nursing but may benefit from convenient services, senior-friendly surroundings, and increased social opportunities that independent senior living communities offer.
Independent senior living communities are also popular among snowbird seniors who wish to downsize or travel freely without the burden of managing a home.
Many retirement communities offer dining services, basic housekeeping and laundry services, transportation to appointments and errands, activities, social programs, and access to exercise equipment. Some also offer emergency alert systems, live-in managers, and amenities like pools, spas, clubhouses, and onsite beauty and barber salons.
Independent senior living properties do not provide health care or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as medication, bathing, eating, dressing, toileting and more. Independent senior living differs from continuing care communities, which offer independent living along with multiple other levels of care, such as assisted living and skilled nursing, in one single residence.
- Personal Assistance Services -
Personal Assistance Services (PAS) are defined as person-to-person services to assist people with disabilities with tasks they would perform if they did not have a disability. Traditionally, these services have focused on health care and activities of daily living.
- Alzheimer's/Memory Care -
Like Assisted Living, Memory Care is apartment living designed to accommodate those who become disoriented, need frequent redirecting, or may wander. The Caregivers are specially trained to deal with issues related to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementias.
- Adult Day Care Centers
Normally, adult day care is used to relieve the caregiver or his or her duties for the day while ensuring that the care recipient will still receive the proper care in a safe, friendly environment. These centers usually operate during normal business hours five days a week, and some centers also offer additional services during evenings and weekends. Currently, there are more than 4,000 of these programs operating in the United States.
In general, there are three main types of adult day care centers: those that focus primarily on social interaction, those that provide medical care, and those dedicated to Alzheimer’s care. Many of these facilities are affiliated with other organizations, including home care agencies, skilled nursing facilities, medical centers, or other senior service providers. The average participant in this type of program is a 76-year-old female who lives with a spouse, adult children, or other family or friends. About 50 percent of these individuals have some form of cognitive impairment and more than half require assistance with at least two daily living activities.
- Personal Care Homes
A Personal Care Home is a premise in which food, shelter, and personal assistance or supervision are provided for a period exceeding 24 hours, for four or more adults who are not relatives of the operator, who do not require the services in or of a licensed long-term care facility, but who do require assistance or supervision in activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living. These homes are prohibited from providing acute medical treatments and typically do not provide assistance or supervision in matters such as dressing, bathing, diet or financial management.
- Nursing Homes -
A nursing home is a place for people who don't need to be in a hospital but can't be cared for at home. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.
Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital. The staff provides medical care, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There might be a nurses' station on each floor. Other nursing homes try to be more like home. They try to have a neighborhood feel. Often, they don't have a fixed day-to-day schedule, and kitchens might be open to residents. Staff members are encouraged to develop relationships with residents.
Some nursing homes have special care units for people with serious memory problems such as Alzheimer's disease. Some will let couples live together. Nursing homes are not only for the elderly, but for anyone who requires 24-hour care.
- In-Home Care
Home care, (also referred to as domiciliary care, social care, or in-home care), is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical care needs or by professional caregivers who provide daily care to help to ensure the activities of daily living (ADL's) are met. In home medical care is often and more accurately referred to as home health care or formal care. Often, the term home health care is used to distinguish it from non-medical care, custodial care, or private-duty care which is care that is provided by persons who are not nurses, doctors, or other licensed medical personnel.
Summary - Assisted living is an excellent choice for seniors who want to live as independently as possible, but need assistance with support services. Assisted living facilities have a higher ratio of caregivers than a nursing home in a safe home-like environment, but encourage as much individual independence as capable. Assisted living facilities offer more assistance than a retirement home and more continuous monitoring than home health care. Assisted living housing comes in all shapes and sizes. Settings can range from three or more residents in a home-like setting, up to 200 residents in a larger facility designed specifically for assisted living purposes.
Assisted Living does not mean a person loses his or her independence.
Assisted living facilities offer not only a home, but also safety, security, socialization and assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, medication management, and activity therapy.
There are a wide range of assisted living facilities and homes in your area that have been researched and individually toured by Assisted Living Locators. We take pride in stating that because of our integrity and stringent standards, only the best facilities reach our database. We base our expectations on numerous factors, but the most important factor is "Would we place our loved one in this home?".
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Who lives in assisted living facilities?
A) Residents may range from older adults who need meals prepared and a safe place to live to those who may need help with bathing and medications. Some residents use walkers, canes, or wheelchairs and over half may have some level of confusion, or memory loss. Our extensive network of providers consists of only quality homes with detailed descriptions of each home. This ensures that the home is right for each individual based upon matching needs and wants.
If you are unsure if you or your loved one falls into the assisted living category, please take a moment to fill out our Assessment Tool.
Q) What services are available?
A) Services vary, but the following services are most frequently found in assisted living facilities:
- Private and semi private rooms , with or without private bathrooms, an emergency call system
- Three wholesome meals a day and healthy snacks
- Housekeeping and assistance with laundry
- Assistance available for any activity of daily living
- Reminders to take medication, or staff assistance with medication management
- Transportation, i.e., to the mall, doctor's office, or special treatments
- Social activities geared at keeping the residents as active as they can be
- Beauty shop services
- Reminders to use bathroom at preset times
Each individual will need to weigh the pros and cons of any living arrangement. Assisted living provides needed services while offering various levels of independence. Assisted living is the best alternative for individuals not requiring 24-hour nursing care. Many seniors find that living with others in a small group provide a family-like environment, providing support, interaction, and long-term relationships with each other.
Depression in the elderly is as serious as any health related issues. Depression occurs most frequently with those living alone. If you are unsure if you or your loved one is suffering from depression, please do not wait to call one of our nurses. This is a very crucial condition for seniors.
Q) What is the cost?
A) Costs vary widely depending on private or semi private room, location, services, and level of care provided. Assisted living homes range in price from $60 to $200 per day.
Q) What rights do older adults have when choosing a place to live?
A) The older adult should be fully involved in making the decision to move and with choosing the facility. Should the older adult oppose placement, but cannot safely remain at home, their doctor or one of our Eldercare advisors can explain the risks and benefits to your loved one-- for example, helping the individual understand that a different living arrangement will help them with their health problems. The doctor can also help determine whether the reluctant older adult is competent to make the decision about a positive move. If an older adult is incompetent, the family must act to protect him/her from harm. The legal appointment of a surrogate decision-maker (guardian) may be necessary.
Q) How can I find out what level of care is needed?
A) Many factors can determine what level of care is required or desired. Our initial Assessment Tool results will aid in determining if assisted living is right for you or your loved one.