In the past, a nursing home was the only option for aging adults with challenges that made it unsafe for them to live alone. Senior living options have expanded over the years, offering older adults more choices based on the level of care they need. Assisted living communities are one of these options.
What Does Assisted Living Provide?
Assisted living communities are geared toward seniors who may have minor cognitive or mobility issues that interfere with their ability to do daily tasks.
Assisted living typically includes personal care services like:
Getting into bed
Taking medications as instructed
Getting to and from meals, activities, and the restroom
These retirement communities also include amenities like:
Assisted living communities are not health care facilities. They do not provide the same level of medical care and personal assistance as nursing homes. People with Alzheimers, significant medical conditions, or severe mobility issues are better suited for nursing homes or memory care units.
Is Assisted Living Right for Me?
If you need help with everyday activities, but don’t require daily medical oversight, an assisted living community could be a good option. These retirement communities can help older adults who value independence, but are at risk of danger or discomfort living alone.
According to the National Center for Assisted Living:
More than half of assisted living residents are over 85
64% of residents need help with bathing
57% of residents need assistance walking
48% need help getting dressed
40% need help getting to the restroom
29% need help getting into bed
Some common health conditions in assisted living residents include:
High blood pressure
A retirement community might also be right for you if you’re feeling isolated or lonely. Research shows how important it is for older adults to have a supportive community of friends. Being around people can lower your risk for issues like depression, memory issues, heart disease, and cancer.
What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?
Assisted living communities and independent living communities are both senior residences. Both provide opportunities to socialize with people in the same season of life. The main differences in these retirement communities are price, level of care, and lifestyle preferences.
Independent living communities are for adults 55 and older who want to simplify life. As the name implies, residents are independent. They don’t require assistance with personal care or medications.
Many residents choose an independent living community for the all-inclusive lifestyle it provides. Rent covers an apartment, three chef-prepared meals, housekeeping, transportation, utilities, maintenance, and a daily schedule of activities and events.
Independent living communities are usually much less expensive than assisted living communities. Rent goes toward amenities and activities instead of to residents’ personal care. Independent living residents who need extra help with personal care can hire home health aides to provide extra assistance as needed.
Assisted living communities offer many of the same amenities as independent living communities. They provide meals, transportation, utilities, and planned activities. Residents typically move into an assisted living community out of need.
The cost of personal care and 24/7 staff is included in an assisted living community’s rent.This is why assisted living rent tends to be higher than independent living communities. There’s at least two staff members on site around the clock. Residents get help with bathing, taking medication, dressing, and using the restroom.
What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes?
Assisted living communities are based in home-like settings. Residents typically have their own apartments and share common areas. They receive help with personal care. Many assisted living communities have an onsite physician that residents can use for an additional cost. Residents can choose to participate in activities.
Nursing homes are more clinical in nature. They provide a wide range of medical services in addition to personal care. Seniors and people with disabilities who require ongoing medical supervision but don’t need hospitalization may live in nursing homes. Common medical conditions in nursing home residents include dementia, stroke, mental disorders, heart conditions, amputations, blindness, and nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
The average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,051 according to a 2019 Genworth survey. Rent varies by location, amenities, and level of care. Some assisted living communities require entry fees.
Cost can also change as needs change. For instance, some facilities include memory care units. This level of care is more intensive and more expensive.
How To Pay for Assisted Living
Most people use a combination of financial resources to pay for assisted living. Medicare does not pay for assisted living. Medicaid sometimes covers specific expenses in a medicaid-approved facility. Medicaid coverage starts after you’ve depleted personal funds.
Typically, assisted living residents cover rent with:
Real estate profits
Long-term care insurance
Benefits of Assisted Living Communities
These types of retirement communities can be a good option for older adults with minor physical and mental challenges.
Some benefits of assisted living communities include:
Privacy of your own apartment with the option to socialize in common areas.
Staff who help you with personal care so that you’re not dependent on a loved one to assist with these needs.
Not having to worry about planning, preparing, or cooking meals.
Linen and light housekeeping services are typically included in rent.
Option to participate in activities and events.
An assisted living community isn’t always the answer for older adults who want or need to move out of their home. If you don’t require assistance with everyday activities, independent living communities can provide the “safety in numbers” and connection with others that many seniors desire at a more affordable price.
Have Questions About Senior Living?
If you’re not sure what type of retirement community is best for you or your loved one, we can help. Holiday Retirement has a 50-year history of empowering older adults to live healthier and happier lives. We’ll help you determine what senior living situation makes most sense for your wants and needs.
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