There are alternative assisted living facilities for older adults who may need help with eating, bathing, dressing and toileting, but do not need nursing care or intensive medical as what is provided in a nursing home. These might be part of a retirement community, nursing home, senior housing complex or even a stand-alone. Each state has their own licensing requirement and has several different names including residential care, board and care, congregate care and personal care.
How Assisted Living Works:
Living in an assisted facility usually means you have your own unit or apartment. Most assisted facilities also offer support staff, meals and some of the additional services:
o Health care management and monitoring
o Help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and eating
o Housekeeping and laundry
o Medication reminders and/or help with medications
o Recreational activities
Choosing An Assisted Living Facility
Now, how do you go about choosing a facility that is comfortable, safe and appropriate for your needs? Think about the following:
o What future needs will be needed and how will this facility meet them?
o Will the family and friends be close by and are there shopping facilities nearby?
o Are people with severe cognitive impairments or physical disabilities against their admission and retention policies?
o Is there a written statement of the philosophy of care?
o Each facility should be visited more than once, and sometimes unannounced.
o Visiting and sampling the food at mealtimes and observing the quality of food and service is helpful.
o How are the interactions among the residents and staff?
o Does the facility offer social, recreational and spiritual activities?
o Spend a little time visiting with other residents to find their likes and dislikes.
o What types of training does the staff receive and how frequently they retrain.
o Be sure to review the facilities state licensing reports.
Other Considerations For Choosing An Assisted Living Facility
o Have any complaints been recently filed against the facility you are considering?
o The local Better Business Bureau can tell you if that agency has received any complaints.
o Ask for further information about their nursing home facility, if they have one.
Whats The Cost Of Assisted Living?
The assisted living facilities normally cost less than nursing home care, but it is still pretty costly. The price will depend upon the services you choose for your elderly relative. These costs can range from less than $25,000 a year to more than $50,000 a year because of extra fees for additional services. Find out the base rate! Some health and long-term care insurance policies may cover some of the costs but primarily, their families pay a majority of the costs. Just remember that Medicare does NOT cover the costs of assisted living facilities or the care they provide. In some states their Medicaid may pay for the service component of assisted living.
We all want the best for our elderly relatives so be sure and ask about all your concerns and do your due diligence before deciding. Your local area agency on aging (AAA) can help with your questions and help you with your decision.
–Dr Fredda Branyon