Frequently Asked Questions
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What are Assisted Living Facilities or Communities?
Assisted living facilities are for people needing assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) but wishing to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Assisted living exists to bridge the gap between independent living and nursing homes. Residents in assisted living centers are not able to live by themselves but do not require constant care either. Assisted living facilities offer help with ADLs such as eating, bathing, dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and assistance with medications. Many facilities also have centers for medical care; however, the care offered may not be as intensive or available to residents as the care offered at a nursing home. Assisted living is not an alternative to a nursing home, but an intermediate level of long-term care appropriate for many seniors.
Most assisted living facilities create a service plan for each individual resident upon admission. The service plan details the personalized services required by the resident and guaranteed by the facility. The plan is updated regularly to assure that the resident receives the appropriate care as his or her condition changes.
How Does an Assisted Living Facility Differ from a Nursing Home?
Nursing homes are designed to care for very frail people that are not able to care for themselves and have numerous health care requirements. Assisted living facilities are designed to assist elderly persons who are able to care for themselves except for a few activities. Assisted living facilities are often deemed necessary when the person in question needs help preparing meals, bathing, dressing, performing household chores, is sometimes confused, or is experiencing memory problems.
Who is best suited for an Assisted Living Community?
Assisted Living communities are suited for residents who need assistance in their daily lives, including preparing their meals, facilitating transportation, maintaining their homes, assisting with hygiene, and managing their medication. It’s also a good option for some residents living with disorders such as Alzheimer’s, as well as mobility limitations, incontinence, or other conditions common in one’s senior years.
What is the average size of an Assisted Living Community?
According to the 2000 NCAL survey, the average Assisted Living community is comprised of 30 beds and 23 residents. Although there is a wide variety in size and design, most assisted living facilities are constructed in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
Do Assisted Living Communities have to be licensed?
According to ALFA, regulations and licensure requirements vary from state to state, so it is important to do your research to see if your state requires residences to be licensed, and if so, whether your communities of interest are properly licensed. Also, many states require the administrator themselves to be licensed or certified, so ask to see credentials, if applicable.
What does an Assisted Living Community typically cost?
As reported by the 2006 MetLife Market Survey of Assisted Living Costs, the costs associated with assisted living averaged $2,968 per month, or $35,616 yearly. That's up 2.2% or $63 from 2005 and 17.6% from 2004. Just as Assisted Living residences vary, so too do their costs, which depends mostly on the size of units, services offered, and location, according to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). The MetLife reports concurs that rates range considerably by region, with North Dakota the lowest ($1,742 monthly) and the Bridgewater, New Jersey area the highest ($5,197 monthly). Although many long-term care insurance policies offset some of the costs, most Assisted Living expenses are covered by the family of residents since most elders do not have such long-term coverage. Medicare does not cover Assisted Living, but under certain circumstances, some state and local governments offer subsidies for rent or service for income-eligible seniors, according to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA). Supplement Security Income (SSI) may also help alleviate some of the cost, while some residences participate in Medicaid, grant programs, or other assistance.