Owning a house is part of the American dream. You will spend a lot of money, time, and effort creating a home. This will be your sanctuary and the absolute symbol of your freedom for years. But as you get older, staying alone in your house can prove challenging.
After a few accidents that nearly became serious medical emergencies, a family member may be forced to move it. But this arrangement rarely works because the family member may not be equipped to provide the professional care you need.
That is when you must consider moving to assisted living. The move can be very overwhelming and just plain hard. It means saying goodbye to a home you have created for years and going through personal items, and deciding which to take with you and which to leave behind.
But the professional in a senior living facility is crucial.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a facility with a home-like setting designed for individuals who need different levels of personal and medical care. They help promote residents' independence in their day-to-day activities. The facilities mainly cater to the elderly, infirm, or disabled. According to Assisted Living Federation of America, one in three hundred Americans stays in an assisted living facility.
There are so many terms used to describe assisted living. When selecting an assisted living facility for a loved one, ensure that what is being described is the type of facility you are looking for. You can easily confuse a nursing home for a senior living facility because the terms are usually interchangeable.
Nursing homes offer near-constant supervision and around-the-clock care. Assisted living allows residents independence by only assisting in areas where they need help. There are thousands of such facilities in the country, and every one of them is a bit different. Ensure you check the kinds of services they offer first.
Services Provided In Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living services vary from one facility to the next. There are also individual contracts that determine the type of care the resident will receive. But in general, these are the services you should expect.
- Daily medication. Keeping up with medication schedules for people with age-related dementia or Alzheimer's and other conditions can be challenging. Assisted living care will ensure residents take the appropriate medication on time.
- Laundry. All laundry services should be available, including ironing clothes and sheets after washing.
- Bathing and getting dressed. Injuries, decreased mobility, and other issues make dressing, undressing, and taking baths risky and difficult. That is why the assisted living professionals will help you in those areas.
- Meal preparation. Some facilities offer already prepared meals in a common dining area, while others provide quarters with kitchenettes for the residents to cook for themselves. Whichever arrangement they have, there will be meal preparation assistance.
- Recreational and social planning. There are event coordinators that try to incorporate stimulating activities and entertainment into residents' daily lives. This includes things like book clubs and dances.
What Makes a Good Assisted Living Facility? Things to Consider
There are so many things that differentiate a great senior living facility from a below-average one. You must know what to look for and the right questions to ask when you visit. If you are looking for a thriving community for you or a loved one, here is what to consider.
Pay Attention To Cleanliness
Curb appeal, cleanliness, and design details are essential. Remember, this will be a new home for you or a family member for a long time. You shouldn’t settle for anything less. A quick examination of the facility will tell you all you need to know. Look for a place where the stairways and hallways are easy to navigate. The professionalism and maintenance at the facility should be top-notch.
Get A Feel Of Their Culture And Amenities
Find out how many common areas are available for the residents to mingle. They should be struggling to create an inclusive community where residents can thrive socially. Social gatherings and programs like dance sessions make the facility fun to live at. Amenities like fitness centers or other related things will improve the quality of life.
What Is Their Pet Policy?
Some facilities allow residents to come with pets, while others discourage it. Sometimes they allow people to keep birds, fish, cats, or dogs in their private rooms. If the person moving to assisted living already has a pet, it might not be fair to separate them. Look for a facility that allows them to bring their pet. You should also find out what other personal belongings they can bring.
Meet Some of the Residents
Meeting the residents will tell you if they are happy staying there or not. Well-run, attentive facilities will show on the faces of the residents. They have experienced the care services firsthand and are more than capable of giving you insightful reviews. If the residents look unhappy and withdrawn, the facility may not be for you.
Check the Size of the Room
You want a spacious area where you or your loved one will not feel restricted. If the room is too big, you can consider a roommate to help cut costs. But if the room is enough, living alone is always the best option. Adjusting to living with a roommate can be challenging, especially for the elderly.
Assisted Living Costs and Contracts
Most assisted living facilities are for-profit organizations that will require you to sign a contract that determines how much you will pay for specific caregiving services. There are usually three contract categories, extensive, modified, and free-for-service.
Extensive contracts include fixed monthly payments. They are expensive right out of the bat but will be better as time passes and care needs increase. Modified contracts have fixed rates as well, but for a specific period. Fee-for-service contracts allow residents to pay by the day depending on the individual services they receive. It's considered the most affordable short-term contract.
You can make payments out of pocket or use insurance. However, Medicare won't cover the costs unless the care you receive is medically necessary. Assisted living is cheaper than a full-care nursing home. If you only require a little help to live comfortably, you can pay only $ 60 a day or $ 12,000 per year. Most facilities accept Medicaid, which helps you reduce the costs even further.
Getting In And Out Of Assisted Living
Understandably the idea of assisted living seems intimidating to most people. That's why you must approach it with an open mind and willingness. Before moving to the facility, you may require a medical examination and other assessments. This helps the caregivers understand how well you can take care of yourself and what type of services suit you better.
You will receive regular check-ups when in the facility. This is not a permanent living situation; you can move out when you need more specialized care. You can also exit due to financial issues, which requires the facility to give you at least a 30-day notice.