Assisted living is not an easy decision. People value their dignity and independence, and many feel that assisted living would interfere with the control they have over their lives. Not only do these concerns weigh heavily on the prospective resident’s mind, but moving, itself, is stressful! People are often deterred for their not wanting to move away from a community they have lived in for so long. Many experience perfectly normal feelings of grief upon leaving. However, assisted living is not there to deprive anyone of home, independence, and dignity. Assisted living exists simply to make that dignity and independence a little easier to have!
Is Assisted Living Right For Me?
Assisted living serves seniors who need a little help keeping their day together. Many seniors have difficulty with the essentials of everyday life. Loss of bone and muscle mass will make moving around difficult, and some people might have difficulty getting up at three in the morning to go to the bathroom. Others find challenges in keeping house or cooking meals. Some find themselves with memory trouble, and might miss appointments or forget to take important medication. Some people even just find themselves lonely and longing for a greater sense of community.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is designed to provide for these people, and to restore their dignity to a rightful standard. No one deserves to live in isolation, surrounded by chores they can no longer keep up with. With assisted living, seniors can live in a warm, clean community with all the care and attention they deserve. Residents of assisted living communities can expect to be treated with dignity and respect, to retain their property and power of attorney, including rights to medical information, to retain every right to practice or abstain from religion, to receive representation within the community, to be able to see and travel with visitors, and to experience neither abuse nor neglect.
What Are My Needs?
Everyone has needs. These include food, water, shelter, cleanliness, medicine, community, protection, exercise, and going to the bathroom. Assisted living is for people who have difficulty meeting these demands of everyday life on their own. The goal is to allow an individual to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. The facility is built around providing an environment of autonomy, security, privacy, and community.
Though the facilities vary by state, assisted living provides 24-hour security, three meals a day, assistance with activities of daily living, exercise activities, health services, housekeeping, social and religious activities, and transportation.
Assisted living facilities are not adequately equipped to house people who need constant supervision or medical care.
What are the Costs?
Assisted living facilities generally include all basic services in the basic costs, but some services might only be available at an additional fee. Different facilities use different systems to determine fees. Some charge a flat monthly rate, others charge based on tiered pricing, based on whatever services are required. Some charge additional fees for additional services, and others combine these in varieties of ways. Overall fees can range from $500 to in excess of $3,500 per month, depending on location, size, and availability, usually averaging at $2,000.
Some states assist with payment from Medicaid, Supplementary Security Income, or Social Services Block Grant programs. Some long-term insurance programs might also assist with costs involved with living in an assisted living facility. States that do provide subsidies for assisted living services use Medicaid 1915c waivers. These waivers are only available to those who meet state standards for nursing home care.
What Should I Watch Out For?
An assisted living facility should provide the care recipient and their family with an orientation to familiarize them with the services. The facility should also provide the recipient with an evaluation in order to determine what particular kind of care the recipient needs, and these evaluations should be repeated periodically to ensure proper care. The facility should provide the care recipient with copies of these evaluations.
A key factor of finding an effective assisted living arrangement is in finding an administration one can trust. If one is looking to find an assisted living arrangement, one should check to make sure that the staff is adequately educated, experienced, actively learning how to better serve residents, and capable of serving the care recipient in the way the care recipient needs.
When investigating an assisted living facility, one must understand some basic things, such as:
- What is the entire range of services this facility offers?
- What is the payment structure? How much does one month’s fee pay for? Is there a deposit? Is it refundable?
- How can loved ones stay informed on the health of the care recipient? Who conducts the evaluations?
- Could the care recipient receive outside services?
- If the care recipient needs more or less care, how will it affect payment? How much notice will they receive on changes in fees? How likely is it that the rate will increase even if the recipient’s requirements remain the same?
Basic, common sense precautions are worth their weight in gold. One should be sure to feel that the place feels like a home, that it is a living, engaging community that promotes the health of the people within. Is the food appealing, nutritious, and varied? Are health problems handled effectively? Does the facility comply with the pertaining laws it is expected to follow? All these things add up to a healthy stay at the facility, and can bring a rewarding experience in the bargain!
Assisted living can be a difficult step, but it can also be liberating. If one can find a suitable facility, one can find a warm, loving environment with a community to belong to. Many discover social opportunities like they have never had before! Assisted living can restore dignity and pleasure to life that had so long been lost to the pains of age. If you think it’s time to take it a bit easier on old bones, looking at assisted living facilities might be the best possible decision.
Updated: March 28, 2014