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senior woman and senior man in assisted living facility

What Is Assisted Living?

Updated: August 24, 2014 by Catharine D. Allado

Assisted Living is a type of senior care provided in a non-medical facility that is licensed to provide services, supervision and assistance to seniors. It is suited for Seniors who want to live independently, but need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming and minor house chores.

 

In This Assisted Living Article:

What Is Assisted Living?
Who Needs Assisted Living?
What Are The Services Offered In Assisted Living?
What Is The Cost of Assisted Living?
How Do You Pay For Assisted Living?
Who Regulates Assisted Living Facilities?
Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes
Where Can You Find Assisted Living?

 

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living provides care services to seniors who do not need 24-hour medical assistance and supervision. However, this type of senior care facilities may also provide incidental medical services under special care plans.

Assisted living facilities are not required to have nurses and/or doctors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, although most assisted living facilities have medical staff on site or on call. Caregivers are always available round the clock to ensure that all assisted living residents receive the utmost care they deserve, giving seniors and families peace of mind.

Assisted Living facilities have different sizes. Majority of the Assisted Living facilities are small, which are also referred to as Residential Care Homes (house-looking properties) that provide senior care in a home-like setting. This type of assisted living have 6 senior residents or less and typically have a "1 Caregiver to 3 Resident" ratio. There are also those large Assisted Living Communities (large hotel or resort-looking properties) that provide daily activities and social interaction among their senior residents. These large assisted living communities have 25 or more residents and typically a "1 Caregiver to 8 Resident" ratio.

 

Who Needs Assisted Living?

Typically, seniors who are alert, independent and do not require 24 hour medical assistance consider assisted living as the best senior care option. Residents of assisted living facilities and communities usually need help with one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Seniors in assisted living facilities enjoy being socially and physically active without having to worry too much about responsibilities.

 

What Are The Services Offered In Assisted Living?

Assisted living facilities offer meal service, personal care assistance, housekeeping, transportation service, social activities and pleasure trips. Basic medical services such as medication assistance, medical records maintenance and monthly wellness check-ups may also be available.

Senior activities and programs in assisted living facilities may vary depending on the actual size of the Assisted Living facility. Usually, large Assisted Living facilities offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more senior participants. Read Types of Senior Care Services In Assisted Living to learn more.

 

What Is The Cost of Assisted Living?

The average cost of Assisted living across the U.S is $3348 per month. The assisted living cost can range from $1426 per month to as much as $6532 (or more) per month.

The monthly fee for Assisted living may vary depending on the location, level of care needs and size of the Assisted Living facility or community. Assisted living costs can be very expensive, that's why it is important to plan and prepare for your aging loved ones future.

 

How Do You Pay For Assisted Living?

Typically, seniors and families use private funds to pay for Assisted Living. However, some assisted living facilities accept long-term care insurance. Check your senior loved one’s long-term care insurance policy to see if Assisted Living is covered.

If the senior is a war veteran and/or a spouse of war veteran, he or she might be able to get pension from the Veterans Administration to help pay for assisted living. This special pension is called VA Aid and Attendance Pension Program. Read VA Aid and Attendance For Assisted Living to learn more or contact your local VA regional office at 1-800-827-1000.

Generally, Medicaid does not pay for Assisted Living but in some states, Medicaid may pay for a limited stay in an assisted living. Keep in mind though that you will have to qualify since Medicaid has very strict guidelines. Contact your local Medicaid office to learn more about your state’s Medicaid program.

 

Who Regulates Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities are regulated by the Department of Social Services and inspected by state officials. Every state has it’s own policies and guidelines. If the quality standards are not met, the state will not issue a license to the assisted living facility or for existing care facilities, the assisted living licensed will be revoked. This helps ensure the quality of senior care services in all Assisted Living facilities.

 

What Is The Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes?

Assisted Living is a non medical facility for active and alert seniors who want to maintain independence for as long as possible but may need help with one of the activities of daily living. On the other hand, Nursing Homes are for seniors who require nursing assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week due to the higher level of care needed.

 

Where Can I Find Assisted Living?

SeniorCareHomes.com provides free assisted living options to help seniors and families find the best-matched assisted living facilities based on budget, location and care needs. Contact one of the Assisted Living Experts now to get started. Comprehensive online listings with Assisted Living photos are also available. View Assisted Living listings in your area now.

 

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Kate Allado, Senior Care ExpertAbout the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of SeniorCareHomes.com - An extensive online directory of Assisted Living, Memory Care and other types of Senior Housing across the U.S. "SeniorCareHomes.com Empowers Families to Choose the Right Assisted Living Options for Their Loved Ones. - Tour Online and Save Time."TM