What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a long-term care option that encompasses a combination of housing, support, and health care services. It serves as a residential alternative to nursing home care. As such, assisted living is provided for individuals who require assistance in performing daily activities from meals and bathing to transportation and medical management. Additionally, some residents may need help with mobility, incontinence, or other specific needs. Today assisted living is the most preferred and fastest growing long-term care option for seniors. More than half of all residents are age 85 or older with a median stay time of 22 months.
What services are provided in Assisted Living?
Each state has different licensing and regulation requirements for assisted living providers, so the particular services offered in each assisted living community is different. In general though, these communities offer more personal care services and a less expensive, residential approach to providing the same services available in nursing home care. However, some assisted living facilities are attached to a skilled nursing facility in order to provide more advanced medical care.
Assisted Living communities provide basic medical monitoring as well as help with daily activities. Some of these activities of daily living (ADLs) include dressing, eating, hygiene, bathing, toileting, using the telephone, mobility, etc. Amenities can include exercise and wellness programs, 24-hour security, housekeeping and laundry services, daily meals served in common dining area, and social and recreational activities. The idea is to provide these services on a personal basis and meet each individual’s preferences and needs.
What is the Cost of Assisted Living?
Depending on the residence, apartment size, and array of services offered, assisted living costs can vary. There might be a basic rate to cover the services with additional charges for add-on special services. Residents are typically charged on a month-to-month lease arrangement, but a few require long-term arrangements. Assisted living is of often less expensive than home health or nursing home care.
According to the National Investment Center Investment Guide 2010, the median rate for an assisted living community is $3,326 per month. While 86.2% of assisted living residents today pay for long-term care from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer "home and community-based waivers" that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living.