Spotlight on Assisted Living / Residential Care
Updated: Jul 20
When older individuals can no longer live independently but do not require 24-hour-a-day health care, the solution is often assisted living/residential care. Such a facility will fulfill the need for daily assistance with activities of daily life. These include bathing, dressing, eating, transferring, and toileting. The services provided, plus the security of living with others in a supervised setting, offer a viable alternative to in-home care for thousands of older Americans.
An assisted living residence is designed to meet personal needs, housing needs, and health care needs, when necessary. Accommodations vary from single and double rooms to kitchen-equipped apartments. The residence may be part of a retirement community, nursing home, or elderly housing facility, or it may be an independent building on its own campus.
Types of Services
Assisted living/residential care services typically include the following"
There are several:
Assistance with medication
Shopping / Social Activities
Here's How to Choose a Residence
Each assisted living facility/residential care facility offers its own unique services and atmosphere. If there are many choices in your area, visit several before making a choice. You should be asking the following questions:
What types of services are available? Do employees or independent contractors provide these services?
How much input do residents have in their daily schedules and care?
What range of accommodations are offered?
What's included in the cost? What extra services can be added?
Can residents bring furniture or other personal items from home?
What kinds of social and recreational activities are offered?
Does the facility provide levels of care or would a move to another facility be required if additional care arises?
The facility's licensing status, safety, and the environment is also critically important. Consider the following steps if in question:
Ask to see the most recent licensing inspection report from the state
Examine the physical aspects of the facility including cleanliness, lighting, accessibility, and modifications, such as handrails and grab bars.
Ask about features or systems used for residents to get help quickly or in an emergency situation
Observe the staff. Are they respectful and friendly? Do they seem to be enjoying their work and care about their residents? What are the minimum qualifications to provide care?
The yearly costs of assisted living/residential care facilities in the U.S. average of $42,000 in 2014. However, cost can vary tremendously based on location, accommodations, and selected services. Some residents self-pay, using personal savings. Those who qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for financial assistance if the state has been approved for a home and community-based waiver.
With limited public assistance available, long term care insurance has become a viable funding option. Many policies cover assisted living/residential care facilities, but it important to review your policy to determine your specific coverage. To learn more, visit the National Center for Assisted Living at www.NCAL.org.