What is Assisted Living?

Posted by Shelley Zander

What is Assisted Living?

What is assisted living and how do you know it's time to look at that care option? 

Assisted Living is a living arrangement in a small home-like facility or a large retirement community where some level of care is provided for the resident. You would choose this option when the senior is beginning to need help with basic activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, managing medications, toileting, and eating.

Most of the time the decision to place mom or dad in assisted living is a hard decision.  The reasons that make it hard can range from your parents just don't want to go or they don't think they need to go.  Maybe it's the cost, the loss of independence, the fear of losing touch with friends, the task of downsizing, or parting with a lifetime of possessions.  All of these concerns can be addressed and when looked at more deeply can most likely be brought in a positive light to help ease the uncertainty.

Assisted living is expensive but compared to other means of supervision and care for your loved one it's really cost-effective. But beyond the cost is the physical and mental well-being of the resident to take into count.  Your loved one won't lose their independence, they will actually gain some independence in a smaller controlled more supportive environment and will likely make some new friends along the way.

Assisted Living Facilities come with all kinds of different names and sizes.  There are the small 6 bed residential homes licensed to provide care to elderly clientele that are called board & cares, or residential care facility for the elderly(RCFE) or just care homes.  The large corporate facilities like Brookdale or Sunrise can house hundreds of residents and go by the name of assisted living facility, retirement homes, retirement care facilities, independent living facilities, active adult communities, adult lifestyle communities or retirement community.  These large facilities can offer more amenities than the small facilities but they don't always offer a higher level of care or if they do it's at a much higher rate.

Assisted living facilities offer a variety of levels of care.  Some of the apartment like setting offer very little supervision unless you pay for the additional care that might include medication management and daily check-ins.  The smaller board & cares usually include all of the aspects of care in one price.  All aspect of care includes assistance with activities of daily living, which consist of help with bathing and grooming, dressing and undressing, meal preparation and feeding, help with functional transfers to bed, toilet, chair, wheelchair etc., help with using the restroom and incontinence care, assistance with moving around the facility, and memory care (Alzheimer's and Dementia) and activities for stimulation

The Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2018 says that the national median cost for assisted living per month is $4,000.  Of course, this is the average and the cost of assisted living varies by state and not surprisingly, areas, where the general cost of living is high, tends to be more expensive for assisted living residents. 

 If you want to know more about check out our newest post ...How to find good licensed Assisted Living?