Assisted living is a long-term care option for seniors who need a level of assistance higher than that of a retirement community, but not as extensive as a medical or nursing home or hospital. Assisted living facilities provide an independent lifestyle with customized assistance.
Assisted living communities offer a unique combination of independent living and care. Unlike nursing homes and other medical facilities, assisted living facilities allow seniors to maintain a sense of independence and involvement in a social community, while at the same time provide the assistance with daily life and peace of mind that comes with a professional support team.
Assisted living communities are suited for residents who need assistance in their daily lives, including preparing their meals, facilitating transportation, maintaining their homes, assisting with hygiene, and managing their medication. Assisted living facilities are also good options for some residents living with disorders such as Alzheimer's, as well as mobility limitations, incontinence, or other conditions common in one's senior years.
While visitors are usually required to sign in and out for security purposes, there are no restrictions on when family members can visit residents in their home. After 'business hours', the exterior doors to facilities are locked and visitors can use a key if they were issued one upon their family member's move-in.
Alternately, assisted facilities are staffed 24 hours a day to provide a safe and secure environment so personnel will let visitors into the building unless there are extenuating circumstances.
In 2014 the national median rate for Assisted Living Communities in the United States was $3,500 per month. There are over 31,000 Assisted Living communities throughout the United States, and the rate is dependent upon the size, style and level of care of the residence you choose.
Unlike traditional apartment living, assisted facilities do not require a lease or long-term commitment. Rent is month-to-month and residents can move out after any length of time. However, 30 days notice is typically required.
Exceptions to this notice may include a physician-ordered transfer to a higher level of care or the community's ability to provide adequate care based upon increasing care needs.
In most states, regulations for assisted facilities require an all-or-nothing approach to medication management. If a resident requires assistance with medications, the medications are ordered, stored and administered by the personnel of assisted facilities.
Medication reminders often lead to liability issues with errors related to incorrect dosages, taking the wrong medication or forgetting to take medications despite reminders. Family members may provide reminders if they feel comfortable with this approach.
Choosing the right assisted living residence takes a lot of research and legwork on your part. It's imperative to compare facilities in terms of unit availability, services offered, cost, and overall philosophy of care. Resources like Senior Living Help empower you to be proactive in requesting information and communicating directly with assisted living professionals. Upon hearing from an assisted living facility's representative, set up tours at residences of interest, observe residents to get a sense of each facility's atmosphere, and most important, be sure your individual needs will be met.
Veterans benefits provide those who have served their country, as well as their spouses, financial assistance during their retirement years. Veterans who are at least 65 years-old* and who served during war time (though not necessarily in actual combat) may be eligible for financial assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) that can be used to help pay for care. Spouses and surviving spouses of wartime veterans are also often eligible. Veteran's benefits can make all the difference for families who are struggling to pay for care.
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