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What is Assisted Living Care?
Assisted living care has evolved since our grandparents were faced with moving their loved ones into a facility. As a matter of fact, the term “facility” is rarely used these days as the word has been replaced with “Senior Living Community.” In today’s day in age where we are seeing baby boomers retire in record numbers, we may now notice a trend of seniors moving into these communities more often than before.
Assisted Living is a part of long-term care services that provides a combination of housing and personal care as well as healthcare. It’s great for seniors who can no longer live on their own and need help with their personal and healthcare tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This includes Bathing, Dressing, Toileting (incontinence care), and Transferring (to or from bed or chair).
This level of care also makes it easier for residents to socialize with their peers. There are plenty of common areas where people can gather as well as structured activities like games, cultural events, dancing, outings, and more. More and more seniors are looking to move into these very modern and lavish communities for these reasons plus three gourmet prepared meals are provided every day. There are also several amenities offered such as a salon, pool, game room, spa room, you name it! Many of these facilities also allow for potential residents and their loved ones to tour the facility before making a decision.
Who is Appropriate for Care Assistance?
Communities provide care to individuals who are 18 years of age or older, are free of communicable diseases, and can perform certain things for themselves. Typically, each community differs on the age requirement (usually 55 or older), although by law, you must be at least 18 years old. Eligibility for admission is based on an individual’s care level requirements as well. Residents entering assisted living facilities often need assistance with ADL mentioned above. It’s also important to know what level of care you or your loved one needs as there are 4 license types of assisted living that can accommodate different care levels.
Assisted living is not appropriate for individuals who have severe cognitive impairment or show behavioral symptoms such as wandering and need extra assistance due to a form of Dementia. A memory care community would be more suitable for this type of care which essentially offers a more secure environment where residents can not leave on their own without being escorted. Residents in memory care receive the same assistance with ADL’s, three chef-prepared meals a day, daily activities, and other similar amenities to assisted living but gear their programming for those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Also, assistance is not appropriate for those that have extensive medical or care needs that require daily nursing services such as a Hoyer lift or are bed-bound. If you do require this type of care, a skilled nursing home would be the best option.
How to Pay for a Facility and Average Cost
Assisted Living is privately paid out of pocket and insurance does not cover the cost. However, there are a couple of programs that can help cover the cost if you qualify:
- Veteran Aid & Attendance (Must have served during wartime or be a widow of an individual who has served. The Reserves does not qualify.)
- LTC Insurance
- Long Term Care Diversion Program through Medicaid (Must not make over a certain amount to qualify)
The average cost of assisted living care is $3500/month in the state of Florida. There are communities that charge less as it depends on each individual building. This amount covers the room and board, utilities, water, cable, and sometimes WIFI as well as three meals a day, activities on-site, amenities, and transportation to doctor appointments and outings.
What is not included in the above amount is the care costs. Care is additional on top of the base rent and can be charged a few different ways. Typically, care costs are different bundles or levels, typically 1-5 with level 1 starting anywhere from $300-400 and go up depending on the level. Each community will perform an assessment on the resident l moving in to determine which level they fall into based on how many things they need help with throughout the day.
There are two other ways care can be charged as well: a la carte fees and all-inclusive. They mean exactly how they sound. A la carte fees are where you are charged for each care item that you need (bathing is a charge, dressing is a charge, etc.). All-inclusive indicates that the care is included in the rent which is great for those who are looking for more affordable options. However, this is harder to find as most do not offer this as an option.
If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about assisted living, call a North Star Senior Advisors today at 407-796-1582. Our complimentary service will walk you through each step of the senior living process as well as guide you to resources you may be eligible for.