Do I need an assisted living home or an assisted living facility and what’s the difference?

Do I need an assisted living home or an assisted living facility and what’s the difference?

With so many senior living options available in today’s market, it’s easy to become overloaded with choices. As you look for long term care, you will see both assisted living facilities and assisted living homes. But do you know the difference between the two? It’s important to understand the level of care and the quality of life that each offers to your loved one.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities are a senior care option for older people who are unable to live on their own. A facility offers 24/7 personal care support services, such as:

  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Cooking
  • Toileting
  • Medication management

Most assisted living facilities have varied service levels, such as independent living,  skilled nursing care or memory care units for Alzheimer’s or dementia residents.

Typically facilities house anywhere from 40 to 300 beds in either private or semi-private apartments that may be fully furnished and possibly include a small kitchen area although three healthy meals and snacks are usually provided by the facility. Seniors can socialize and eat with other residents in a central dining room. Transportation services, social activities, and other events are scheduled to keep residents socially active. 

The prices for many assisted living facilities usually are 30% higher than residential assisted living. For memory care it typically increases monthly costs by 20-30%.

Assisted Living Homes

An assisted living home is for seniors who would rather live in a more cozy, home-like environment, generally at a slightly reduced price generally. Similar to a senior care facility, assisted living homes offer basic personal care, food services and activities with social engagement. Many homes offer dementia or other forms of memory care.  Also, many of these homes provide medical care through their own registered nurse or a mobile medical service.  These homes generally resemble residential houses that are tailored to deliver assisted living services.

Assisted living homes are generally much smaller facilities providing care for up to 10 to 15 seniors. In this way, they’re able to offer a more personal and intimate environment for your elderly loved ones. Assisted living homes may also be referred to as:

  • Residential Care Homes
  • Board and Care Homes
  • Personal Care Homes
  • Group Homes
  • Adult Family Homes
  • Adult Foster Care

Assisted Living Services Offered

Assisted living homes are perfect for seniors who prefer to live in a warm community environment and do not need constant medical and personal attention. Here are some of the services provided by most residential care homes:

  • Meal preparation
  • Eating 
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Medication management and medication administration
  • A semi-private or private room
  • Some facilities offer financial and healthcare management

How To Choose Your Assisted Living Solution?

As a provider of assisted living services, Vista Living has a great deal of experience helping families make the right choices for care for their loved ones.

Firstly, ensure that the home or facility has the level of care that your senior needs. If your loved one needs 24/7 attention, only home health agencies, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities offer this kind of service. Generally, facilities might have more specialized care options but, being larger, they might lack more of the community feel of a home. 

The licensing of senior living communities varies by state and therefore there are varying degrees of quality of care and qualifications of healthcare providers, so make sure you do your homework on the facilities you are considering. Ask for any to see recent surveys of the facilities, review references thoroughly and read reviews online. Also, visit and compare different types of homes.

The majority of families make decisions based on the ease of visiting family members. Assisted living homes generally are more widespread and there are more local options available. Most, if not all, families think that location is a major factor in selecting an assisted living facility for your loved one. 

Pricing for Assisted Living Homes

For this smaller residential assisted living setting it generally costs 30% less than the larger facilities. Remember that the prices depend on the services offered, the quality of the caregivers and the location of each facility!

For any additional questions on assisted living care, please contact us, we would be happy to help.

6 Common Myths About Aging and Exercise

6 Common Myths About Aging and Exercise

Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults

Exercising for seniors is more than just adding years to your life, it’s all about adding more life to your years. You’ll look great, feel great, be more energetic, and have a greater sense of overall well-being, no matter your age.

Did you know that exercise is the number one contributor to having a longer life? And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve just started exercising during your senior years.  To help you get started, it’s important to know about the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

Physical Benefits:

  • Improves balance, mobility, and flexibility. Strength, flexibility, and good posture are improved during exercise. Which greatly helps with coordination and balance – lowering the risk of falls and any fall-related injuries. Strength training is also known to prevent symptoms of various chronic illnesses, such as arthritis.
  • Reduces the impact of different chronic diseases and illnesses. Regular physical activity is proven to improve the body’s immune system and digestive functioning. It helps lower the risk of dementia, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers, and heart disease. It also promotes better blood pressure and bone density.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Your body’s metabolism slows down as you age. Which is why maintaining a healthy weight is more difficult. Regular physical exercise helps boost metabolism and build muscle mass, which helps in burning more calories.

Mental Health Benefits:

  • Better brain health: While mentally stimulating activities such as Sudoku or word puzzles helps in keeping your brain running, exercise can do more wonders. It helps to prevent or slow down the progression of memory loss, dementia, and dementia by tapping into multitasking and creativity.
  • Good night’s sleep. Adults should be able to sleep for at least six hours every night. Exercise helps you be able to sleep quickly, sleep more deeply, and wake up energetic and ready to face the day.
  • Boosts selfconfidence and mood. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins – a hormone that can help lessen feelings of depression, anxiety, or sadness. Therefore, exercising is a huge stress reliever and helps you feel more confident.

Most Common Myths about Exercise and Aging

Myth 1: I have too many aches and pains in my body. I’m too weak.

  • Fact: Regular physical activity can actually help you manage aches and pains in your body. It also makes you stronger. Not only is there an improvement in strength, exercise also helps combat a decline in vitality that comes with age. The secret is to start slowly and gently.

Myth 2: It doesn’t matter if I exercise – I’m getting old anyway.  

  • Fact: Exercising promotes independence and makes you look and feel younger. It also reduces the chances of developing various health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Myth 3: It’s so frustrating. I’ll never be as agile as I once was.

  • Fact: Your body changes as you age. Your hormones, bone density, metabolism, and muscle mass may change. That said, strength and performance level may inevitably decline as you get older. However, it doesn’t mean that you can no longer benefit from health improvements the sense of accomplishment you get after exercising. It’s best to start slow and to tailor your exercises to your lifestyle goals that are age-appropriate. Always remember that being sedentary can do more harm than good.

Myth 4: Exercising increases the risk of falling.

  • Fact: As a matter of fact, exercising regularly can promote muscle building, improve strength and stamina, and prevent the loss of bone mass. As a result, your balance will improve, reducing the risk of falling. Every senior should incorporate balance exercises into their exercise regimen.

Myth 5: I won’t be able to exercise since I’m disabled.

  • Fact: People with disabilities face certain challenges when it comes to physical activity. However, there are many exercises that tailor to their needs. They can lift weights, stretch, do chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair Tai Chi to help improve range of motion, muscle tone, and flexibility, as well as their cardiovascular health. Many gyms or swimming pools may offer classes and other adaptive programs to people in wheelchairs.

Myth 6: I’m too old.

  • Fact: You will never be too old to exercise. It will never be too late to get moving and improve your overall well-being. As a matter of fact, people who become active later in life reap more physical and mental benefits as opposed to younger people. If you haven’t tried exercising before or if you haven’t exercised in a long time, it’s best to start with gentle and simple exercises and build it up from there.

Exercising is for everyone. However, before you begin any form of exercise, be sure to consult your doctor or your healthcare team. They will most likely refer you to a reputable personal trainer or they may prescribe you with the right exercises for you.

How to Overcome Obstacles that Prevent You from Being Active

Did you notice your elderly loved one becoming more sedentary as they age? Many seniors tend to slow down as they grow older due to many different reasons, such as feelings of pain, weight changes, health problems, or worries about falling. Or maybe your elderly loved one thinks that exercising for seniors isn’t for them.

With everything that’s going on with our daily lives, it may be hard to maintain a regular exercise routine that you can stick to. And it won’t get easier as you get older due to body pain, health problems, and concerns regarding falling or other injuries.

If you think you’re too old to exercise or if you haven’t exercised before, you may feel that these are legitimate reasons to slow down and give up exercising altogether. However, these are exactly the reasons why you should get moving.

Keep in mind that whether you’re 9 or 90, it’s never too late to keep your body moving.

At Vista Living Senior Care and our team helps seniors improve the quality of their life by making our purpose built 10 resident Luxury Senior Care Homes in the Phoenix Arcadia area something special.  Sit and Be FIT exercises start our days and attendance is impressive with no one showing up late.

Vista Living Exercise Program

Seniors exercising at Vista Living Senior Care

We urge you to consider Vista Living Senior Care for your family, please schedule a tour, we know we have something special. Let us show you.  For more information please call Vista Living Senior Care at 480-456-1919 or Visit

How Assisted Living Works – Common  Questions Answered

How Assisted Living Works – Common Questions Answered

Assisted living facilities provide alternative senior housing that is intended for seniors who may need an extra helping hand in doing everyday tasks such as medication management, bathing, dressing, and eating but do not necessarily need a 24-hour monitoring such as those offered by nursing homes.

Recent estimates show that more or less 1.2 million seniors in the United States are currently living in over 30,000 assisted living facilities in the country. On average, a senior transfer from a private living arrangement to an assisted living facility earns at least $30,000 yearly and is usually an 80-year-old female who is still capable of doing regular routines with little help.

A senior resident typically stays in an assisted living facility for an average of three years before they need to be moved to a community that offers monitoring 24/7 such as nursing homes. There are, however, circumstances that contribute to a resident being discharged from an assisted living facility. These include:

  • Inability to continue the payments for the facility
  • Seniors relocate back to their homes
  • Staying in a hospital
  • Moving to another senior care facility

The Rights of a Senior

Assisted living facilities are best for your senior loved one of they’re still able to do things on their own. Although they are independent, assisted living facilities still provide them with the care they need. Deciding to transfer your loved one to an assisted living facility enables them to maximize their capacities since they are exposed in a safe and supportive environment.

Moreover, the residents are also entitled to his/her rights in an assisted living facility. These rights include:

  • Right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • Freedom from any forms of neglect and abuse
  • Respecting their views on religion and allowing them to practice their belief
  • The right to privacy and personal space
  • Managing their own financial affairs unless legally restricted
  • To have a safe and homey environment
  • Freedom from being discriminated

There are other rights that your loved one may be able to enjoy in an assisted living facility. For the complete list and information, you may be able to visit

Living Arrangements, Services, and Amenities of an Assisted Living Facility

The beauty of assisted living facilities is that they provide residents with vast choices when it comes to living arrangements. Most facilities may look like a home and may allow residents to avail a private or a shared room, depending on their preferences. Some facilities may even offer its residents with a studio apartment, dormitory type pads, or a shared one-bedroom apartment. They may also be allowed to choose a fully-furnished or an unfurnished space.

Assisted living facilities offer a lot of services to its residents. Some may also offer extra services if they need it. But usually, the basic services that a regular assisted living facility may offer its residents are:

  • Assistance with the basic daily routines such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management.
  • Administering medications and providing basic health assistance.
  • 24/7 security services
  • Group exercises
  • Wellness programs
  • Scheduled Recreational activities
  • Social services
  • Housekeeping and maintenance services
  • Laundry services
  • Transportation services
  • Activities that stimulate their cognitive reasoning
  • Meal preparation
  • Emergency call systems and protocols

The services that are offered to the residents vary in each facility. The more specific a senior is about his/her preference, the more they’ll likely look for a facility that would provide them with what they need.

Assisted Living Costs and Fees

When it comes to the costs of assisted living facilities, the most basic price usually include the services that are mentioned above. However, should your loved one need other services such as haircuts, nail care, or any other activities aside from the basic services offered, additional costs may apply. You may be able to talk with the management regarding the pricing of the additional services.

Generally, assisted living facilities cost lesser than nursing homes since they only provide housing and basic care to seniors. This type of senior care community costs approximately $2,000 but it could go lower or higher depending on some factors such as size, location, and the living arrangements.  

Government programs such as Medicaid, Social Services Block Grant, Veteran Aid, or Supplementary Security Income may help you in cutting the costs of assisted living. A few states may also allow you to make use of tax-exempt bonds or Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs). Seniors may also be able to use their long-term care insurance in covering the costs for assisted living facilities; however, they won’t be able to use Medicare.

Quality of Assisted Care

Deciding to transfer your loved one into may require you to do a deep and intensive research. Knowing the policies and regulation allows you to narrow down your list of facilities that would give your loved one the best care.

As of today, there are still no federal regulation policies with regards to assisted living facilities but with the increasing number of facilities, most states are working to create a system that would regulate their operation. In fact, out of five states, two already have a working regulatory system, one is already revising their regulatory system, and 10 out of 50 states are already looking into assisted living.

Furthermore, you should also evaluate certain things relating to the assisted living facility including its administration and staff’s qualifications. With that said, the following are other factors you need to consider:

  • Ability to manage the facility
  • Experience with handling residents in assisted living
  • Educational background
  • Regular participation in training and seminars or making sure to remain up to date with techniques and activities to improve their service to residents.

The number of staff hired by the assisted living facility typically varies depending on the services offered, a total number of residents, or how big the facility is. Assessing this aspect would ensure that your loved one would be able to choose an assisted living facility that would cater all his/her needs. Usually, caregivers, nutritionists, administrators, physical therapists, medical team, wellness and health directors, and beauticians are hired by facilities in order to serve the needs of other residents.

To further assess the workforce of a facility, here are some of the factors you need to look out for:

  • Will the staff be able to cater the scheduled needs of their residents without any delay?
  • Should the need arise, will they be able to tend to the unscheduled needs of the seniors?
  • Are they capable of giving thorough and direct answers to any questions asked by the senior’s families?
  • Does the staff have enough skills, education, and training that is necessary for the job?

Finding the Right Assisted Living Facility

When finding the right facility to move your loved one into, you need to be assured that his/her needs would be tended. In order to make sure that you’re choosing the right facility, here are some questions you can ask:

  • In what ways are we able to pay for the fees of the facility?
  • What services are inclusive of the monthly plan?
  • Will the fees be flexible should my loved one’s needs change?
  • Even if there’s no change in the needs of my loved one, is it still possible that the fees will change? If that’s the case, how much notice will residents be given?
  • Is a deposit necessary? Would the deposit be refunded should my loved one change her mind and move to another facility or back home?
  • What are the complete services offered by your facility?
  • Is there any policy regarding outside services? If there is, what is the policy?
  • How is the level of care needed by my loved one assessed? How often do they need to be evaluated?

Looking for the best assisted living facility may cause us to overlook some things including the opinions of our loved ones. Even if we’re busy looking after their well-being, consulting them before making any big decisions could help make things easier. The important thing is they will feel safe, comfortable, and at home in the facility.

3 Differences between Independent Living and Assisted Living

3 Differences between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Making the decision to move into a senior care community is not an easy decision for both the senior and their loved ones. Along with the emotional challenges that come with moving, your family will also be faced with different kinds of senior living options. For this reason, it’s important to know your options.

Assisted Living Facilities and Independent Living are two of the most popular senior care options available today but most people still often confuse one with the other. It’s easy to see why since both have striking similarities:

  • Your loved one’s social circle widens since he/she is surrounded by other seniors.
  • There are activities that promote cognitive function and improve social interaction.
  • Different amenities your loved one can enjoy – personal trainers, gardens, transportation, pool, and the like, depending on the facility.

The key difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living all boils down to the level of care they provide.

Assisted Living Facility

An Assisted Living facility is mainly designed for seniors who are unable to live safely on their own. These seniors may also need extra help when it comes to the activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, dressing among other things. However, the amount of assistance an Assisted Living facility provides can only go so far.

Assisted Living residents should not require extensive care since the facility does not have a skilled nursing staff available 24/7. However, family members should not be worried as highly trained staffs are always on the premises to attend to the senior’s needs.

An Assisted Living facility generally offers:

  • Transportation services
  • Housekeeping
  • Wellness programs
  • Social activities and events
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with daily living – dressing, bathing, eating, etc.

Independent Living Facility

An Independent Living facility is designed for seniors who are perfectly capable of living by themselves. It’s very similar to a housing, but for the elderly. It’s mainly for seniors who do not want to live alone but has to leave their homes due to various reasons. Whether they want to move into a smaller house or widen their social circle, Independent Living enables them to live comfortably in a healthy, safe, and active environment.

Independent living typically offers:

  • Housekeeping
  • Landscaping
  • Meal preparation
  • Social activities and events
  • Transportation
  • Wellness program
  • Security services

The term Independent Living is also known to many as a retirement community, a retirement home, senior apartments, active adult community, 55+ community, or a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

We’ve already established that the main difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living facilities is the level of care being provided. Let’s find out more about the differences between the two in terms of care services, living space, and various payment options.

1. Care Services and Other Amenities

Assisted Living: As you now know, assisted living extends their services to the elderly who are incapable of living by themselves but require minimal assistance with the activities of daily living, such as medication management, eating, bathing, and the like.

While assisted living is usually not staffed by medical professionals 24/7, they do have an on-duty medical professional – caregivers or nurse practitioners. Facilities make sure that there should be at least one to two medical professionals to keep an eye on the residents round-the-clock.

Other facilities also have a special memory care unit for seniors suffering from mild to severe dementia, depending on what the facility offers. However, most of them do not offer care for people with extreme health issues.

Independent Living: Independent Living aims to make the senior’s daily living easier for them. They want to provide them with a high quality of life, surrounded by like-minded individuals that enables them to live independently as long as possible. Communities typically offer basic housekeeping services, landscaping, meal preparation, social activities, and events, as well as security surveillance.

The seniors living in these communities are usually active and healthy, which is why round-the-clock care is not needed. You might be wondering why seniors move into a senior living community despite being healthy. One of the reasons why they move into independent living facilities is that they need help with household chores or they may need to socialize and interact more with other people to avoid social isolation.

Both facilities have scheduled activities for the residents. While the type of activities varies for every facility, one of the most common ones are usually:

  • Game nights
  • Group exercises
  • Field trips
  • Support and discussion groups
  • Continuing education courses
  • Holiday celebrations – 4th of July, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, etc.

Assisted Living and Independent Living both offer transportation services for the residents; driving them to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other errands.

2. Living Space

Assisted Living: For Assisted Living facilities, apartment-style units are the most common styles available. It can either be fully-furnished or not and some rooms may have small kitchens. As mentioned, some assisted living facilities have special care or memory care units for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Independent Living: The living space usually depends on the facility itself. Some may opt for the apartment-style communities or a building with a number of rooms. The main feature of independent living communities is that residents have their own private living space and a common room where they can mingle and socialize with other people.

3. Payment Options and Financial Considerations

Another difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living is the modes of payment and the access to different financial resources. It’s a known fact that senior living is not cheap – it actually costs a lot of money. Your access to different financial resources is a great help in cutting the out-of-pocket costs of assisted living.

Assisted Living: Some Assisted Living facilities to ask for additional costs if the senior would need another type of specialized care other than the ones indicated in the contract, especially so when they would have to hire a medical professional to look after them.

You can make use of different financial resources to pay for Assisted Living, such as long-term care insurance policies, life settlements, reverse mortgage funds, annuities, Aid and Attendance benefits for your veteran loved one, as well as savings and personal funds.

You can also use Medicaid for financial assistance but it depends on the state you’re located. As for Medicare, it only covers a small part of the total cost. It only pays for a short-term stay that aids a senior in recovering from a surgery or temporary illness.

Independent Living: Rent is the primary cost in Independent Living communities. Additional costs apply if the community offers different recreational activities outside the Independent Living, such as private golf courses and the like. The senior will have to pay for extra costs incurred to cover for membership and/or other necessary fees.

Healthcare financial aid programs funded by the government cannot pay for independent living costs since the senior will not be receiving medical care. Alternatively, seniors may use their retirement savings, Social Security, pension income, and personal funds.

The Verdict: Which Is Better?

Ultimately, it all boils down to what you’re elderly loved one needs. If the senior doesn’t have any health complications and is capable of living independently, Independent Living facilities may be the best option for them. Residing in Independent Living means lesser chores to do and more opportunities for social interaction and activities.

On the other hand, if your elderly loved one constantly needs help with activities of daily living or if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s, assisted living should be one of their options. Rest assured that your elderly loved one will receive the attention they need while staying as independent as possible.

7 Differences Between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing

7 Differences Between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing

Is your elderly loved one starting to require a higher level of care than usual? If so, then you’ll soon bear the burden of choosing the right senior living community for them. Since there are numerous senior living communities that come with different costs, benefits, and the like, finding the best senior care can be daunting.

Which is why it’s best to do your research, ask questions, and thoroughly compare each senior living environment to the other.

Skilled Nursing vs. Assisted Living

Among the senior living options, two of the most common are assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities. Unfortunately, not a lot of people know the difference between the two. To help you and your loved one make this life-changing decision, here are seven main differences between skilled nursing and assisted living facilities:

1.    The Facility’s Goal

Skilled nursing facilities look to rehabilitate seniors so they could be able to return to living independently or to move into another senior care option, such as assisted living facilities. With that said, seniors in skilled nursing facilities only stay for a short period of time.

On the other hand, seniors in assisted living facilities are in it for the long run. The goal of assisted living is to help seniors maintain their independence while being provided with the day-to-day care they need. It’s important to know that one senior care option isn’t better than the other because all care facilities cater to every kind of need.

Both assisted living and skilled nursing offer enrichment activities to keep seniors entertained, such as social groups, events, group discussions, group exercises, religious services, field trips, dining choices, game nights, and more. This makes the senior care community feel more like an actual community or home.

2.    Level of Care Administered

Senior care communities are there to empower seniors and help them live their best quality of life for as long as possible. One of the main differences between these communities is the services and the level of care offered. To know the best senior living option for your loved one, all you have to do is to know their needs and the type of care required to keep them healthy – emotionally and physically.

Does your loved one need daily therapy? Artificial respirations? Or IV medications? It might be best for them to stay at a skilled nursing facility where their needs will be properly met by the right staff and environment.

On the contrary, if your loved one does not require constant medical attention, assisted living facilities may be better for them since assisted living residents generally need minimal assistance in terms of:

  •         Activities of daily living (eating, dressing, bathing, etc.)
  •         Social support
  •         Mental health
  •         Medication management
  •         Financial management

If you’re unsure about what your loved one needs, it’s best to ask the senior’s medical team since they’re the ones who know exactly what they need.

3.    Length of Stay

We’ve established that skilled nursing is meant for seniors who are recuperating from a disease or when there is a sudden decline in the senior’s health. For this reason, seniors may temporarily stay in skilled nursing facilities to recover before moving (usually permanently) into an independent living facility or even to an assisted living.

On the flip side, assisted living is a senior community where seniors stay long term. They’re able to enjoy living independently, surrounded by their peers, while receiving all the help they need when they need it.

4.    Staff Availability

Skilled nursing facilities usually have, at the very least, one registered nurse in the premises 24/7. While assisted living facilities should have an on-call licensed practical nurse and/or registered nurse. The law doesn’t state that nurses have to be in the facility at all times. With that said, if you think your loved one needs constant medical care, nursing facilities is the better option.

Honesty and awareness are important in assessing your loved one’s needs. You wouldn’t want them to move into an assisted living facility only to find out they need to be transferred to skilled nursing a few months later. However, no matter how prepared you are, this situation may inevitably happen due to a sudden shift in the senior’s health. But rest assured that thoroughly assessing your loved one’s current and future needs will save both parties from further frustration and additional expenses.

5.    Cost

Skilled nursing facilities usually cost more than assisted living because of the 24/7 medical care the patients receive. However, there are different ways to help lower the cost of skilled nursing. Programs such as Medicaid and insurances such as long-term care insurance are of great help. While the price of senior living isn’t cheap, it shouldn’t hinder your loved one from receiving the care they rightly deserve.

6.    Level of Independence

In terms of the level of independence, skilled nursing facilities do not offer much independence since it’s all about helping seniors recover from recent hospitalization or health decline. Seniors in skilled nursing usually need constant monitoring and overall medical care.

On the other hand, assisted living highly encourage its resident to be independent as much as possible. The residents have the freedom to make their own schedule and also they get to decide when they need assistance.

Assisted living facilities have a daily schedule of activities. The staff should only encourage, not force, seniors to participate. Most assisted living facilities also have transportation services that seniors can use when they need to doctor’s appointments or social events.

7.    Insurance Coverage and Other Payment Options

Seniors may use their Medicare and/or Medicaid programs in skilled nursing since it primarily focuses on medical care. But these programs (health insurance and Medicare programs) cannot be used to cover the cost of assisted living.

While there are numerous long-term care insurance policies that can help your loved one pay for assisted living, most of the costs are paid by the senior’s personal funds. If you want to know more about payment options, it is best to consult with your local elder law attorney for more information.

It’s easy to see why seniors would pick assisted living communities over skilled nursing facilities because of the perks and the independence offered. However, it’s important to remember that choosing the right senior living environment all boils down to the level of care your elderly loved one needs.



Assisted Living Vs. Residential Care Homes: The Main Difference

Assisted Living Vs. Residential Care Homes: The Main Difference

There are a lot of senior living options available in today’s market. It’s no wonder why it’s easy to confuse one with the other. If you’re already on the lookout for senior care facilities, then you may be familiar with the terms assisted living facilities and assisted living homes. But do you know the difference between the two? When searching for your loved one’s long-term care options, it’s important to know your options.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities are a senior care option specifically created for older people who are unable to live on their own. Each facility offers personal care support services, such as:

  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Cooking
  • Toileting
  • Medication management

This type of facility typically houses anywhere from 40 to 300 beds. The staff is also available 24/7 to ensure that your loved one is safe and well taken care of. Most assisted living facilities offer basic services offered by different senior care options, such as independent living and skilled nursing care.

Assisted living facilities usually offer private or semi-private apartments that may be fully furnished along with a small kitchen area. Three healthy meals and snacks are usually provided by the facility. Seniors can socialize and eat with other residents in a central dining room. Transportation services, social activities, and other events are scheduled to keep residents socially active. Most facilities offer basic nursing services – off-site or on-site – depending on the facility. Special care unit for Alzheimer’s or dementia residents is also offered in some facilities.

The prices for many assisted living facilities can range from $4,500 to over $12,000 per month. This all depends on the type of apartment chosen and the level of care your elderly loved one needs. Should you include Alzheimer’s care, the monthly cost would be around $5,000 to $15,000. It’s important to remember that these prices are subject to change depending on the facility and location.

Assisted Living Homes

An assisted living home is for seniors who would rather live in smaller, home-like environment, at a lesser price. Similar to other senior care facilities, assisted living homes offer basic personal care and food services. Also, many of these homes provide medical care through mobile medical service or a contract with a registered nurse. However, it’s unlikely that they’ll have any medical staff. These homes are most likely former residential homes that are turned into assisted living businesses.

Since it’s a small senior care facility, they only provide care for up to 10 to 15 seniors. In this way, they’re able to offer a more personal and a home-like environment for your elderly loved ones. Assisted living homes may also be referred to as:

  • Residential Care Homes
  • Board and Care Homes
  • Personal Care Homes
  • Group Homes
  • Adult Family Homes
  • Adult Foster Care

Services Offered

Assisted living homes are perfect for seniors who prefer to live in a homey environment and do not need constant medical and personal attention. If your loved one needs 24/7 attention, only home health agencies, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities offer this kind of service. However, this option is more expensive than other senior living facilities.

Here are some of the services provided by most residential care homes:

  • Meal preparation
  • Eating
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Transportation services
  • Medication management and medication administering
  • A semi-private or private room
  • Some facilities offer financial and healthcare management

Assisted Living Facilities vs. Residential Care Homes

Since both residential care and assisted living offer similar services, you may be wondering how they differ from one another. As you may have noticed, both facilities are very much alike. There are two things that differentiate one from the other – the size of the facility and the cost. Assisted living facilities are typically bigger than residential care homes when it comes to the number of residents.

The level of care in residential care homes are more personal since one caregiver is assigned to three to four senior residents. If your elderly loved one is still active, independent living options, such as a continuing care facility is a better choice for them. Assisted living communities offer social activities and events, such as:

  • Group exercises
  • Outings and field trips
  • Focus group discussions

Location Matters!!

When a senior enters an assisted living home, his/her loved ones would want to visit them easily. Another perk of assisted living homes is that they are more widespread than large assisted living facilities. Larger ones tend to have a single central location, while residential care homes can be found in neighborhoods everywhere. Most, if not all, families think that location is a major factor in selecting an assisted living facility for your loved one.

The lack of federal standards for senior living communities makes it more complicated to look for one. The licensing rules and regulations vary from each state, while other states didn’t even set standards for senior living.

If your state licenses residential care homes, you can look at surveys done by senior living communities in your area at your local licensing offices. To save you time and effort, you can ask the facility to show you the survey results instead. To start looking for a licensing agency near you, you might want to get in touch with the department of aging in your state. If you’re from Arizona, here is a link to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

One of the reasons why assisted living homes are so different from one another is that a lot assisted living homes are run by different types of people; from veterans, registered nurses, immigrants, and the like. Other facilities are even run by the caregivers or by the owner themselves. Which is why the first step in choosing an assisted living facility is to determine the needs of your elderly loved one. Prior to choosing the best senior care for your loved one, it’s best to visit and compare different types of homes.

Pricing for Assisted Living Homes

Monthly costs for residential care communities generally cost 20% to 50% less than larger assisted living communities. However, remember that the prices depend on the services offered and the location of each facility.

It’s undeniable that senior living can be pretty expensive. It’s a good thing there are different programs that can help you pay for it, such as Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance to name a few.

Medicaid not only helps low-income seniors pay for long-term care but also helps in paying for medical expenses. However, an assisted living facility must be certified by the state to accept residents paying for Medicaid. So, you wouldn’t be able to use the benefit even if you qualify for it unless the facility enables you to do so. On the other hand, Medicare won’t be able to help in paying for assisted living fees since it doesn’t cover custodial care.

WordPress Video Lightbox