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.