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 assistedlivingfacilities.org.
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.