Weigh Assisted-living-homes an alternative to nursing homes

Assisted-living-homes are a great alternative to nursing homes. They provide a combination of independent housing, personal care services and limited healthcare services. Assisted-living-homes do not provide skilled nursing care.

Regulations vary from state to state on some aspects of personal care provided in assisted living and some operators offer different levels of care within assisted living. However, assisted living care and amenities typically include:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and walking.
  • Staff available on a twenty-four hour basis to meet both routine and extra needs.
  • Medication management.
  • Access to health and medical services such as physical therapy.
  • Emergency call systems for each resident’s apartment.
  • Care for residents with cognitive impairments.
  • Three meals a day served in a common dining room.
  • Between meal and evening snacks readily available.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services.
  • Scheduled transportation.
  • Social, spiritual, and recreational activities.
  • Exercise and wellness programs.

Assisted-living-homes can be single family homes renovated to meet state standards or new free-standing buildings constructed for the single purpose of providing assisted living residences. Some are part of a larger continuing care retirement campus that includes independent apartments and a skilled nursing facility. Still others are smaller parts of a free standing nursing home.

The trend in assisted living apartment design for the past several years has been to provide private occupancy apartments. While there are still communities with semi-private living spaces, this has become the exception rather than the rule. This is the case in both free standing assisted living residences and those that are a part of a continuing care campus.

Apartments come in a variety of sizes and styles. Many are fully furnished but residents are often encouraged to bring their own furniture to personalize their apartments. Some include kitchens with refrigerator, sink and maybe a small stove or microwave to accommodate the needs of higher functioning residents. Bathrooms are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers and feature assistive devices such as grab bars in showers.

Common areas in assisted living residences may include:

  • Restaurant style dining rooms.
  • Private dining room for special events or family gatherings.
  • A stylish Bistro for snacks and resident gatherings.
  • Libraries and computer center.
  • Wellness center with appropriate exercise equipment.
  • Parlors and game rooms.
  • A beauty and barber shop.

Assisted living is typically paid for from private funds, but there are a few exceptions. Some long-term care insurance policies cover licensed assisted living. Medicaid waivers are available to help with assisted living costs in some states.

Fees are typically billed per month and it is not uncommon for providers to charge a base fee plus charges for services at different levels of care. Assisted living fees can range from a low of $2000 to a high of $4000 per month.

The federal government does not regulate assisted-Living-homes. All of these facilities are regulated and licensed at the state level. State regulations define the mandatory services an assisted living residence must provide. All settings offer 24-hour care and supervision for those who need assistance.

The purpose of assisted living is to meet the individual needs of residents who need help with activities of daily living, but do not require the skilled medical care provided in a nursing home. However, when the needs of the resident can no longer be met in assisted living, a move to skilled care may be necessary.

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