For many families, deciding when to consider an assisted living community is a difficult choice to make. We want whatever will make our loved ones happiest, but we also must take into consideration the realities of financing, time, and your loved ones care taking needs. When it becomes apparent that they need assistance in their daily lives - more than the family can provide - it may be time to start considering options. Unfortunately, not every facility out there was made equal, and it takes a discerning and informed shopper to determine which facility will best match your loved ones needs. If you’re on the fence about looking for assisted living options, here’s a list of characteristics of assisted living you’ll want to consider.
8 Things To Know About Assisted Living
1. Residents Have Freedom and Independence
One common conception of assisted living communities is that residents have to surrender their independence or freedom once they move in. This is not true at all. In fact, once entering the facilities, residents are free to mingle and socialize, as well as request the level of care and assistance they need depending on their privacy. Plus, they will have a wide variety of activities and programs to participate in. Many communities host events that all residents are invited to, and at Landmark Senior Living, our staff works day in and day out to host special events that build bonds and create great memories.
2. Assisted Living is NOT Living in a Nursing Home
Living in an assisted living community is much different from living in a nursing home. When people think nursing home, they typically associate it with old fashioned notions of essentially a jail for the elderly. Assisted living communities are not jail, they are typically filled with activities and opportunities to have fun, socialize, get exercise, and more. Although there will be medical staff and administration members on call 24/7, residents are never being policed. Assisted living facilities are more like a resort.
3. Activities Are Scheduled To Encourage Sociability
Another misconception about assisted living is that residents are milling around doing nothing all day. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, residents are given ample opportunities to hang out and do fun activities, whether it be group outings, meals, speakers, or shows. On the other hand, if your loved one craves being alone, they will never be forced to participate in these activities. However, it’s important to remember that socialization is of the utmost importance to maintaining senior health, both mentally and physically.
4. Assisted Living is More Affordable Than You Think
Some people shy away from considering assisted living because they assume the prices will be too high. This is not the case. In fact, the total cost depends on a whole lot of factors, but there are also plenty of convenient options to help pay for the cost of assisted living. This includes options such as long-term care insurance and the Aid & Attendance Benefit, which is for qualified veterans and their spouses or widows. You’ll have to check with your provider to see what options are available to you. Keep in mind medicare and medicaid do not cover the cost of assisted living, only associated care charges.
5. Not All Assisted Living Communities are the Same
There is no cookie cutter definition for all the programs and amenities that an assisted living community will offer. It’s important to know that while some locations will cater to your loved one’s needs, there are some that may only offer basic services and amenities. When searching for an assisted living community for your loved one, look to see if they offer a broader range of programs such as on-site wellness classes, transportation services, and scheduled trips outside of the facility.
6. Each Assisted Living Community Has Its Own Personality
Like we mentioned before, there is no cookie cutter mold for assisted living. Each one you find will have its own distinct personality and offer differing levels of care and commitment to your loved one. While it may be difficult to gauge one community with another without living there, you can always talk to residents to see what words come to mind when you ask about their home. Make sure to do your research and online and try to gain as much insight into each facility as possible. This why you find a community that is the right fit.
7. Some Communities Offer Dementia and Memory Care
Assisted living is not just a place to stay, it’s also a place where your loved one can get the vital health services they need. Over 5.4 million Americans suffer from some form of Alzheimer's and require special care. Fortunately, there are many assisted living facilities that offer memory care programs for their residents. These programs will not cure Alzheimer's, but they can help ease the struggles of daily living with the disease, decreasing agitation and improving their quality of life. Staff will also help ensure that they can easily live among the regular population of residents.
8. Medicare Will Not Cover the Cost of Assisted Living
Traditionally, Medicare does not cover the cost for assisted living facilities or long-term care facilities. However, if you qualify, Medicare will cover certain healthcare costs that your loved one may incur while living in a facility. Medicare is used typically to pay for a skilled nursing facility or home health care nurse. There are always circumstances that will allow Medicare to cover different types of care, but in most cases Medicare won’t cover the costs of assisted living. On the other hand, Medicaid will help pay for assisted living for your senior if they also have a disability and qualify for the program.
If your loved one is in need of more care and assistance for their daily lives than you are capable of providing, it may be time to start searching for new options. You may feel as though a nursing home is your safest bet, but the truth is that assisted living communities have advanced quickly in recent years along with access to high quality healthcare options. Nowadays, you don't have to settle between medical services and comfort. Assisted living communities at Landmark Senior Living provide a range of care services along with amenities, daily programs and activities, and transportation services at your loved one’s disposal.