Frequently Asked Questions
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is often viewed as the best of both worlds. Residents have as much independence as they want with the knowledge that personal care and support services are available if they need them. Assisted Living communities are designed to provide residents with assistance with basic ADLs (activities of daily living) such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and more. Some states also allow Assisted Living to offer medication assistance and/or reminders. Assisted Living communities differ from nursing homes in that they don’t offer complex medical services.
What is the difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living?
Independent Living provides a low-maintenance lifestyle which includes many amenities such as meals, housekeeping services, transportation, and utilities, allowing you to enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle without the concerns of home ownership and maintenance. Independent living does not typically offer any type of personal care to its residents. Assisted Living provides a special combination of housing and personalized supportive services to help your loved one receive the help they need with daily activities. These activities of daily living (ADLs) may include bathing, oral care, grooming, dressing, reminders about meal times and programs, and medication monitoring and/or supervision and assistance.
What is Dementia Specialty Care?
Specialty Care is the most intensive care option for people suffering from severe memory loss. These communities are built with secured entrances and walkways where residents can walk without getting lost. Outdoor walking and sitting areas are spacious and enclosed. Residents with memory loss receive treatment according to the severity of their conditions. Many residents require assistance with daily activities such as cleaning, cooking, and bathing. Others may require counseling or therapy. These communities provide staff at all hours of the day and night who can respond to the unique needs of their residents.
What are the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)?
The Activities of Daily Living are routine activities that people do every day that are necessary for independent living at home or in the community. An individual’s ability to perform ADLs is important to determine what type of care an individual needs.
There are five basic ADLs:
- Eating: ability to feed oneself, but not necessarily prepare food
- Personal Hygiene: such as bathing, grooming, and oral care
- Dressing: making appropriate clothing decisions
- Transferring or Walking: transferring oneself from seated to standing
- Continence: or the ability to use the restroom
What are the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living?
The Instrumental Activities of Daily Living are those activities performed by a person who is living independently in a community setting during the course of a normal day, but are not necessarily required activities on a daily basis. Some examples of IADLs are: Managing Medications, Housekeeping, Transportation, Cooking, Grocery Shopping, Handling Personal Finances, and Home Maintenance
What Financial Assistance is Available?
Aid for the costs of assisted living can come from one of the following sources:
- Government Programs: Medicaid, Social Security, Veteran Aid
- Insurance Coverage: Life, Long Term Care, Medicare, Other Health Insurance
- Personal Property: Family’s Resources, Home Equity, Private Loans
- Private Assistance: Foundations, Non-Profits, Pharmaceutical Companies
These categories offer numerous options to assist in the cost of long term senior care. Some options provide overall assistance and other programs are specifically designed to help with certain types of care. Every option differs in its eligibility requirements, and researching options can take some time.
What Assistance is Available for Veterans?
Veterans Administration offers “Aid and Attendance” benefits for Veterans and surviving spouses who require regular aid in the assistance of ADLs, are blind, living in assisted living, or living in a nursing home because of a mental or physical incapacity.
Any war-time Veteran with 90 days of active duty, one day beginning or ending during a period of war, is eligible to apply for the “Aid & Attendance Improved Pension. To see the approved periods of war, visit http://www.veteranaid.org/docs/Periods_of_War.pdf. A surviving spouse of a war-time Veteran may also apply. The individual applying must qualify both medically and financially. There are no costs to apply for Veterans Aid. Processing applications can take between 4-6 months on average, sometimes longer. Seniors 70 or older should request the application process be expedited. It is advised that you include a cover letter with the application noting this request.
What is the Difference Between Assisted Living Fee Structures?
1.)The “All Inclusive” Model
This billing model groups the costs for monthly rent, meals, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, personal care, recreational activities, and nearly everything else residents require in assisted living into a single monthly bill. However, the definition of “all inclusive” will vary from community to community. Also worth noting is that optional expenses may be charged to a monthly bill such as purchases from the community beauty shop or general store.
2.)The “Levels of Care” Model
The Levels of Care model of assisted living payment has multiple levels or tiers into which a variety of services are grouped. Each tier allows for a certain number of care hours per month. For example, individuals who require very little or no extra care would be placed in the lowest level of care which would also be the least expensive. People at the opposite end of the spectrum, those requiring a significant amount of care, are in the highest
3.) The “Fee for Services” Model
In this model, assisted living residents are charged a flat monthly fee for rent. Each service provided comes with an additional cost. This is also referred to as A La Carte pricing. Within the Fee for Service model there can be hourly assistance or flat fees for a service. For example, the monthly charge for helping a resident manage his or her medications might be a flat $500 or X dollars per hour multiplied by X number of hours.