Assisted Living

Assisted living is a type of residence for seniors who may need help in managing certain basic daily living activities such as cooking meals, bathing or dressing themselves, doing laundry, or taking medications. As opposed to a traditional nursing home, assisted living is for people who need some specific services or a basic level of supervised care but are otherwise free of serious mobility, mental or healthcare issues. Nursing homes are typically for elderly and disabled people with serious, chronic conditions who require intensive medical care from specially-trained, medical personnel.

Seniors in assisted living can maintain an active lifestyle while their family members get the peace of mind of knowing that a caring, well-trained staff is available should their family member need assistance.

What Services and Amenities Are Provided in Assisted Living?

Many assisted living facilities resemble typical apartment communities. Most residents live in single units where a staff member comes each day to help them with chores such as bathing and dressing. Staff members are present 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies and take care of resident’s needs.

The atmosphere at communities is generally relaxed in terms of activities. Meals are provided but typically there are not set dining times and residents can often choose what to eat and where to take their meals. Fitness classes and other recreational activities such as movie screenings or group activities are scheduled on a regular basis. Most communities provide transportation for residents to and from medical appointments, scheduled outings and shopping.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of a facility will vary greatly depending on location, quality and number of services provided. More often than not, seniors or their family members pay the cost of living in an assisted living residence, although some facilities do offer financial assistance programs. Medicare currently does not cover the costs of this kind of care and few states are authorized to utilize Medicaid waivers to help families pay for care.

Assisted living can be a great solution for people who do not require the full services of a nursing home and offer a less expensive alternative to home health care. They also allow seniors to cut down on the expense and hassle of owning and maintaining a home.

Written by senior housing writer Jacqui Howell