The term “Assisted Living” is thrown around casually in everyday conversation. It can have reference to a plethora of different products and services offered by many different care companies. The term is also frequently used to refer to a strange sort of prison for the elderly, but none of these things truly depict what assisted living really is.
Well, What Isn’t Assisted Living?
Difference in regulations from state to state make assisted living a difficult term to narrowly define. Additionally it is such a broad topic that it’s easiest to start off defining what it is not. It’s not by any means a holding cell where the elderly are confined for the rest of their days. Despite popular opinion. It’s also not restricted to the care of those considered seniors by today’s society.
What Is It Then?
Assisted living most often refers to a concentrated care facility that provides needed assistance to the residents renting rooms within. There are facilities of all kinds but an assisted living facility refers to those providing simple care for their patients. The nursing staff is not always accessible, but they do handle all chores such as changing the sheets, doing laundry, and cooking. Beyond that they assist with only the things they are asked to do, or have specific instructions to complete. That’s not to say the caretakers are negligent by any means! Just that they strive to allow their residents to maintain as much independence as they wish to. Other varieties of care facilities are more stringent and active in their caregiving.
Memory Care facilities as they are called, are another form of residential caregiver. They provide far more strict care for patients suffering from severe cases of Dementia and Alzheimers. Doors in these facilities are typically locked to keep the patients from becoming a danger to others or themselves. These patients can still handle many tasks on their own, but the facility is prepared to handle many more in depth tasks than that of a simple assisted living home. Moving further down the line of dependence leads us to what are referred to as nursing homes.
Nursing homes are residential complexes with nursing staff on hand at all times, ready to help with any task, including feeding or bathing. These patients are often far more physically dependent than the clientele found in a typical assisted living home.
What Does It Cost?
Understandably, assisted living is not always a budget friendly service. With the stringent demands from the patients at all hours, and the plethora of services they are required to provide. The average cost for the united states hovers right around $4000 a month. For many this price can be just too steep. Thankfully there are quite a few ways to get help with covering the expenses.
First up, Long Term Care Insurance. Unlike normal insurance long term care insurance does cover extended stays in care facilities as well as assisted living. Making the monthly rent a much more manageable feat. Long term care insurance is offered by most major insurance companies. If long term care insurance is still out of your reach, another option is to go with medicaid. It is important to note that medicare will not help at all with long term care situations, but medicaid while not always covering the costs in their entirety, will assist with the monthly expenses in most cases.
How Do I Qualify?
The qualification process is actually simpler than you might think. As long as you are at least 18 years of age, you can apply to live in an assisted living facility. Most often applicants do require assistance with their daily living activities such as mobility, meal care, and personal hygiene. However, you do not qualify for assisted living if you have severe cognitive impairment, have behavioral symptoms such as wandering, or need extensive medical care.
In order to apply you will need to fill out the associated admissions paperwork, present your medical history, as well as receive a tuberculosis test. Most homes will get back to you within a few weeks with their verdict. If you are found requiring more care than they can provide , many have their own facilities of other kinds. If they don’t, they can provide recommendations on facilities that are able to give you the care you need.