Although elderly care providers are regulated in all 50 states, there is no official definition of ‘’assisted living’’. Individual facilities differ from one another, but in general, they provide residential style living combined with some of the services found in nursing or retirement homes.
Assisted Living is Different than a Nursing Home
Assisted living communities are ideal for relatively independent seniors. Residents are mobile but need a hand with some daily tasks such as bathing, dressing or cooking. Nursing homes, on the other hand, typically cater for residents who are often bed ridden and require 24-hour help.
Assisted living residents also enjoy their own one bedroom or studio apartment, while nursing homes are generally limited to single or semi-private rooms.
Assisted Living Can Provide Dementia Care
More than 5.4 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s and one in three seniors dies with the disease or other dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org). As a result, many assisted living communities cater for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. They offer dedicated programs to improve quality of life by helping reduce agitation and decrease wandering.
Residents with early stage Alzheimer’s can live within the general assisted living community. However, as the condition advances, sufferers are transferred to special memory care sections. Run by specially-trained staff, these units are designed to help and protect memory-impaired residents.
Many Communities Welcome Pets
Many assisted living facilities understand the therapeutic effect animals can have and allow residents to keep pets.
Each different community has their own rules ranging from allowing goldfish to larger size dogs. Many have ‘’pet interviews’’ to determine whether a particular animal is suitable and some even have pet coordinators to help care for residents’ animals.
It’s Cheaper than You Might Expect
Because most residents have some degree of independence and require less medical care, assisted living is often cheaper than a nursing home or employing a home health provider.
More than 85% of residents pay for assisted living from their personal funds, according to the survey by a leading senior care information website.
However, 41 states do offer benefits packages such as Medicaid to help those with a low income or few assets to live in assisted communities. In addition, war veterans and their spouses might be able to offset costs with financial help from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Communities Can Have Culture Identities
There are more and more assisted living communities set up to cater for specific cultural, religious, dietary or language needs of local populations. A Jewish assisted living facility will serve kosher foods, celebrate Jewish holidays and have weekly Shabbat services. A Chinese community will have staff that speak Mandarin or other dialects.
Recently there has also been a growth in the number of other specialist assisted living communities, such as those catering to golf enthusiasts or ones which are LGBT oriented.
Assisted Living Can be Just What You Need
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