Aging is not for wimps. As we get older, our bodies develop issues and our minds may suffer. Can we continue to live independently? Or, do we want to live in senior housing that offers needed services while allowing us to keep up our lifestyle and independence? Assisted living facilities are not nursing homes or hospitals for the elderly. They are living spaces for seniors who need some services but want as much independence as possible. They try to be a happy medium between living independently and needing nursing homes or memory care.
The Difference Between What Assisted Living Actually Is and What People Think It Is
There are myths and misconceptions about the different types of senior living facilities. It is important to understand what each level of care facility offers and to know what level of care and services you or a family member needs.
- The first level of care is in-home services allowing the senior family member to live independently in their own home. Physical condition and mental challenges will determine how much help is needed and if living independently is an option. The family doctor may help determine what level of service is right for each person.
- When needed, assisted care centers or assisted living communities may be the right solution. These facilities offer a personal apartment space for residents. They offer services such as professional healthcare, personal care, and recreational activities. There will be a community dining room, housekeeping services, transportation help, and more.
- Memory care or custodial care is the next level of care for seniors who have cognitive issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s. This care is given in a nursing home that can give 24-hour personal care. These facilities have single rooms and shared rooms for residents and may have security to keep residents from wandering off.
There Are Some Myths About Assisted Living Facilities.
- Assisted living facilities offer 24-hour, on-site licensed nurses and staffing. Each facility is different and offers a different level of service. Ask about this before signing up to live there. People who need 24-hour services of a licensed nurse may need a different type of living arrangement. Most assisted living facilities are not required to have nurses on site. Assisted living facilities come in many sizes and shapes with different features and different levels of services offered. There are assisted living facilities that offer different levels of service as a person ages.
- Assisted living facilities to take away your independence. You choose the facility that matches your needs for care and preference for independence. They encourage independent living as long as the resident is safe. You are in control of your living space, you decorate it, and it remains locked by you.
- Assisted living facilities to cost too much or are paid for by Medicare or health insurance. Pricing starts as low as $1,500 for basic care options. Added care means more costs. But this is comparable to most housing costs. Medicare and health insurance do not pay for long-term assisted living.
- You must give up your car. This is not true. If you have a safe vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and can safely operate a vehicle you can continue to drive.
Choose an assisted living facility that meets your budget and needs. Interview the facility representative to ask questions about the services that are important. Then enjoy your new home.