Rental Communities with more than one level of care entered the
mainstream in the last ten years. People are healthier and living
longer than ever before and are facing the fact that they cannot stay
in their own homes and experience the same quality of life that they
are used too indefinitely. It is rarely possible to make your own home
as safe as it is in an ALF (Assisted Living Facility) and home care can
become a big expense.
Assisted Living is a residential facility, not licensed as a nursing home, that provides personal care and support services. These communities go by a variety of names and are often part of or affiliated with independent communities or nursing care facilities.
Down sizing, failing health, and financial considerations are the key issues involved when considering a Rental Community as a viable option to senior housing.
The services in these communities run the gamut from plain and functional to grand and opulent. The communities that offer two levels of care are the most common. These facilities evolved out of the need to accommodate their residents as they grew older and needed more care.
Assisted Living Facilities, in contrast to a Skilled Facility, gives more thought and consideration to helping residents live a normal and less regimented life. Assisted Living gives a kind of home care in that your get care in your own apartment, not in an institution. In a nursing home, power lies with the provider, in an Assisted Living Facility the power is still in the hands of the consumer.
Assisted Living Facilities cater to the needs of an older group of people. They respond to the fact that many older people need help performing some activities of daily living (bathing assistance, help buttoning buttons, help taking medications, or paying bills). If you are having trouble with cooking, shopping, housekeeping, bathing, dressing or just plain getting around in a safe and timely fashion it may be time to look into an ALF.
Assisted Living Facilities are almost always rental properties. For a month fee, you get an apartment (including utilities), three meals a day, housekeeping, laundry and line services, an emergency call system, and usually assistance with various chores at an additional fee. You may feel that you are being charged too much for things like putting on your elastic hose, but it is going to cost considerable less than arranging for an outside home service. Medication assistance services includes a general health monitor and someone to intervene between yourself, your family and with your physician.
In response to the growing need for even more care than an Assisted Living area is able to provide is the new concept of three, four and even five levels of care. The second level is the Skilled Nursing section, the fourth an Alzheimer’s Unit and the fifth level might be an Adult Day Care Center open to Seniors living outside of the community.
You are not necessarily guaranteed a place in the next level of care in your community. It is necessary for your facility to keep the census up in order to meet their expenses, so there may not be a vacancy for you when the need arises.
The cost difference from independent living to assisted living ranges from 25% to 60%. You should also be aware that the decision to move from one level of care to another is not determined by the resident as much as by a team of people (including yourself, your family, and representatives of the community).