Assisted living or assisted care facilities are becoming more popular as the adult population ages. These residential care communities offer a wide range of services but also provide seniors with a private, independent housing solution that still affords assistance when needed.
What is assisted living?
An assisted living facility, also referred to as a residential care facility, is a long-term senior care residence that provides support care services such as personal care, medication management, meals and transportation.
This type of adult care environment offers some services but is not licensed as a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living care is intended to allow seniors to preserve the highest level of independence possible while receiving assistance with certain daily activities. Many retirement communities offer assisted living care in order to provide a living environment in which seniors are able to retain a level of respect and independence.
Assisted living services can be personalized to ensure that each resident’s care is appropriate to their current needs; and at any time, increasing needs in a particular area can be provided to ensure consistency in lifestyle and comfort.
What does assisted living cost?
Assisted living costs vary depending on:
- Type of residence
- Size of residence
- Types of services required
- The residence’s geographical location
Costs differ with the residence, apartment size, and types of services needed. The standard rate may include all services or there may be additional charges for special services. Most assisted living residences charge on a month-to-month basis, but a few require long-term provisions.
The national median monthly rate for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility is $3,500, according to the 2014 Cost of Care Survey released in April by Genworth Financial Inc. of Richmond, Virginia. That's $42,000 per year, an increase of 1.45 percent over 2013. The cost has been rising by an average of 4.29 percent annually over the past five years.
There are also a number of adult family care homes that utilize a tiered pricing model with grouped services. For example, a resident needing very little aid would be at the bottom tier. Other pricing examples include comprehensive, a la carte or individual fee-per-service basis. Providers regularly review service and care plans to ensure residents' needs are being met. Billing is typically done monthly.
Today’s assisted living facilities typically offer the latest amenities, comfort and privacy amidst a manicured setting. The variety of residences can range from well-situated high-rise apartments near city centers to quiet, tucked away communities with all the appeal of a small town. There is no specific design for assisted living because the needs and preferences of the residents can vary widely.
Adult assisted living facilities offer more services than independent living communities. In addition, they offer a low-cost, residential alternative to supplying many of the same services available in skilled nursing homes.
Most facilities have between 20 and 120 residences, varying in size from a studio to a two bedroom apartment.
Typical standard assisted living services include:
- Access to health care and medical services customized to specific needs
- Assistance with daily activities (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, grooming, dressing, toileting and walking
- 24-hour emergency services
- Three meals a day, housekeeping and laundry services
- Exercise, social and recreation programs
- Medication management with or without medication assistance
- Some medical services