Assisted living is for people who may need some help with daily care, but not as much assistance as a nursing home provides or the medical care of a skilled nursing facility.
Generally, several levels of care are offered, with residents paying more for higher levels of care.
Assisted living residents usually live in their own apartments or rooms and have shared common areas.
These facilities range in size from as few as 25 residents to 120 or more.
Assisted living facilities are more residential in appearance versus the hospital look of nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.
These communities are designed for those seniors who want an independent lifestyle but need some assistance.
Most assisted living communities also provide at extra cost: housekeeping, access to health services, staff available for personal needs, 24-hour security, an emergency call system, exercise programs, medication management, personal laundry service, and social and recreational activities.
Some assisted living communities also have memory and Alzheimer’s care units.
Types of Assisted Living Spaces
The types and sizes of assisted care housing vary as do the costs.
• Shared rooms
• Private rooms
• Studio apartments without kitchens or partial kitchens without cooking facilities
• Studio apartments with small kitchenettes
• One bedroom apartments with kitchens.
• Upscale multi bedroom apartments.
The living space may be furnished or unfurnished. Even if the living space is furnished some assisted living facilities allow residents to bring some of there own furnishing to make it feel more like home.
The living spaces are generally smaller than those intended as general housing.
Assisted Living Services
Assisted living residences provide supervision and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as meals, bathing; coordination of services by outside health care providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure the resident’s health, safety, and well-being.
Assistance may include the administration or supervision of medication.
Other services may be provided by a trained staff person or an outside provider which you hire and pay for.
Residents can continue to use their physicians and dentists or they can choose new ones. The staff can assist in arranging appointments or finding appropriate medical and dental care services.
Although assisted living facilities help their residents with ADLs, this is not at any time or whenever the resident wants.
A schedule is created based on the resident’s needs and staff availability.
Assisted living facilities closely monitor their residents’ health by setting up a schedule that the resident and staff follow.
For example, an aid may give a bath several times a week, but not every day.
Or help a resident out of bed in the morning, several times during the day, and back into bed at night.
If greater levels of care are needed, an outside in-home care company is normally hired and paid for by the resident.
Housekeeping, laundry and linen service is normally part of the monthly rent or fee.
Two or three meals in a common dining room are included in the monthly rent or fee.
Assisted living communities generally offer activities such as exercise classes, group dinners, day trips, art classes, and more, allowing for regular socialization and new friendships in any community.
Common activities in most communities include:
• Art Classes
• Day Trips
• Shopping Excursions
• Religious Services
• Movie Nights
• Tai Chi
• Musical Performances
Assisted Living Versus In-Home Care
An AARP study found that 3 out of 4 people surveyed wish to stay at home and Age In Place versus go into another senior care option.
With in-home care your loved one stays in their own home and receives individual one-on-one care versus the shared care of assisted living.
In-Home care is flexible and can be scaled up or down depending on the level of care needed at the time. Therefore you only pay for the services you need.
Care can be as little as 4 hours a day at a cost of about $104 a day to 24 hour and Live-in care.
Live-in home care costs are less than the cost of assisted care at around $384 a day for the care needs of one person or $504 a day for two people to receive care.
24 Hour in-home care is about $576 a day for the care needs of one person or $624 a day for two people to receive care.
With in-home care your love one also has less exposure to infection:
According to the CDC, over 4 million Americans are admitted to or reside in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities each year and nearly one million persons reside in assisted living facilities. Data about infections in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are limited, but it has been estimated in the medical literature that 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in these facilities. Infections include urinary tract infection, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and many others.
Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death with as many as 380,000 people die of these infections in LTCFs every year.
Assisted Living Versus Nursing Home
Assisted living communities generally do not provide 24-hour supervision, medical care, or the more extensive specialized medical care that nursing homes with skilled nurse center services provide.
Often, if 24 hour care is needed, additional care from outside home caregivers is required at additional cost.
Similar to nursing homes, assisted living communities also offer planned activities.
Nursing homes and an assisted living communities differ in their appearance. While a nursing care center generally looks institutional because of the type of care provided, an assisted living usually resembles an apartment community.
Assisted living communities provide their care services in the patients residential unit or room.
Assisted Living Costs
All assisted living facilities have a monthly fee for rent and services.
Some assisted living faculties have a one-time nonrefundable entrance fee. These entry fees vary considerably across the country and by the type of faculty.
Entry fees can start at $100,000 and can be much higher. Most people use the proceeds from the sale of their home to finance the entry fee.
There are high-end assisted living faculties where you purchase your unit in a condo/coop type of arrangement. There is still a monthly fee for services with this type of assisted living facility.
Most assisted living facilities have several cost plans you can choose from:
• Extensive or Life-Care Contracts: This plan provides housing, residential services and amenities, including unlimited use of care services, with little to no increase in monthly fee. This type of plan has a much higher entrance fee.
• Modified Contracts: Generally with a lower monthly fee and entrance fee than the Life-Care plan, with the same basic services, but only some of the care services are included in the monthly fee. The resident pays for additional services beyond the contract as needed.
• Fee For Service or La Carte Contracts: This type of contract includes the same basic services as Life-Care and Modified contracts but requires residents to pay for all care related services as needed. These contracts have a lower entrance fee and monthly fees, but there is a risk of higher costs as services are needed.
According to the 2015 Genworth Financial cost of care survey, the average monthly fee for a one bedroom unit in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts is $5,300 per month.
The monthly base rate for Massachusetts assisted living is higher when compared to neighboring states and more expensive compared to the national average.
The average cost of assisted living in Greater Boston is $5,850 per month, higher than the rest of the state and the national average.
There can also be additional costs for services above the basic services and needs above the care services the faculty provides.
Unique HomeCare Services has several clients in assisted living facilities that we provide personal care services for as their needs are above what the facility can provide.
It is important to plan ahead for increases in the monthly fee.
Choosing An Assisted Living Home
The good place to start is asking your doctor for recommendations.
Once you have a list of Assisted homes of interest, consider what is most important to you or your loved one:
• Personal Care
• Religious Connection
• Special Care Units for Dementia Patients
Identifying your most important needs will help you narrow down your list.
Call each assisted living home and asks questions about the number of residents, cost, wait lists, etc.
Plan a visit to each facility and to meet with the director.
Look for indicators of quality of care such as handicap access warm interaction between staff and residents, and residents who look happy and well-cared for.
Questions To Ask During Your Assisted Living Visit
Contracts, Costs, and Financing:
• Is there an entrance fee?
• What is the monthly fee?
• What is included in the monthly fee?
• Can the monthly fee change and how often?
• What notice is given in a monthly fee increase?
• What is the patient to staff ratio?
• Are personal care services and specialized services offered?
• Are there resident policies you must follow and will you get a written copy of these policies?
• Is transportation services available?
• Are there extra charges for other services?
• Will you get in writing their services, charges, and fees before you move in?
• Is the location close enough for friends and family to visit?
• Is there a person on staff assigned to meet social service needs and can you meet them?
Safety Questions and Observations:
• What safety and security measures does the facility use?
• Is there information about how to report concerns about the care and safety of residents?
• Is there information about how the facility responds to concerns that are reported?
• Is there a backup generator or alternate source of power in the event of a blackout?
• Is the place well-lit and are the exits clearly marked?
• Are there handrails and grab bars in the bathrooms and hallways?
• Are all common areas, resident rooms, and doorways designed for wheelchairs?
• Does the floor plan make sense?
Quality of Care Questions and Observations:
• Are care plan meetings held with residents and family members at times that are convenient
and flexible whenever possible?
• Is the facility free from unpleasant odors?
• Are the common areas clean and well kept?
• Is the temperature comfortable for residents?
• Are the noise levels in the dining room and other common areas comfortable?
• Is the furniture sturdy, yet comfortable and attractive?
• Does the relationship between staff and residents appear to be warm, polite, and respectful?
• Do staff refer to residents by name?
• Do residents seem to participate in the activities?
Quality of Life Observations:
• Do residents have a choice of food items at each meal? Do they serve foods you like?
• Do they provide for special dietary needs such as low-salt or no-sugar added diets?
• Does the facility have outdoor areas for resident use?
• Do residents help plan or choose the activities that are available?
• Does the staff look nice and happy? Do they smile or look miserable as if they do not want to be there?
Visit A Second Time
It is good to visit the assisted living home a second time on a different day of the week and at a different time than your first visit.
About Unique HomeCare Services
Unique HomeCare Services provides in-home care for elders, those with special needs, and people who are recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery.
We offer a full range of in-home care services such as personal care, grooming and incontinence care, bathing and dressing, post-hospitalization care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, and medication management.
We also provide non-medical support services such as meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, caring companionship, shopping/errands, accompanying to medical and other appointments, as well as case management services.
It is our pleasure to assist our veteran clients with VA Aid and Attendance Benefit approval at no cost.
Our service area is Boston, Norwood, Dedham, Westwood, Walpole, Canton, Sharon, Stoughton, Avon, Braintree, Easton, Milton, Quincy, Weymouth, and surrounding towns.
To schedule a no cost and no obligation full In-Home Assessment to determine the home care needs of you or your loved one please call us at (800) 296-9962 to speak to a Case Manager or fill out our Free Quote Contact Form.