Assisted Living Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between an Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) and an Independent Living Senior Living community?
In an independent living senior living community, you can care for yourself without any assistance. Services will be provided to make your life easier such as dining, housekeeping, and transportation, however, it is assumed that if you are living in an independent living community that you are independent and do not need assistance with your activities of daily living (ADLs). In assisted living, you might need extra support with certain activities of daily living, such as medication reminding, help in the shower, or transferring out of your bed.
What’s the difference between assisted living and a skilled nursing facility?
An assisted living is a social model of care, an apartment community with supportive services: meals and housekeeping along with available help for non-medical activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and managing medications. Assisted Living communities typically have a more home-like feel as residents rent an apartment or a suite.
Skilled nursing facilities, also known as nursing homes, are medical models of care and often feel like more of a clinical setting. Nursing homes support those who need medical care and supervision 24 hours a day. Many nursing homes offer both short-term rehabilitation as well as long-term care.
What are the most important things to consider when choosing a care option?
Because everybody’s situation is different, the factors to consider must also vary. Typically, the first three things to consider are care needs, budget, and location.
But there are often other important factors that should be considered including social activities, building amenities, dietary preferences, lifestyle, and community size.
Are there different types of licenses for Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)?
Yes. A standard license, An Extended Congregate Care (ECC), and a Limited Nursing Services (LNS) license. It is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of each of these licenses and know the license of the assisted living facility (ALF) you are considering. Please contact us for FREE advice and we will be happy to discuss this with you.
When should we begin the process of considering an assisted living community?
We like to use Noah as an example: he started building the Ark before it began to rain. So, the earlier, the better. When you first notice signs your loved one may not be thriving (not eating well, housework piling up, becoming increasingly forgetful) it’s time to considering options for the future. It’s better to have a plan in place and not need it than to need a plan and not have one. If you wait until there’s a crisis, big and important decisions will have to be rushed and made under duress. Giving yourself and your family more time to get used to possibilities for the future makes for less disruption and a more gradual transition.
What does assisted living cost?
It depends on many variables, such as location, services needed, apartment-style, and other factors. In Southwest Florida, assisted living costs can range from $3,500 to $8,000 per month or more. Memory care assisted living is often more expensive as well. As we discuss different communities with you and, we can outline the costs in more depth and break them down for you.
Does insurance pay for assisted living?
The only insurance that pays for assisted living is private pay Long Term Care Insurance, and those policies can vary widely. If you have purchased a Long Term Care (LTC) insurance policy, let us know and we will tell you what questions to ask when you call your carrier for specifics.
Does Medicare pay for assisted living?
Unfortunately, it does not. There is a Medicaid Waiver program that some assisted living communities will accept, however, someone usually needs to be living at the facility first before they apply.
What happens if my loved one’s needs more care than they can get in assisted living?
There are a couple of options depending on the situation. You can bring in additional supportive services such as home health to supplement the care. Or you may need to consider another move. The thing is no one has a crystal ball and future needs are difficult to predict. Therefore, when you work with us, we do such in-depth analysis with you up-front so we can recommend a community that will best meet your long-term needs as well.
Can my Mom bring her own furniture into assisted living?
Absolutely! Assisted living is just like having your own apartment. You furnish as you please, hang your pictures on the wall, and have your belongings around you. Furniture can be provided by communities for short-term stays or by other arrangements.
What about pets?
In assisted living, it depends on the community. Most allow for pets with a weight limit. (Most wouldn’t allow a Great Dane racing down the hallway!) Pets offer great comfort and therapeutic benefits. It’s often a key criteria for our clients and we’ve been successful in keeping owners and pets together.
Will Mom be able to cook in assisted living?
Yes. Although there are usually 3 meals provided, residents can prepare meals if they wish. The apartments usually have a mini-fridge, microwave and some offer a stovetop. You can often bring in other items such as a toaster oven and coffee maker. Most places also have a community kitchen that can turn cooking into a social event.
What is memory care assisted living?
Memory care neighborhoods are often attached to or integrated within assisted living communities although some are free-standing. Memory care neighborhoods are typically secured and designed to prevent a person with memory impairment from being able to wander. Memory care assisted living is ideal for people who lack safety awareness due to their declining cognitive ability. The staff is specially trained in working with people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. For a person with memory impairment, memory care assisted living program can enhance their sense of independence and their quality of life.
Are short terms stays offered in assisted living?
Some assisted living facilities offer short-term, or respite stays so people can “try it out” or provide some respite for a caregiver. Most assisted living facilities go on a month-to-month lease arrangement anyway. A respite apartment is usually furnished. Since demand is fairly high on respite apartments, it is important to get involved early in the process so we can help locate an assisted living facility for you.