Senior Assisted Living Communities vary widely in the services they provide their senior residents and the extra amenities offered. There are no national licensing requirements for senior "assisted living" which causes even more confusion when you begin the process of looking for an appropriate community for yourself or a loved one. Many times, communities which call themselves "independent living" may offer as many services as an Assisted Living Community.
Another challenge when evaluating an Assisted Living Community is learning about what elder care services are included. While communities do hire a staff of Caregivers which usually including Certified Nursing Aides and Registered Nurses, they may only have a small number of these caregivers who are keeping an eye on all the residents . These Caregivers are usually not available to work one-on-one with an individual senior resident to provide care services. It is important to determine how much one-on-one care may be needed and how this will be provided.
Many Assisted Living Communities partner with Senior Home Care Agencies to provide private Caregivers for their senior residents, when more individual care services are required. Seniors who have memory loss may require more care and some communities offer special customized services for these residents. Other communities are not equipped to manage care for seniors with Alzheimer's Disease and other types of memory loss.
Separately, some Assisted Living Communities provide nursing care, just like a nursing home, and others do not. Usually the nursing care is on a separate floor and will require the senior to move from their apartment to a room or bed in the nursing center area of the community.
What if the senior will eventually require nursing care which can cost as much as $80,000 per year - - will they need to move again or will the Assisted Living Community be able to provide this? And what if the senior runs out of money and will need to go onto Medicaid? Will the Assisted Living Community allow the senior to stay and accept the Medicaid payments or will the senior need to relocate to a Medicaid nursing home?
As an initial move into an Assisted Living Community may be connected with the death of a spouse or the diagnosis of a new medical condition, the emotional and social needs of the senior should also be considered.
Finding the right Assisted Living Community presents a complicated task because of all these dynamics. In addition, another type of assisted living is called "continuing care" and available at Continuing Care Retirement Communities. These communities usually require a large initial deposit (some seniors sell their home and use the proceeds to pay for this deposit) but guarantee the senior will be able to remain in the community as their care needs may change. Usually condos or townhouses, apartments and nursing centers are all located on the campus and the senior may move between them, as needed.
Caregiverlist.com provides an "expert" to answer all your questions about Assisted Living. Lisa Sneddon, owner of "Senior Living Experts" serves as a resource to families and a coach to seniors to assist with finding the right assisted living solution.
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