Assisted Living

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What is Assisted Living?

An ideal candidate for assisted living is “someone who can no longer live on their own safely but who does not need skilled nursing care," says Nancy Wier, director of communications for Brookdale Senior Living Inc. “It's ideal for someone who needs some assistance with activities of daily living like bathing, grooming, eating, etc.

Brookdale is a leading provider of high-quality senior housing in the United States for seniors and families desiring a variety of service and care options through their independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing communities.

Assisted living services vary greatly among assisted living facilities. Meals, housekeeping, laundry service, transportation, medication assistance, emergency call service, planned activities, licensed nursing, and round-the-clock staff are some of the amenities provided, depending on what a resident wants and needs. “Most communities offer licensed nurses on staff, with caregiver staff available 24 hours, medication assistance, observation of health status, limited health care assistance in accordance with state regulations, and assistance with accessing outside health care services,” states Wier.

What are the costs?

An assisted living report released by the MetLife Mature Market Institute last October noted the monthly costs in various regions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that the private pay rate for an individual at an assisted living facility averaged $2,968 per month, or $35,616 yearly. Assisted living can be costly because it is not covered by Medicare and most other medical insurance.

“Some facilities charge a one-time entrance fee and have additional fees for items such as having meals delivered to living quarters, for dementia care or for extra transportation services,” the study reveals. “While an increasing number of state Medicaid waiver programs are providing coverage for assisted living facilities for low-income individuals who qualify, most residents pay privately or through a long-term care insurance policy,” according to the report.

Paul Williams, a spokesperson for the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), confirms these findings. “Close to 90 percent of it is private pay,” he says, which means seniors pay out of pocket with private funds, usually when Medicaid is not an accepted form of payment for senior housing expenses.

For those who can afford and are suited to living in assisted living facilities, the advantages are palpable. Says Wier, “The benefit of assisted living is that it provides a nice blend of a home-like residential setting, opportunities for socialization, and personal care services.”

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