Where Do I Begin?
You or your loved one are having challenges. Perhaps you’ve experienced a recent illness, fall, hospital or rehab stay, death of a partner, cognitive impairment, macular degeneration, loss of physical mobility, depression, isolation, or family support is far away.
You need options, but don’t know where to start. This is common. We’re here to help.
There’s a lot to learn when researching senior living options.
There are multiple options of senior living. These depend on what one wants and needs based on health, social interactions, personal care needs, individual interests and level of independence.
A great way to get started is to learn more about the different levels of care available:
- Assisted Living was developed to offer a bridge from home to full-time nursing care
- Offerings range from small, six bed home to multi-level larger communities
- Staff on duty 24 hrs/day (CNAs; with an LPN or RN supervising care)
- Assistance available when needed with:
- Supervision of medications
State licensing and regulation required.
While assisted living communities have been available the United States for many years, the growth and availability of assisted living has had a dramatic increase since the early 1990s. This growth resulted from consumer demand to provide a less institutional and more home-like setting for those who need assistance but don’t need 24-hour nursing care.
Assisted living is a residential alternative that promotes maximum independence for each resident through a combination of supportive services and assistance. The definition of assisted living from one state to another may vary and so will the cost and types of service.
In general terms, an assisted living community is required to provide assistance with daily living activities, including eating, bathing, dressing and personal hygiene; three meals a day; supervision of self-administration of medications; laundry service including personal laundry; housekeeping; and 24-hour staffing. Short-term or intermittent medical assistance may be provided but is restricted by state regulations.
Assisted living residences are:
- Housing environments which provide individualized health and personal care assistance in a home-like setting. The level of care available is between that provided in congregate housing (housing with meal service) and a skilled nursing facility. In these settings:
- Residents are independent to semi-independent physically or mentally, or frail persons who need frequent assistance;
- Services offered include personal care assistance, health care monitoring, limited health care services and/or the dispensing of medications, social and physical opportunities, and transportation for those who do not drive;
- State licensing and regulation by state social welfare agencies is required.
- Important because they promote independence by meeting residents’ supportive needs while preventing inappropriate institutionalization.
- Known by various other names. The most common are: personal care homes, sheltered housing, residential care, homes for adults, managed care, catered living, board and care, and domiciliary care.
Independent Living communities provide convenience or supportive services like meals, housekeeping, and transportation in addition to rental housing. Typically, monthly charges include rent and supportive services. Independent communities do not require licensure or certification by a public agency as personal care services (help with eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring) are not provided or included in the monthly charge.
- Some Independent Living Communities offer additional assistance through on-site or self-selected home health services
Retirement communities go beyond meeting the physical needs of older adults. From the opportunities to socialize to the activities that continue to allow people to expand their horizons, retirement communities continue to make a difference in the lives of its residents.
- Moving into a retirement living community is not the same as moving into a nursing home. The changes and improvements over the past decade alone are completely redefining and enhancing seniors lives.
- Senior housing communities are designed, maintained and run with the sole purpose of making people happy. Choosing to live in a retirement community is not a step down, it is a step forward. They are not an end, but the beginning of a new chapter.
According to ASHA (American Seniors Housing Association) the top five reasons people move from their home to senior living are:
- Health problems of either the respondent or his/her spouse
- Desire to be relieved of maintaining a home
- Desire for social contact and opportunities
- Because the respondent was lonely, and
- Because the respondent and/or the spouse needed nursing care services
Also according to ASHA,
- Residents of an independent living community will say their health is better today than it was two years ago.
- Location is the most critical factor in residents selecting an independent living setting.
- Residents also want to fit in socially and feel like they are at home.
- Staffed 24/7
- May be licensed as assisted living or nursing
- Generally have a unique blending of building design, services and staffing for the care of those with dementia
- Specialized dining and hydration programs that are tailored to each resident’s individual needs
- Staff are specially trained to support and assist those with dementia
- Secured environment for increased safety for those who may wander (see: “Sundowning”)
Memory Support (Memory Care) communities should specialize in programming for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other related forms of memory loss.
Dementia is a series of symptoms due to a variety of factors. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent disease that causes dementia. The occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not a normal development in the aging process. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a gradual loss of memory, decline in the ability to perform routine tasks, disorientation, difficulty in learning, loss of language skills, impaired judgment and ability to plan, and personality changes. Over time, these changes become so severe that they interfere with an individual’s daily functioning, resulting eventually in death. While the disease can last from 3 to 20 years after the onset of symptoms, the average duration is 8 years.
As it has evolved, dementia care is becoming specialized with state requirements in regard to the care increasing. Additionally, providers who understand the unique needs of both the resident and their family members are responding in regard to both associate training and community design.
These apartment complexes are generally 55+ and have very minimal, if any, services. These are rental agreements. Subsidized housing is offered in some areas (proof of income required). They usually do not have meal programs, housecleaning or emergency call systems but do offer the typical services a multi-family apartment complex. Most complexes have group activities in a common main building. Some residents in these complexes may utilize “meals on wheels” food type programs.
Nursing Home (long term care)
- 24-hour skilled nursing care
- Provides medical care
- Assistance for most or all daily living activities
- Typically Medicare certified for short-term care
- May provide short-term assistance in addition to long-term care
- Some nursing homes accept Medicaid for those income qualified (long term)
Nursing Homes provide 24-hour skilled care for the patients with more acute care needs. Patients generally rely on assistance for most or all daily living activities (such as bathing, dressing and toileting) in addition to needing a continuous nursing care or oversight.
Unlike some of the other options, Nursing Homes are NOT aged-restricted. This is long term care, not rehab. There are Medicaid beds available in most nursing homes.
Rehabilitation facilities provide 24-hour restorative, skilled care for the more acute patients who are transitioning from hospital or surgical care. Patients generally rely on assistance for most or all daily living activities (such as bathing, dressing and toileting) while working with therapy providers to improve their functional abilities with a goal of becoming more independent or returning to their previous level of function.
Call your insurance carrier for details on what is covered under your policy.
- Assisted living housing is often deemed necessary when you have difficulty performing daily tasks and have no one to help or with the proper training as frequently as needed. Some indicators are:
- Needing help preparing meals, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring from one wheelchair to bed and mobility assistance
- Needing assistance with housekeeping chores or laundry
- Requiring health and wellness assistance or monitoring – taking medication, better opportunities for proper nutrition, support with advancing disease processes (dementia, Parkinson’s, etc.)
- Needing transportation to doctors, shopping, and personal business
- Feeling frequently confused or experiencing early-stage memory problems
If you are new to seniors housing, it is difficult to know which level of care you or your loved one might need. That’s okay. You don’t need to know that now. It’s best to start researching by calling or visiting communities to learn more.
Call (615) 591-8231 or click here to contact us.
- IL range: $1,500 – 5,000+
- AL range: $2,500 – 6,000+
- M/C range: $3,750 – 10,000
*Note these are ranges and averages
*Note: Assisted Living and Memory Support may have additional fees associated with levels of assistance/care
*Note: Traditions Senior Living’s rates are inclusive of care (no additional fees added to monthly rental cost)
The cost of care in assisted living and memory support is based on the level of assistance required by the resident. The services and programs, social and cognitive stimulation and more readily access to support as well as the increased frequency of observation of residents is often considered priceless.
In addition, in senior living communities the costs for utilities, home maintenance, transportation, recreation, meal preparation and housekeeping and community design to accommodate the physical changes that occur with aging and certain disease states are included in these rates.
When compared to costs of paying rent or mortgages plus hiring contractors, home care providers, modifying homes to meet changing needs, utilities, taxes, transportation costs and all of the other costs associated with maintaining a home, senior living is more affordable than many initially think.
Assisted living costs may be covered in a variety of ways but is primarily paid with private funds.
These include an individual’s private resources including income from Social Security; Long Term Care insurance (you have to check with your insurance provider to see what your plan covers,) and for those who qualify: the VA Aide and Attendance Pension and the Elderlife Loan Program.
Elderlife offers an eldercare bridge loan. Funds are sent directly to care providers. It can be a short-term loan; can be used when waiting for the VA Aide and Attendance pension to be approved and started, or can be used until a home has sold. It may be an alternative to a reverse mortgage. https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/longtermcare/resources/bridge_loans.html