Assisted living facilities come in all shapes, sizes and neighborhoods. Based on the varied preferences and needs of the elderly there are a variety of settings from which to choose. These choices range from high-rise buildings to one-story Victorian mansions to large multi-acre campuses. Assisted living facilities are also located in single-family homes and duplexes referred to as residential care facilities.
The philosophy of assisted living is to provide personalized, resident centered care to meet individual preferences and needs. Assisted living is designed for individuals who require assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing and transportation. Some residents may have memory disorders including Alzheimer's, or they may need help with mobility, incontinence or other challenges. Assisted living treats all residents with dignity, provides privacy and encourages independence and freedom of choice. Resident family members and friends are encouraged to get involved in the assisted living community.
Amenities in assisted living typically include:
• Three meals a day served in a common dining area
• Housekeeping services
• 24-hour security
• Exercise and wellness programs
• Personal laundry services
• Social and recreational activities
• Personal care in assisted living typically includes:
• Staff available to respond to both scheduled and unscheduled needs
• Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and walking
• Access to health and medical services, such as physical therapy and hospice
• Emergency call systems for each resident’s apartment
• Medication management
• Care for residents with cognitive impairments
Independence is always encouraged through an individualized plan of personal care and wellness. As well, some communities are pet-friendly and on approval may move in with their dog or cat.
Assisted living costs vary with the residence, apartment size, and types of services needed. The basic rate may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services. Most assisted living residences charge on a month-to-month lease arrangement, but a few require long-term arrangements. Assisted living is often less expensive than home health or nursing home care in the same geographical area. The average monthly cost to live in an assisted living facility is $3300.00 per month.
While 86.2% of assisted living residents today pay for long-term care from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer "home and community-based waivers" that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living facilities. More seniors are purchasing long-term care insurance to help plan for and finance their long-term care needs.