When deciding to place a loved one in an assisted living home, it is important to be as informed as possible about what these places entail. As with any living situation, there are pros and cons to assisted living that you will want to weigh before deciding. This article will provide an overview of what you should know regarding an assisted living home.
1. Assisted Living Homes are not Nursing Homes
The primary difference between nursing homes and assisted living homes is the level of care being provided. Nursing home facilities provide 24-hour skilled healthcare services in addition to personal care assistance, while assisted living homes focus primarily on providing personal care assistance within a residential setting with housing options ranging from small group homes to apartment-style structures where residents can live independently but receive support when needed.
2. There are No Age Restrictions
While most assisted living homes tend to target senior citizens, residents have no age restriction. Many assisted living homes have young adult populations due to physical or cognitive disabilities that prevent them from living independently.
3. Assisted Living Homes are not only for those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
While it’s true that a good percentage of assisted living home residents do have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, this is not universally the case. Many individuals residing in assisted living homes are there for assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, rather than for care related to cognitive impairment.
4. There is No Minimum or Maximum Length of Stay
Unlike nursing homes which require a minimum stay of 30 days, there is no set length of time for an individual to reside in an assisted living home. As long as the resident can continue living at home with assistance, they are free to do so until it becomes no longer possible.
5. Assisted Living Homes are not Licensed or Insured by State Authorities
Unlike nursing homes, assisted living homes are private pay residences, meaning they are self-insured and have no state oversight of their operations. This doesn’t mean that all assisted living homes offer substandard care, but it does mean that if you choose this type of housing option, you will need to be proactive in inquiring about policies related to staffing levels, training opportunities, etc.
6. Most Assisted Living Homes Allow Visitors Seven Days a Week
While most nursing homes do not allow visitors, assisted living homes usually welcome visitors seven days a week, with some exceptions. As always, it’s best to check with the individual home before arranging any visits or overnight stays.
7. Assisted Living Homes are Subject to State Sanitation Requirements
Due to an increasing number of older residents residing at assisted living homes, states have begun requiring that these facilities provide certain sanitation requirements. This includes regular bathing, laundry, and bed changing duties which staff members or volunteers must perform under the supervision of qualified personnel.
8. Assisted Living Homes Promote Independence While Limiting Liability Exposure for Staff Members
As the resident becomes more independent in their daily activities within the assisted living facility (with assistance from the staff as needed), their liability exposure decreases. This is a key reason why many assisted living homes promote a more independent lifestyle for residents.
9. Costs of Assisted Living Homes Vary Widely
The cost of assisted living homes varies widely based on several factors such as the home’s location, the type of residence (apartment, cottage, villa), the level of care required, and whether or not meals are included in the monthly rent. As with most things in life, it’s best to research and compare rates before deciding.
Assisted living homes provide an important service for those who can no longer live independently but don’t require the 24-hour skilled healthcare services offered in nursing homes. There are many benefits to choosing this type of housing option, including maintaining an independent lifestyle, seven-day-a-week visitor access, and more affordable costs than nursing homes. Understanding what you should know about assisted living homes before making a decision can help you make an informed choice when it’s time for your loved one to find new accommodations.