If an elderly loved one can no longer live completely independently, it can be a difficult time for everyone. In this day and age, when people are marrying and having children much later in life, the scenario of caring for your children still in the home, and an elderly parent is all too common; and not everyone can juggle these two responsibilities reasonably. If you live far away, providing assistance is not an option. Looking into assisted living facilities is usually the solution to these issues and here are some frequently asked questions about this care option.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living facilities are designed for older people who cannot live completely independently and are in relatively good health. Seniors maintain a high degree of independence, while receiving assistance with basic daily living tasks; the exact assistance required can vary between facilities so be sure to read the contract carefully. It is similar to living in their own apartment. Assisted living is not appropriate for people with serious health problems who need constant care—in this scenario, a nursing home would be required.
What is the Cost and Who Pays?
The cost of facilities varies widely, and is contingent on many factors, such as the location and amenities of the facility. The national average cost of a one-bedroom apartment with a private bathroom is 2,969.00 a month. If your loved one requires extra care because of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease), the cost can be much higher, with an average of 4,270.00 a month. You must pay with private funds, such as savings, pensions, retirement accounts, social security or long-term care insurance; federal programs do not provide coverage for these facilities. Some states offer a waiver in certain situations; contact the Area Agencies on Aging in yours to find out if this may be an option for you.
Are Residents on a Schedule?
Since assisted living care is more independent in nature, many places will not have a rigid schedule for residents to follow; they can choose which activities to participate in and have control over how they spend their time. In many aspects, however, there will be a schedule they must adhere to. Meals will be served at the same time, medications will be administered on a schedule, and there is typically a set time frame to receive assistance with daily activities such as bathing or grooming.
What Happens if Alzheimer’s and Dementia Worsens?
Many people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are able to function relatively independently, making them appropriate candidates for assisted living. If the condition worsens, however, they may not be able to carry on as they have been. If they do not require a move to a nursing home, you have a couple of options. You can get a private duty nurse who can look over your loved and allow him to remain in his current apartment. Many assisted living facilities offer a secured memory unit to keep residents safe. If your loved one’s condition deteriorates to where they need 24-hour care, assisted living will no longer be an option, even if it is a secure memory unit.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various issues related to elder care.