What Is Assisted Living? Assisted living is a type of housing for people who need various levels of medical and personal care. Living spaces can be individual rooms, apartments, or shared quarters. The facilities generally provide a home-like setting and are physically designed to promote the residents' independence. Services are offered to assist residents with daily living.
What Services Do Assisted Living Communities Provide? The services offered by assisted living communities vary from facility to facility. Services often include:
Does your home seem less accommodating than it used to? Join the club. That tends to happen as we age. Toilets are suddenly too low, cabinets too high, and steps and loose rugs make getting around perilous, especially if you have stiff, arthritic joints. Karen Kassik discovered this in 2002, when she brought her then 66-year-old mother to live in her two-bedroom home in Winter Park, Fla.
"I found out very quickly how inadequate this little house was," she recalls.
Kassik, 45, used her background...
How Can I Know What Services I Need? Talk with your family and caregivers about what services are needed. Take time to consider what services are important to you before you visit assisted living communities. This step will help ease your transition. Think about these questions:
Why do I want to change my residence?
What daily activities do I need help with (bathing, dressing, toileting, eating)?
How often do I need help?
What Should I Look for in an Assisted Living Community? The following checklist will help you and your family evaluate assisted living facilities. Review the checklist before your visit to the facility and take it with you.
Assisted Living Consumer Checklist
Does the residence meet local and/or state licensing requirements?
What is the policy on insurance and personal property?
What is the procedure for responding to a medical emergency?
Are visitors welcome at any time?
Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for service? Are those needs reassessed periodically?
Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply with a care plan?
Contracts, Costs, and Finances
Is a contract agreement available to include accommodations, personal care, health care, and support services?
When may a contract be terminated and what is the refund policy?
Are additional services available if the resident's needs change?
How do you pay for additional services that are needed on a temporary basis (such as nursing care)?
Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
Are there any government, private, or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?
What are the billing, payment, and credit policies?
May a resident handle his or her own finances with staff assistance (if able), or should a family member or outside party be designated to do so?