What is the difference between Independent and Assisted living?
Independent Living provides services to seniors. Meals, transportation, and housekeeping are typically included in the monthly rent, which would also include cable and utilities. Recreational, educational and social activities are also a big part of Independent Living. Keep in mind that there is no “hands-on” care. Therefore, the price is typically less expensive and the resident usually has a lot more space in terms of the apartment size. Assisted Living provides the services mentioned above, as well as specialized “hands-on” care. The care is customized to meet the needs of the individual client. The extra care incurs an additional monthly charge. Assisted Living is regulated by the Arizona State Department of Health Services and conducts yearly surveys. There are two types of Assisted Living environments, Centers or Homes:
- Assisted Living Home or Adult Care Home – A residential care home that provides supervisory, personal or directed care on a continuing basis. Their maximum capacity is 10 residents. Residents either have their own room or share a room with another resident.
- Assisted Living Center – An apartment type setting that also can provide supervisory, personal and directed care to Seniors. The communities have over 11 residents, ranging in all sizes. The room sizes can range in size from studios to two bedroom apartments.
What is the difference between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living?
There is a myth that when someone needs additional help with their care needs that they will have to live in a “Nursing Home,” which is called a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) A SNF consists of two parts or sides. One side is for rehabilitation, where one goes after an illness or an event. The stay is temporary and is paid for by insurance. The other side is for long-term care patients. About 90% of those patients are on the Medicaid program and the other 10% pay privately (the cost is about $6,000.00 monthly) At an SNF, an individual receives extensive medical care concerning a specific condition that would require around the clock nursing care, such as a ventilator; IV therapy; a serious wound, etc. Assisted Living Homes or Communities can provide help with bathing, grooming, dressing, medication management and reminders; toileting; incontinence care, feeding, help with ambulation and transfers; wheelchair escorts, and frequent checks. They would also provide services such as meals, snacks, laundry, bed making, tidying up, housekeeping, and possible transportation.
Signs that my loved one may benefit from a memory care setting
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- Mood and personality changes
- Difficulty accomplishing normal daily tasks
- Problems recognizing family and/or friends
- Repetitive statements or movements
- Increased fear or anxiety
- Paranoia or suspiciousness
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Increased sleeping
- Inappropriate outbursts of anger
- “Sundowning” (in the late afternoon and evening exhibited behaviors are agitation, emotionally unstable, restlessness, anxiety)
- Wandering or exit seeking
- Loss of impulse control (undressing in public, sexual or vulgar talk, excessive spending)
Frequently asked questions when touring an assisted living home or community
- Location – Is the community close to family and friends?
- Nursing – Do they have a nurse on staff, and if so, how often? Can they provide for the level of care that is needed? What is the staff (certified caregiver) to resident ratio? Does a doctor or nurse practitioner make house calls?
- Activities – What type of activities are provided? Do they have a cafe? Is transportation provided?
- Amenities – Are there kitchens, kitchenettes, refrigerators, stove/ovens, microwaves in the apartment? Are they furnished? If so, is there an extra charge?
- Financial factors – How much does it cost? Is there an extra cost for the care? Is there a cap on the levels of care?
- Community fee – Do they have a non-refundable community fee?
- DME – (Durable Medical equipment) Can I have a scooter or electric wheelchair? Hospital bed?
- Meals – What is a typical weekly menu? May I eat in my room? Can a special diet be provided? Are there snacks? What is the time period for the meals? How many meals are served per day?
- Environment – How does the place smell and look? Are the current residents clean, comfortable and happy? How do the caregivers and residents interact with each other?
- Interacting with Current Residents – Interaction with current residents is recommended while touring.
How to determine if Assisted Living is needed?
Deciding whether or not Assisted Living is right for you, an aging parent, family member or even your spouse can be extremely difficult. It is an extremely important decision that can be quite stressful if you don’t know where to start. Below are signs to look for:
- Help is needed with ADLs (activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting)
- Help is needed with transfers (standing up and sitting down)
- Medication concerns-missed doses, overdoses, running out of medicationsVision Impairment – Macular Degeneration
- Frequent falls
- Depression- crying, excessive sleeping, or fatalistic thinking
- Confusion / memory loss- repeating themselves, misplacing items
- Social isolation – loss of spouse, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, losing touch with friends
- Unkempt-bathing less frequently, or wearing soiled clothing or the same ones day after day
- Not being able to maintain one’s own household or neglecting to pay bills
- Fear – increasingly fearful of others or paranoid. More dependent on others. Afraid to be alone
- Deficient nutrition- skipping meals, not eating properly, or drinking enough fluids
Who is paying for Independent and Assisted living and what is the cost?
There are several ways to pay for Assisted Living
- Private pay
- Long-term care insurance (provided requirements are met)
- Veteran’s Administration Aid and Attendance benefit (provided requirements are met)
- Medicaid (ALTCS)
Prices vary from $1,600.00 on up to $6,500.00 per person, based on the care needs, and the type of community or home that is chosen.
Rent is on a month to month basis. A 30 day move out notice is required however
***Medicare does NOT pay for Independent or Assisted Living.
Can I bring my pet?
Many seniors have pets that they have an attachment to. It is proven that just the presence of a domestic dog or cat can have a positive impact on the emotional and even physical well-being of an individual. Some facilities allow: birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, fish, and other small animals. Usually dogs less than 25 pounds and occasionally cats are the types of pets that are permitted. There is an entrance fee for the animal, and the pet would need to have current vaccinations.
What is a community Fee?
A Community Fee is a payment required prior to move in, and is in addition to the monthly rent. Community Fees typically range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The majority of Community Fees are non-refundable. The community fee covers the cost of:
- Administrative Costs
- Initial Nursing Assessment
- Apartment Restoration
- Staff Training