What is Assisted Living? Costs, Facility Listings, Tips, And More

There comes a time in the lives of some seniors when they require supervision, or even just extra help with daily living activities. They may need this help due to medical reasons, or it may just be that they are no longer capable of doing some of these things on their own. Should this time come in a loved one’s life, finding an assisted living center for them may be the best option.

Top Locations for Assisted Living in the US

York, PA Pittsburgh, PA
Birmingham, AL Mobile, AL
Chelmsford, MA Springfield, MA
Huntsville, AL Lancaster, PA

Find Assisted Living Near You

Finding an assisted living facility near you is important because it makes visitation easier and you can get to the facility more quickly should a resident need something or if there is an emergency. Proximity, however, is not the only determining factor. You need to look for a facility that can care for the specific needs that a resident may have, and you must find one that has an opening. Some senior living facilities have waiting lists for residents that could be months, or even years, while others may have a quicker transition process.

Finding senior assisted living near you could be as simple as a web search. Likely, you will find several facilities along with reviews of them. Other people turn to personal recommendations when they are choosing an assisted living facility.

Asking friends and co-workers, or other personal networks gives you the chance to hear first-hand accounts from people who know about a specific senior living facility. You can also look to websites that help guide you in your search. For example, Caregiver Connection will help find senior resident facilities in your area and provide you with cost estimates to help guide you in your search.

Assisted Living Demographics

Currently, there are roughly one million Americans living in some type of senior assisted living facility. By the year 2030, that number is expected to double. This increase because of the fact that men now have a life expectancy of 84.3 years while women average a life expectancy of 86.6 years.

Life expectancy differences between men and women also explains why there are more women in assisted living facilities than there are men at a ratio of seven to one according to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA).

For seniors who move into assisted living facilities, 35 percent of them will live there for one year or longer, 16 percent will stay for three years or more, and 15 percent stay five years or longer. Some residents only stay a brief time, however. Residents that stay in an assisted living facility for less than six months make up 32 percent of the population.

Those that move into an assisted living facility come from various places as well. Most, 76 percent, were living in a home, rented room, apartment, or family residence before moving to a senior living facility. Hospitals are the origin of 11 percent of all residents, and those that come from nursing homes comprise ten percent of assisted living facilities. Residents that come from rehabilitations facilities make nine percent of the population.

Fun Facts About Assisted Living

In 2013, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study of senior assisted living in the United States. This report contained some interesting facts:

  • There were 22,200 residential care facilities.
  • In these facilities, there were 851,4000 beds.
  • The Western United States had the most facilities with 36.4 percent with the South having 30.6 percent. The Midwest is home to 22.9 percent of all senior living facilities and the Northeast only has 10.1 percent of all assisted living centers.
  • Most senior assisted living facilities are for profit, 76.4 percent. Non-profit centers make up 20.4 percent, and 1.2 percent are government run.

Different research provides some other interesting facts about assisted living facilities:

  • The average monthly cost of assisted living is $3,628.
  • By 2016 that average monthly cost is expected to rise to $4,876.
  • The state with the least expensive average monthly cost is Missouri at $2, 537.
  • The area with the highest average monthly cost is the District of Columbia at $6,700.

Assisted Living Cost

We saw that the average monthly cost of assisted living is close to $4,000 per month and that cost is steadily rising. Generally, that cost covers a single room unit that may have a small living area along with a kitchenette. Some facilities don’t offer all of this. They only provide a room. These different amenities play into the monthly cost factor.

There is also a large gap in the least expensive area and the most expensive area. The cost of living in that region has a lot to do with how much senior assisted living costs. Assisted living costs are also affected by:

  • The type of facility and level of service provided.
  • If the resident has special needs.
  • Amenities provided to the residents.
  • Services provided to the residents.
  • The size of the facility.
  • The status of the facility.

We need to address the last point a bit further. Some facilities come with an extremely high price because they serve wealthier residents. In some cases, the cost misleads people to think that it is a better facility or that the residents receive more attention because of the high price tag. This isn’t always the case. The cost of assisted living has nothing to do with the level of care the residents receive.

How to Pay for Assisted Living

When you look at the cost of assisted living, it may come as a shock, and some people worry about how they will pay for it.

Not all states or all facilities accept Medicaid as a source of funding for assisted living. Right now, Medicaid assisted living is only available in 43 states. It is important to note that this is not full coverage either. Each state has different benefits and eligibility requirements that you can find here. Medicare assisted living benefits, on the other hand, only cover people who need skilled care. You cannot use continuing care coverage in a retirement community or assisted living facility.

Some people choose to purchase long-term care insurance to cover the costs of assisted living. Some people do find it difficult to use these policies when they need them as they often require that a person requires help in at least two activities of daily living. Senior assisted living facilities generally have advocates that will work with these companies to ensure their residents receive their benefits.

Veterans who served at least 90 days of active service are eligible for a stipend to help pay for assisted living if they meet a medical qualification test. Their spouses are also eligible for this stipend.

Services Offered in Assisted Living Facilities (Community Life)

Some people confuse assisted living facilities with nursing homes. However, it is important to realize that the amenities in assisted living facilities vs. nursing homes differ. Nursing homes provide services for medical care needs. Assisted living facilities are for people who need assistance with some daily living activities. These residences also offer many more amenities such as:

  • Recreational activities such as shuffleboard, swimming, golf, tennis, and others.
  • Social activities like game nights, movies, crafts, and other activities.
  • Transportation services.
  • Field trips.
  • Banking services.
  • Barber, grooming, and beauty services.
  • On site laundry machines or even laundry services.

Touring an Assisted Living Facility

You should never agree to an assisted living facility sight unseen. You want to be certain the place you are considering is the right one, and the way to do that is to tour several facilities near you to find the best one that you can afford.

When touring a facility, the person taking you around is going to make sure that you get a good impression and sell you on what they offer. However, you need to keep a few things in mind when you are touring a facility so that you don’t miss anything that could be a cause for concern. Most people will look at the cleanliness of the facility. If it is dirty or smells odd, then that is an immediate red flag. Another thing to look for is how friendly the staff is to visitors and residents. You want to make sure they are patient and not easily annoyed.

It also helps if you tour the facility during recreational activities to see how engaged the residents are. If no one is participating, it may not be the right place. Visiting at meal time is also an important consideration. Look to see the quality of food served and the options available to make sure that it isn’t going to be a problem

Finding the best assisted living facility near you takes a bit of work, and a commitment if you want to find the right one. Some people don’t have the luxury of time to drive around and get recommendations from others. Save time and narrow down your search to facilities that are in your price range and have what you are looking for. With this list in hand, you can narrow down your visits and find the right facility.