It’s common for people to use “nursing homes” and “assisted living facilities” interchangeably, but these two terms aren’t quite synonymous. While both types of senior living facilities offer medical care and other services to disabled and older residents, they differ in the level of care they provide.
Assisted living communities are great options for those who want to live in a safe, welcoming community that assists its residents with some activities of daily living (ADLs). They do so in a way that still allows them a greater degree of independence than nursing homes—also called skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and retirement homes—usually do. In short, an assisted living facility is for someone who needs some medical attention and assistance with day-to-day activities. These locations may or may not include a dementia care unit designed to house patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. In short, while there are some overlaps between an assisted living community and a memory care facility or a nursing home, residents of assisted living communities are usually more independent.
Assisted living apartments are the perfect options for seniors who only need some assistance with day-to-day activities, such as medication management, but otherwise can maintain a certain degree of independence. Sometimes families decide that it is in the best interest of all involved to move their loved one to such a community, as the staff there are highly trained professionals who can better provide the level of care needed. After all, while everyone wants their loved one to stay home for as long as possible, sometimes family members-turned-caregivers can no longer ensure their loved one‘s safety the way a specialized facility can.
Your family member deserves top-notch treatment from caregivers that respect their residents’ dignity. Keep the following factors in mind when choosing a location for your loved one to call home.
Part of an elevated assisted living experience comes from a comprehensive list of senior care services, which may include:
It’s no secret that senior housing can be expensive. The average cost of assisted living, memory care, and independent living facilities is rising. In fact, the national average for a one-month stay in an assisted living care center is $4,300, according to Genworth’s 2020 “Cost of Care Survey.” That means pricing is often a deciding factor when choosing a retirement community. Fortunately, there are financial assistance programs that may be able to ease this financial burden.
According to Genworth’s 2020 “Cost of Care Survey,” the monthly cost of an assisted living facility in Austin is $4,250. That’s $50 cheaper a month than the national average of $4,300.
Private insurance is the go-to option for covering long-term senior living expenses since Medicare, Medicaid, and many other federal and state-sponsored programs do not guarantee coverage of costs associated with extended stays in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. So, for those who expect that their loved ones will have greater long-term care needs, investing in private insurance plans is a great option.
Medicare is government-sponsored health insurance for older adults. Unfortunately, it does not cover long-term stays in skilled nursing facilities or medical centers. Medicare will only pay 100% of the costs if there is a medical need, such as for rehab, and only then for 20 days. After that, Medicare will cover only 80% of the costs for 80 days.
Depending on the location and situation, the program may help cover the costs of short-term stays in an assisted living home, although it will not cover the costs associated with long-term care.
Medicaid is a healthcare option for low-income, disabled Americans. Depending on the needs of the insured and the state they live in, Medicaid can cover a significant portion of the costs associated with stays in skilled nursing or other advanced residential care facilities. In other states, though, Medicaid may not cover assisted living and memory care expenses.
In Texas, qualified individuals may receive aid from a Medicaid-managed program called STAR+PLUS. Some of the services qualified individuals may receive include assistance with nursing care and assisted living expenses.
One of people’s primary concerns when moving into an assisted living facility is that it will be boring. Fortunately, plenty of locations offer recreational opportunities for their residents. They may include access to facilities like a swimming pool to allow for intergenerational activities when grandchildren visit, or they may offer daily activities like bingo.
Brushing teeth, toileting, and getting dressed may seem like mundane tasks to many people. However, sometimes people require extra help completing these sorts of tasks, known as activities of daily living, or ADLs. ADLs are so named because they are tasks that people need to complete to have a decent quality of life. When someone can’t complete these tasks on their own, finding an assisted living, memory care, or other sort of retirement community is necessary. At these locations, people can receive personalized care services adjusted to the levels of care they require.
In some cases, a continuing care retirement community is the right choice for you or your loved one. Also known as CCRCs or life plan communities, these senior residences are great for older adults who want to stay in a single location in their golden years. These locations offer a variety of personal care options for older adults, meaning they’re flexible enough to meet the needs of many kinds of seniors. In other words, a CCRC is a singular community that offers a variety of senior living options—including independent living, assisted living, and memory care programs—all without requiring the resident to move to a new facility or new city to receive the care they need.
Pricing varies widely depending on the specific community and what financial resources are available in your area.
For family members wondering if they should continue being the sole caregiver for their loved ones—or if they should reconsider their elderly loved ones’ living options—the following resources may help.
Your loved one deserves a facility that does more than simply offer services and amenities; they deserve to be welcomed into a senior living community. There are plenty of assisted living facilities in and around the City of Austin whose dedication to enriching the lives of their team, residents, and community partners shows through in their award-winning service.
If you’re in Texas, discover assisted living communities in and around the Austin area today!