We know growing old gracefully has its challenges. A major one involves the elderly being forced to alter their current living arrangements and move to a
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70% of people age 65 or older, require long-term care services. Although most people believe long-term care affects only those in their
Knowing the differences in making the best choice on your
Most Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) also known as retirement homes, residential care, or long-term facilities primarily help residents with minor medical services. The goal is to treat each resident like family and provide personalized care in maintaining or regaining their independence. Currently, over 800,000 Americans currently reside in assisted living facilities, with just over half of the residents being aged 85 years and older.
Choosing assisted living vs. living at home greatly enhances the quality of life and improves health and safety. At a minimum, the apartments offer one unfurnished room, a private wheelchair-accessible bathroom, and a kitchenette. At-home maintenance is provided when needed and to make the resident’s life easy, a registered nurse and experienced care team are on-site around the clock. They assist with first-aid wound care, bathing, dressing, toileting, medication management, and physical, speech, and occupational therapies.
In addition, most ALFs have an on-site fitness center with a personal trainer, wellness center, 24/7 security, and emergency call system. Scheduled transportation is arranged to assist with medical appointments or shopping. There are three delicious and nutritious chef-prepared meals to enjoy every day. To stay sharp and fit, a monthly calendar of events is planned to encourage participation in social, spiritual, recreational, cultural, and educational programs on-site.
Care.com allows you to search for and connect with caregivers and
The size of the facility, type of services included, and the number of services required all impact monthly fees. According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living in 2020 was $4,300 per month or $51,600 annually. Costs vary by state. A Florida resident’s daily rent cost $122 (average $3,700 monthly) for a one-bedroom apartment while in New Jersey the cost is $219 (average $6,650 monthly).
Supportive living communities provide personal care, daily socialization, and educational activities in a comfortable, home-like setting. Residents enjoy private apartment homes (either studio, one or two rooms), and depending on their chosen community may have access to relaxing outdoor spaces, recreational rooms, and beauty or barber services.
In contrast to assisted living, these services are provided in supportive living at a reduced or subsidized cost. Also unlike in assisted living, if a resident becomes unable to pay for the care, they are not required to move from their apartment. These financial safety nets are why supportive living communities are such an asset to seniors, their families, and communities.
For example, in 2019 my 77-year-old family member had enjoyed living in an independent
Documents Needed for Supporting Living
- Birth certificate and social security card
- Medicare and/or Medicaid Insurance
- Primary physician’s name, address, and phone number
- Life insurance policies including cash surrender value
- Irrevocable Trust State showing a funeral home as Trustee
- Funeral home’s financial worksheet
- Maximum of $2,000 in total assets
- List of properties sold, transferred, or given away in the last 5 years
- Financial accounts; checking, savings, 401K, trust, IRA, investments, life insurance, etc. (closed or cashed in the last 5 years)
- Car ownership within the last 5 years
- Any Power of Attorney (POA) for Health Care and financial property
With supportive living, rent cost is determined by personal income. She received social security insurance benefits, therefore, after the monthly rent was withdrawn this left her with a $90 monthly allowance.
Just like other
- 24/7 Nursing assistances (CNAs)
- Assistance with bathing, dressing, and medication management
- Three meals a day
- Housekeeping and laundry service
- Social, educational, and wellness activities
- Arranged transportation for appointments
- Wheel-chair accessible kitchenette with microwave
- Wheel-chair accessible bathroom with walk-in shower
- Wall-mounted TV and basic cable services
- 24/7 Security and Emergency Call Systems
- On-site activity room, library, beauty and barber salon, fitness center and more
- Social programs and activities
Most Independent Living communities are also known as retirement communities,
Seniors who wish to downsize or travel freely without the burden of managing a home may benefit from residing here. There is less home upkeep and increased access to nutritious meals, social interaction, physical and mental stimulation.
The most significant difference between assisted living and independent
A few amenities of most independent living facilities include:
- Housekeeping and laundry service
- Stove, dishwasher, and full-size refrigerator
- On-site activity room, library, beauty and barber salon, fitness center, and more
- Social programs coordinated by residents and staff
- Transportation to appointments and shopping
- 24/7 Security and Emergency Call System
- Low-income residents are also accepted at most
- Small pets are welcome (in some communities)
Choosing to live in a
Moving to a
For more information, start with consulting with your physician, a family member, a close friend, and the Department of Health and Human Services to see the various providers and facilities. Go online for
Retired at age 57, living in suburban Chicago, Tracy has started a new chapter as a writer of novels and the president of an active book club.