Senior Living Options

Please read the explanation of the options that are available for your consideration.

There are mainly six categories to consider:

Assisted Living
Board and Care
Nursing Home
Alzheimer’s Care Facility
Independent Living Community
Continuing Care Retirement Community

Assisted Living

Assisted living provides a special combination of help with non-medical activities of daily living including assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, transfers to medical appointments along with some of the same supportive services as independent retirement communities. Assisted Living environments maximize independence, but do not provide skilled nursing care. They are not required to have a licensed nurse on staff.

Residents having minor dementia may reside here (some might have a separate section for Alzheimer’s care residents.)

Cost: In general Assisted Living facilities charges vary according to the number of services and accommodations they offer. Most plans include three meals, weekly personal laundry, and room cleaning among other services.

  • Private Room: $2,500-$6,000/month
  • Shared Room:  $1,200-$3,500/month

Board and Care

The Board-and-Care facility is usually a 6 to 10 unit converted single-family home. It provides a home-like setting with care givers present 24/7. Meals are usually homemade and residents join together for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with afternoon snacks. There are some social activities and sometimes doctors and nurses visit the residents in the facility. The care offered is usually more personal than at an assisted living facility. Depending upon licensing, some Board and Care facilities have a specialty, such as mild mental impairment, dementia, and early or late stage Alzheimer’s care. This kind of home is for people who cannot live on their own, but who do not need constant nursing care. Residents of a Board and Care can have a private or shared room (if available). Residents can get help with daily activities, bathing, grooming, reminders to take medications or if need be, the staff will give medications to the resident. Help with money management, setting up health care and other appointments, as well as transportation.

Cost: Board and Care Homes can cost from $850 (Shared room) to $5,000 per month (Private room.)

Nursing Home (Skilled Nursing Facilities)

Nursing Homes or Skilled Nursing Facilities provide 24 hour a day licensed care for seniors who are in need of more care than an assisted living home. They provide the senior who needs help with physical, mental or emotional conditions along with custodial care. (Furnished room, housekeeping and linen service, professional service staff-activity director, social worker, rehabilitation options) The onsite medical staff set them apart from other types of senior housing. Registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN) and nurse’s aides (CNA) provide nursing assistance at all hours of the day. Many Nursing Homes provide on-call physician services, medications, laundry service and Hospice Care (end-of-life).

Cost: A Nursing Home charges approximately $110 (shared room) to $400 per day. Facilities accept some Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance carriers. Families can also use funds from Long Term Care (LTC) insurance to help with costs.

Alzheimer’s Facilities

Alzheimer’s care is available in Skilled Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living and Residential Care Facilities for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The care is similar to Assisted Living communities, as most provide assistance with dressing, grooming, bathing and other daily activities. They may offer special programs such as animal or music therapies, specifically designed for the enjoyment of these residents. There are many forms of neurological or degenerative conditions which effect cognition and function. Parkinson’s, complications of vascular disease and stroke are examples of processes that may affect a person’s judgment, memory and behaviors. Many forms of dementia require 24-hour monitoring in a secured environment. Both Skilled Nursing Facilities and Residential care Facilities offer care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Some facilities offer therapeutic activities and specially trained staff to meet the unique needs of Alzheimer residents. Eventually persons with this disease become unable to care for themselves. Many facilities that specialize in Alzheimer’s or related dementia disorders have buildings featuring monitored hallways, visual cues and secured locked door paths for additional security and to keep wanderers from leaving the facility.

Cost: The costs are similar to the costs of Nursing Homes because of the high level of specialized care that is required.

Independent Living

Independent Living Communities (or Retirement Communities) are for seniors (usually over age 55) only and may be houses, townhouses, and private apartments. Those homes are located within a community of seniors. Independent Living is for seniors that are able to take care of themselves, are relatively healthy, and can communicate with caregivers, doctors, nurses by themselves, desire the security that a seniors-only environment provides. No custodial or medical care is available as part of the senior independent living community-residents may bring in outside services. Some communities may provide handrails and pull cords. Transportation to appointments may also be offered. Some communities provide many recreational options, which may include weekly entertainment, social activities, swimming pool/spa and gym facilities. Most provide small kitchens, but the communities may also provide meals in a communal dining area if desired.

Cost: The costs for the different Independent Living options vary and generally begin around $1,000 a month. Some low-income seniors can sometimes be partially covered by Medicaid.

Low-Income Housing (Senior Apartments)– Many are subsidized by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). But the waiting lists can be long.

Retirement Communities – Depending on the communities, residents may lease or buy the property. Prices vary depending on the local market in the area under consideration.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

CCRCs is for seniors who want the security that their needs will be met on an ongoing basis through the aging process. The housing communities provide different levels of care, from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing facilities (some may also include a Alzheimer’s unit). The senior signs a life-care contract that allows for changing needs and consequently different levels of services and housing over time. A senior can tailor their own needs based on abilities and preferences. These communities offer service and housing packages from private units, to assisted living and skilled nursing care, located all in the same location.

Cost: CCRCs are the most expensive long-term care offered. Monthly maintenance fees can range from $20,000 to $40,000 according to the plans chosen. The fees also vary according to whether a resident owns or leases and if the living space is for an individual or a shared space, the type of service plan chosen; and if the resident has a long-term-plan in place.

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