Assisted Living Questions and Answers
Our senior care Experts answer your questions about assisted living. Our experts have years of experience in the senior living industry and work with assisted living communities and families that require assisted living care every day. We have compiled a list of your questions and common frequently asked questions about assisted living, and our Experts have answered them below.
To speak to a Care Advisor about Assisted Living, call (866)-678-0173. Call your Care Advisor today to learn more about assisted living options in your area. This is a free service to families that are looking for senior care.
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What types of services can assisted living communities not offer?
Is there any set financial plan to save for the cost of assisted living?
Is assisted living really a cheaper alternative from a nursing home?
Both mom and dad need assisted living, does that complicate the process?
How long does it take most parents to adjust to an assisted living community lifestyle?
What is an assessment or evaluation for assisted living?
What expectations should a family place on an assisted living community?
How does a family convince a parent it is time to move into assisted living?
How should a family introduce a parent to assisted living?
How do you know it is time for a parent to move into assisted living?
Q What types of services can assisted living communities not offer?The level of care that assisted living communities offer varies state by state. Mostly, any invasive treatments that need to be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week assisted living communities will not allow. However, there are sometimes exceptions so it is important to research the options in your area to see if they will accommodate certain medical conditions.
Q Is there any set financial plan to save for the cost of assisted living?Because the decision to place a loved one in assisted living many be a sudden decision, it is difficult to plan ahead financially for it. The main ways to pay for assisted living are private funds, veteran’s benefits and long-term-care insurance. Purchasing a long-term-care insurance policy early will be worth it if the time comes for assisted living or other senior care. Remember that the prices of assisted living reflect the cost of living in an area so the cost will vary depending on where the senior would like to live.
Q Is assisted living really a cheaper alternative from a nursing home?Assisted living will end up being cheaper than a nursing home on a month-to-month basis. Speaking to a Care Advisor about budget and care needs will help the family narrow down the options available and guide them in the right direction to select the appropriate community based on all the needs and wants of both the senior and the family.
Q Both mom and dad need assisted living, does that complicate the process?
No! This actually makes the process easier if both seniors require a similar amount of care. Many assisted living communities encourage couples to live together in one apartment in the community. This makes the transition easier as opposed to one parent moving in alone and having to adjust completely by themselves.
However, this does become difficult when one senior requires much more care than the other. For example if one senior required memory care, communities would have that senior living in the memory care section of the community and the spouse would live in the assisted living part. Also, if a spouse is used to being the primary caregiver and then they both move into a community where the staff will take over the responsibilities of administering medications, meals and care, then the senior may become protective and defensive because this had been a normal practice for him or her.
Q How long does it take most parents to adjust to an assisted living community lifestyle?
On average it usually takes between 30-60 days. Not only does the senior have to adjust to the community, but the community has to get to know the senior as well. This is a huge transition that requires the senior to move into a different environment from what he or she is used to and the senior also needs to downsize.
In some cases the senior will never adjust and it is important for the family to keep in-touch with the community and the staff. If the care needs are being met, and the senior is living comfortably in a safe environment, then the senior is being properly cared for and the community is providing what it should and that is what is most important.
Q What is an assessment or evaluation for assisted living?
Before a senior can move into an assisted living community he or she needs to be evaluated. This is similar to a nursing assessment that is required for nursing homes, however, the biggest difference is that the assessment is not done by a healthcare professional but instead done by a staff member of the community. The community will determine the physical capabilities of the future resident and determine whether or not assisted living is the proper level of care that is needed.
The most common factors that would prohibit someone from moving to a senior living community are:
- The senior requires assistance walking and moving around (immobile)
- The senior has an open wound that needs to be medically cared for a treated
- Any other medical conditions such as a tracheotomy
If the community concludes that the care needs required do not match what the community offers, it does not mean that the senior can’t move into any assisted living community. If one community does not allow the senior to move in, try another community because all offer varied levels of care.
Q What expectations should a family place on an assisted living community?
This is a great question. The main reasons families turn to assisted living is to maintain the safety of the senior, provide a safe and secure environment for the senior to live in, have staff and assistance available if needed, make sure the senior is receiving nutritious meals and most importantly, provide a place where the senior can age in place as independently as possible. The assisted living community chosen should provide all of these aspects.
Being comfortable with the community is the most important thing. That is why consulting a professional really can be the best choice. Our Care Advisors have years of experience working to match families and senior care communities and know what type of care is offered at the local assisted living communities.
Q How does a family convince a parent it is time to move into assisted living?
This is the hardest hurdle to jump during the process of deciding on senior care. A family is not going to be able to convince their loved one it is time for assisted living until the senior has convinced him or herself. Point out the main reasons assisted living was even considered and let the senior have a say in the matter. Narrow the choice down to a few communities and go through the process with each of them and leave the final decision up to the senior.
If he or she is still not convinced, bring in someone from the community or another healthcare professional that will be able to point out the reasons why assisted living really is the right choice.
Q How should a family introduce a parent to assisted living?
The best advice for families that want to move their loved one into an assisted living community from his or her own home is to first educate themselves.
- Visit the community, evaluate the care given, know the location of the community and feel comfortable with the staff before you even mention the assisted living community to the senior.
- Plan a family meeting and make sure that all family members that are going to play a role in moving the senior are all on the same page.
After all the family members are educated with the process and the assisted living community, then it is time to talk to the senior about moving. Go back to the community with the senior, eat lunch there, meet the staff again and focus on the services that are offered that are going to appeal to the senior. If the senior is not willing to go to the community, then bring the community to them. Invite a staff member to the senior’s house to talk about the community. Show the senior photos, pamphlets and any other information about the community that will help the senior realize the assisted living community is the right place to be.
Q How do you know it is time for a parent to move into assisted living?
There are a number of reasons that make assisted living the right choice. Many families choose assisted living for their loved because:
- Concerned about safety and leaving the senior home alone
- Worried that the senior is not eating properly and receiving nutritious meals
- The family is aware that the day-to-day medical and care needs are not being met
- The senior is socially isolated or depressed and no longer wanted to leave his or her home
- Activities of daily living need to be managed by someone other than the senior (taking medications, eating properly, bathing, etc.)