Assisted living residences are aimed at helping residents remain as self-sufficient as possible with the assurance of assistance when needed. A combination of housing, meals, personal care and support, social activities, 24-hour supervision and, in some residences, health-related services is usually provided. Assisted living facilities are a great choice for those who can’t live on their own, but do not need nursing care. As needs change, these facilities offer different levels of care at different costs – and some are even associated with nursing facilities should your loved one eventually need full-time nursing care.
There is no standard for assisted living residences, which vary in size, appearance, cost, and services offered. Some residences provide only meals, basic housekeeping, and help with the activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Others go beyond these services and furnish transportation and certain health services. Living areas could be a single room or a full apartment with a small kitchen, with prepared meals also served in a common dining area.
If assisted living sounds like the right choice for your loved one, here are some steps to help begin your search:
Start by making a list of residences to visit. The following resources can help:
- The state or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
- Search online and look at online reviews.
- The local yellow pages.
- The long-term care ombudsman’s office.
- The state licensing agency.
- Friends and neighbors.
- Retirement guides.
- The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), which provides lists of its member residences by each state. These are mostly for-profit residences. The lists do not include all residences in each state.
- The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging(AAHSA), which provides lists of member residences by state. These are not-for-profit.
- The Eldercare Locator helps you find the closest Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office and the state long-term care ombudsman’s office.
Keep in mind that assisted living residences are not defined or regulated by the federal government. Each state decides how they’re licensed. Be sure to find out from the AAA or state health department how the state where you are searching handles this. Make sure all the residences on your list are appropriately licensed—if one of them isn’t, cross it off and move on.
Check, too, with the state licensing agency and ombudsman’s office to see if there have been complaints filed against the facilities on the list. Don’t assume that a state license ensures quality care.
For more information, contact Spring Arbor.