Frequently Asked Questions About Assisted Living
Answering the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Assisted Living
When an older family member is struggling to live on their own at home or has been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, families often start to explore what senior care options are available to them. Their priority is usually finding a solution that will keep the senior safe and healthy while allowing them to feel independent and socially engaged.
Fortunately, assisted living is a kind of care that meets each of those criteria.
Assisted living residents can receive help with personal care and what are known as the activities of daily living (ADLs). These supportive services include assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting. Many residents also need help with medication management.
Nutritious meals, healthy snacks, housekeeping, laundry, life enrichment activities and wellness programs are usually included in a resident’s monthly fee. Some transportation might also be included, though residents who require personal transport services may be required to pay a nominal fee.
These two types of senior housing can be tough for families to differentiate between at first. While they might seem similar, they are actually very different.
Residents who call an assisted living community home typically need a level of support that is considered more custodial in nature. That means they need help with personal hygiene, medication management and ADLs (bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting or continence care and transferring). Their needs tend to be less medically complex than those of seniors in nursing homes.
Nursing home residents, by contrast, are often sicker and have more complicated medical needs. A resident might be living with diabetes and need the support of a skilled nurse to tend to slow-healing wounds. Or they might have an illness like congestive heart failure that requires close, careful monitoring.
This is an area that often causes confusion for families. Because each assisted living community has its own model for pricing, it can be tough to compare one community’s costs with another. Some bundle all care and services into one monthly price, while others have a base price, a level-of-care fee and a variety of added charges for additional services.
In 2021, the nationwide average cost for assisted living was $4,500 a month. In Indiana, that number was slightly lower at $4,283. The costs might be higher in some cities in the Hoosier state and lower in others. Overall, however, the cost of assisted living is much more affordable than in other states.
Just be sure to ask what is—and isn’t—included in the fees for every assisted living community you are considering.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions families have. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t help finance assisted living expenses.
Because Medicare is a health insurance program, it is designed to cover medical expenses for seniors and younger people who have disabilities. Because assisted living communities don’t meet these criteria, seniors and their families must rely on other financing options.
This is another area where policies vary widely from one community to another. In general, most assisted living communities require only a month- to-month contract or lease. Some might also have application or entrance fees.
Unlike nursing homes, which are federally regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), oversight for assisted living occurs at the state level. That is typically managed by the state’s Department of Aging or Department of Health.
The Indiana Department of Health has a comprehensive website with resources to help consumers learn more. You can also access consumer reports online for specific assisted living communities, home care, hospice and more.
Some assisted living communities, including ASC, allow residents to have pets. There might be size and breed restrictions. Some also require the resident to manage their pet independently, while others offer services to help care for the senior’s pet.
If your senior loved one has a pet that will be making the move too, make certain to ask for a copy of their pet policy and what the pet fee is.
Yes! Residents are free to bring their own belongings and decorate their space. Assisted living communities typically encourage this as it helps the senior create an environment that looks and feels like home. That often helps make the transition smoother.
Many assisted living communities even have team members available to help with space planning before the move.
While assisted living communities usually have open visitation hours, they do ask families to remember the community is home for residents. Early- morning or late-night visitors are encouraged to be respectful of other residents.
Call an ASC Location Near You With Questions
Have a question we didn’t answer in this article? We invite you to call the ASC location of your choice. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help!