You Have Questions About Assisted Living, We Have Answers.
We have the answers to your most common questions about assisted living:
What is Assisted Living?
Many people confuse assisted living with nursing homes. The two are very different.
Best suited for seniors who do not require complex medical care, but may require additional support with daily activities, assisted living offers a lifestyle that is maintenance-free and includes ample access to entertainment, recreation, dining and transportation.
Assisted Living is a supportive senior living option promoting independence and personal dignity in a safe, home-like environment. Help with the tasks of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and medication monitoring, is personally tailored to each individual’s changing needs.
In assisted living, a resident makes their home in a private apartment and has full access to all amenities the community offers.
Residents are completely involved in decisions regarding their care and services. Assisted Living is a wonderful option for seniors who no longer wish to live alone or may need some help, but who don’t need or want institutionalized care in a nursing home.
What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?
Understanding the difference between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home is essential to effectively weighing your senior living options.
Assisted Living promotes independence and emphasizes wellness in a warm, dignified, community setting. Residents live in their own private apartment that they can furnish and decorate as they choose. Residents choose what they want to eat at meals in restaurant style dining rooms, and they have the freedom to decide which activities they want to participate in or how they want to spend their day.
Nursing homes take care of people who are sick and need round-the-clock skilled nursing care. Their institutionalized settings are often not conducive to encouraging independence. Health care experts estimate that up to 30% of elders residing in nursing homes actually do not need round-the-clock care. Assisted Living offers them a place to call home that offers more cheerful surroundings, privacy, space and dignity than is typically found in a nursing home, and at a lower cost.
More on Assisted Living Vs Nursing Homes at our AgeRight Blog.
How much does Assisted Living Cost?
ASSISTED LIVING COSTS
The cost of Assisted Living, which varies from community to community, is based on the type and size of the rental apartment, as well as the level of care needs and the service options chosen by the resident. In Massachusetts, Assisted Living monthly rates typically fall within the range of $3,500 to $6,500 per month.
NURSING HOMES COSTS
In comparison, Nursing Homes in Massachusetts average $8,000 to $12,000 per month. If you need 24-hour skilled nursing care to handle a variety of complex medical issues, this is the option you need.
HOME HEALTH CARE COSTS
Many people also assess the cost of Home Health Care (HHC) when deciding which option to choose - staying at home with services or moving to an Assisted Living community. HHC is usually based on an hourly rate. In Massachusetts this rate ranges from $18 to $28 an hour, depending on the geographic area and the type of home health care services being contracted for. It's important to compare apples to apples. You should look at the 24-hour staff/support that Assisted Living provides to the same level of HHC services: “live-in” caregivers who sleep at night charging 12 hours per day (in Mass. on average $7,500/month) and 24-hour awake staff coverage with 2-3 shifts of different caregivers (on average $15,500/month).
Just 8 hours a day of HHC can cost over $5,000 per month. Compare that to Assisted Living monthly fees of $3,500 to $6,500 per month which ALSO includes all housing costs (property tax, utilities, maintenance, housekeeping), groceries and meal preparation, transportation, security with 24-hour awake staff, and personal care services. We know we are biased! but we do believe that Assisted Living offers you so much more than you get living at home alone with services - an active social setting that eliminates your isolation, a variety of enriching, educational and fun programs, comprehensive wellness services to help you maintain your independence, and all the privacy you want in your own apartment home.
Having said that, if you need just a little assistance with personal care and medications and you don't mind living at home alone, a limited amount of HHC to supplement family support may be a good financial option.
For more about available financial options that help pay for the cost of Assisted Living, please visit our Financial Options section.
Who is right for Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is a wonderful option for many seniors.
Seniors who are frail but not sick and who need some help with daily activities such as housecleaning, meals, dressing, and medication reminders and monitoring, are appropriate for Assisted Living. Geriatric experts estimate that nearly 1/3 of people age 85 and older need some assistance with these types of daily living activities.
Seniors who want peace of mind, who do not want to rely on family for assistance or care, are appropriate for Assisted Living as well.
Many seniors simply want to live independently without the worries of home maintenance, shopping and cooking on a daily basis or just do not wish to live alone any longer. They are also appropriate for Assisted Living.
What is the average Assisted Living Resident like?
Most Assisted Living residents lived within 3-5 miles of the community prior to moving in, or have family who live close by. The average age of an Assisted Living resident is 84. Approximately 80% are women and 20% men, although that differs from community to community. Approximately 90% are widowed or single, although more and more married couples are choosing to live in Assisted Living. They are independent and active, participating in the community’s social, educational and wellness programs. Many of them take advantage of the community’s personal care assistance and benefit from medication reminders and monitoring (the average resident takes a minimum of two medications daily). Those residents who don’t need personal care assistance enjoy Assisted Living’s other services, such as housecleaning, laundry, meals, and a dynamic social, cultural and wellness activities program.
Is it true that seniors are generally happier and healthier in Assisted Living?
We believe they do and recent research studies agree! There are four major reasons:
Companionship, Independence and Home-Like Surroundings: Assisted Living encourages companionship and a sense of independence in a place that feels like home. Residents have their own private apartments they can furnish and decorate however they choose. Every day is filled with choices from which activities they want to participate in to the favorite dish they want to have for lunch. Good friends, a strong sense of self-worth and comfort are the best medicines of all.
Personal Wellness Care: We have professional nurses and a trained staff to supervise and assist with the self-administration of medications. We keep track of changing medications and dosages and watch for reactions to medications. When appropriate, we contact our residents’ families and personal physicians and keep them informed about any medication-related concerns and changes in health. More important, we have professional staff that interacts with residents throughout each day noticing both subtle and significant changes that should be brought to the attention of family or a doctor.
Healthy Diets: Too often, people living alone fail to cook or eat properly nutritious meals. At our Assisted Living communities we home-cook all our meals under a menu approved by our Registered Dietitian to ensure nutritional balance. We also have offerings on our daily menus from our Brain Healthy Cooking Program, a researched-based nutrition program designed to improve cognitive function for people of any age through a flavorful, healthful diet.
Recreational Activity: Active, involved people are more alert and healthy, which is why we offer a comprehensive array of recreational and social activities for our residents.
What services are offered in Assisted Living communities?
There are many services available and residents get to choose which services they need and want (and pay for).
Assisted Living provides meals, personal care assistance (help with showering, dressing and personal hygiene), medication reminders, weekly laundering of towels and bed linens, trash removal, weekly housekeeping, social and cultural activities, wellness programs including daily exercise classes, and more!
Are social and cultural activities organized?
Residents plan their day to the fullest by selecting from a wide array of activities and enjoying entertaining and educational events. At Senior Living Residences communities our EnrichedLIFE Program, developed with resident input, offers many opportunities for residents to spend time with each other, pursue individual interests, and host their families and friends at our special gatherings. However, it is up to the individual to decide how to spend their day - that is always a personal choice, respected by our staff.
Some of the activities you’ll find in our communities include: musical entertainment, shopping & sightseeing excursions, intergenerational programs with local schools and scout troops, daily exercise classes, spiritual discussion groups, men's and women's clubs, educational programs, current event group discussions, painting, cooking and computer classes, and gardening!
Can visitors stay overnight?
Your Assisted Living apartment is your home. Visitors are welcome at any time.
Is there a personal emergency response system at your assisted living community?
Our residents' health and safety is our primary concern - we have an emergency call system in every apartment in every community we manage with 24-hour awake personal care staff and trained healthcare professionals on-call 24 hours a day.