As we reach the final chapters of our lives, we may have to consider senior living options. Some senior living options include: home health care, nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Due to the plethora of information available about senior living options, this article will feature information about assisted living facilities for seniors.
The following are signs you or your loved one may need assisted living:
• Forgetfulness. They miss appointments and frequently forget to take medication.
• Strange and unusual behavior like wearing snow boots in the summer.
• Experiences confusion and becomes lost easily.
• Weight loss. This may be a sign your loved one isn’t eating properly. Also, they may have an empty refrigerator due to difficulty shopping.
• Balance or mobility issues. Frequent bruises. Frequent falls or stumbles.
• Lack of personal hygiene. They may forget to shower, bathe, brush hair or teeth. Also, they may wear the same clothes repeatedly due to difficulty doing laundry.
• The house is unusually dirty.
• Stops doing yard work due difficulty operating machinery.
According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), there are more than 36,000 assisted living facilities in the U.S. Assisted living facilities may also be known as:
• residential care community
• board and care community
• congregate care living community
• adult care home
• adult group home
• alternative care facility
• sheltered housing
• personal care homes
• retirement homes for adults
• community residences
A MetLife survey revealed the average cost of assisted living facilities is $3,000 monthly. Medicaid may cover some of the expenses and there are more than 41 states which offer "home and community-based waivers." Also, long-term care insurance may also cover assisted living.
These facilities provide services to more than one million seniors annually. Each facility will offer different services. Some services at assisted living facilities may include:
• 24-hour security
• A common eating area with prepared meals
• Exercise programs
• Leisure and activity programs
• Housekeeping services
• Personal laundry services
• Personal care (medication management, assistance dressing/showering, medical services, etc.)
Each individual state regulates assisted living facilities. For a list of your states regulations for assisted living communities, you can go to this document online:
If you are researching possible assisted living facilities, you can call 202-332-2275 or visit the www.ltcombudsman.org website. You can check for any complaints about assisted living facilities. The Ombudsman program, which is part of the Older Americans Act, requires each state to address complaints.
For an extensive assisted living checklist to find the right facility, you can go to the following link for a free brochure provided by the Assisted Living Federation of America:
Finally, here are a few resources to begin your search for an assisted living facility:
• Assisted Living Federation of America(ALFA)
• Assisted Living Facility Search
• A Place for Mom
Reviewed July 6, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton