Assisted Living Communities

Based on the definition given by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), assisted living refers to long-term care which provides people with health care, housing and support services. This is actually viewed as a good, alternative choice over nursing home care for the elderly and the disabled who need assistance with daily tasks, which include preparation of meals, eating, using the bathroom, bathing, getting dressed, getting around, and managing medications.

There are approximately one million individuals receiving services from more than 31,000 assisted living communities all around the US, according to ALFA. Most of these are elderly seniors, 85 years old or above, who are no longer capable of living a safe or comfortable solitary life, but who do not need the level of medical care and attention provided in a nursing home.

Seniors in assisted living communities, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, actually live in apartment units privately assigned to them. This is to give seniors their needed independence and freedom to make their own decisions. To assure their safety and to make certain that all their needs are addressed, a support employee of the community monitors them and provides them with whatever assistance or services that they require, including physical therapy, emergency medical assistance and hospice care.

While there can be a long list of signs which will indicate that it is time to consider assisted living, the most common and easily noticeable are: a senior recently having an accident; dirty dishes left in the sink; moldy food just sitting inside the fridge; and, a messy house.

Despite the seeming need for assisted living, many families hesitate sending their elderly loved one to any community due to the high fees that need to be paid. According to SeniorAdvice.com, though the cost of assisted living varies from one community to another, average annual cost falls anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000.

Majority of assisted living communities are privately owned, thus the need to pay monthly fees, for which families may receive assistance from Veteran Attendant and Aid or long-term care insurance. If both are unavailable, however, then private funds may, instead, be used, like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), 401k plans or personal investment portfolios.