Types of Assisted Living Explained
Independent Living Centers
Independent living communities are for seniors who can for the most part, take care of themselves. An independent living community provides senior friendly housing and services.
Independent communities are limited to and designed for seniors with some common areas that may include TV or family rooms, a large meeting room and livable design features like elevators, ramps at entrances and pickup areas and wider halls. Sometimes there is an outside garden with seating areas.
Other features vary but could include on site dining, shuttles, commercial services on site, nurse or on call medical services.
Independent living properties vary greatly from urban high rise apartments or condos, to rural personal care homes with individual smaller buildings.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities are residential facilities that offer meals, assistance with personal care, housekeeping, and monitoring of resident's health and safety. Nursing and medical care not included. A seniors only apartment at an assisted living facility is usually rented rather than purchased. Long term care may be available if the facility is part of a CCRC; short term visits or respite care is usually available as well.
Assisted living homes are geared toward elderly adults who have trouble living at home independently, but don't require constant support or care. When Mom, Dad, or a spouse is too frail to cook or clean for himself, drive to the store, or perform other daily tasks, and you are unable to care for them at home, you could consider this type of living facility.
There are many benefits of assisted living including personal support services that help with bathing, dressing and restroom assistance, help with daily living tasks including housekeeping and laundry, food and nourishment with regular meals, reduced safety concerns due to the security of living in a staffed facility, social and physical activities and of course, health and medical services including transportation to and from scheduled appointments.
Assisted Living Apartments
Assisted Living apartments communities are sometimes under federal housing guidelines (HUD) and will only accept low income seniors, however some are privately owned and go by different guidelines for application acceptance. Assisted Living apartments are age qualified for independent active seniors 55 and older. This type of facility does not offer meal service, housekeeping or medical assistance. There are a limited number of senior apartments available and there may be a waiting lists several months long.
Assisted Living apartment complexes are typically located in urban city centers in high rise apartment buildings. Although, recently many senior apartments are in low rise apartment complexes located in the suburbs, near shopping centers and malls, pubic or mass transit.
Continuing Care Retirement Community
CCRCs are so named because they address the entire continuum of care with healthy seniors moving in independent living apartments, but having the security of knowing they can "age in place" thanks to assisted living and skilled nursing services on site. The number of CCRCs nationally has risen sharply over the past 25 years from 274 in the early 1980s to 2,240 in 2005, according to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
CCRC's are usually very expensive however many guarantee lifetime shelter and care with long term contracts that detail the housing and care obligations of the CCRC as well as its costs. This is becoming more popular with seniors who want to remain in one location as they age with the peace of mind from already having in place long term care options that may become needed.
Senior Housing Cost
According to American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (www.aahsa.org)
The average daily cost for a private room in a nursing home is $213, or $77,745 annually.
The average daily cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $189, or $68,985 annually.
The average monthly cost of living in an assisted living facility is $2,969, or $35,628 annually.
The average monthly cost of living in a not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community is $2,672, or $32,064 annually.
The average monthly rate for assisted living facilities that charge additional fees for Alzheimer's and dementia care is $4,270, or $51,240 annually.
To move into a community, individuals must also pay an entry fee ranging from $60,000 to $120,000.
Health care costs for people age 65 and older continues to soar. Many Medicare Plans can help individuals to offset healthcare costs. In 2007, federal and state governments spent approximately $980 billion on senior health care benefits. That is a 35% increase from the year 2000. Population growth as well as the Medicare prescription drug benefit enacted in 2006 counted for much of the increase. The federal government spends more money on seniors than any other group. Below we take a look at the average costs for home, memory, and hospice care.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services states that the average price to hire a home health worker of any kind is $29 an hour. The costs are very regional, and vary greatly depending on where the patient lives. For example, the average price in Los Angeles for a home care worker is $29, but down the road in San Jose the price jumps to a staggering $50 an hour. Kentucky has the lowest average hourly rate for a home care worker coming in at just $16 an hour. At $49 an hour, Alaska is the highest. Home Care information and Facility listings by Metro area.
Memory care is quite expensive. Again, the cost is regional, but according to Johns Hopkins University it is about $50,000 a year. Nationwide estimates come in at $25,000-$75,000 annually. Approximately one-third is institutional costs while the other two-thirds covers in-home care, prescription drugs, and adult day care services. Below we list some of the average costs of care that people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's receive:
- Adult Day Care: $70 per day
- Memory Care Facilities: $60-$175 per day (24 hours)
- Assisted living and stand alone memory care costs: $4,800 per month
- Nursing home memory care costs: $230 per day
Hospice care costs vary greatly because of the wide variety of services offered. Medicare and Medicaid pay approximately 80% of the expenses associated with home care followed by 10% by private insurance policies, and 10% out of pocket. The average rates for Medicare hospice are as follows:
- Routine Home Day Care: $146.70 for individuals receiving hospice services at home.
- Continuous Home Care: $855 for 24 hour period.
- Inpatient Respite Care: $152 a day for a maximum of 5 days at a time in an inpatient facility.
- General Inpatient Care: $652 per day at a hospital, hospice facility, or skilled nursing facility.