What is Assisted Living and How to Find One near You?

The world today is a conscious one. The tide of commercialism and self pursuit is being harmonized by alternatives that reckon the well being of one and all.  A relatively new concept today is ‘Assisted Living’ and is the fastest growing long term care option for senior citizens.

If you are questioning the exact meaning of ‘Assisted Living’ then you are reading the right article. Wikipedia and other official dictionaries define it to be a ‘’housing facility for old people and people with disabilities. These facilities provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living, co-ordination of services by outside health care providers and monitoring of resident activities to help ensure their health safety and well-being. It may include administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services provided by a trained staff person.’’

What is Assisted Living

In simple words it is a re-defined senior care house. In general, it is a residential care facility that provides some services but is not licensed as a skilled nursing facility but covers a broad range of assistance (as it comes with the word ‘Assisted Living’) like dressing, bathing, eating and toilet but do not require vigorous and intense medical and nursing care that are provided in the nursing homes. It is not some independence- curtailing facility, privacy and self-reliance are encouraged. A good facility will allow you to meet your needs and accommodate your disabilities while equally giving you your fundamental freedom to do what you can to help yourself.

If age is becoming more than a number and is limiting your potential then Assisted Living may be a wise choice for you because personal care services is rendered full 24 hours and the support system is superior than the one at home or in an independent living retirement community. Standards vary widely among states; Small care homes with one or two residents living in a spare bedroom, professionally run small group homes and large corporate facilities with hundreds of residents all fall under the label of Assisted Living. Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are regulated and licensed at the US state level. The commonly acknowledged licensure term- ‘Assisted Living’ is also referred to as residential care home, assisted care living facilities and personal care homes.

Assisted Living, falls somewhere between an independent living community and a skilled nursing facility. There are different types of this facility; it can range in size from a small residential house for one resident up to very large facilities providing services to hundreds of residents. People who live in newer Assisted Living facilities usually have their own private apartment. It is unlike nursing homes but trained staffs are always available for other needed services. Daily household chores are performed and assisted for personal care. Individual living spaces may resemble a dormitory or hotel room consisting of a private or semi- private sleeping area and a shared bathroom. There are usually common areas for socializing as well as a central kitchen and dining room for preparing and eating meals. A typical resident of an Assisted Living facility is the one who needs assistance with at least one of the activities of daily living.

It would usually be a senior citizen who does not require a nursing home but preferring companionship and needing some assistance in day-to-day living. Age groups will vary with every facility. A residence may assist in arranging the appropriate medical health and dental care services. Many ALF’s also serve  the needs of people with some form of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and others with disability as long as they do not present an imminent danger to themselves or others.

In the United States, legislation enacted by each state defines not only the level of care but often what conditions are prohibited from being cared for in such a home. Besides providing immense facility and services one should carefully analyze all spectrum of what Assisted Living has to offer and how is it helpful. The cost of it can range from less than $25,000 a year to more than $50,000 a year, so it is fairly expensive.

Finding the right residence for your loved one could be a great turning point to one’s retired life. The best way to find an Assisted Living Facility near you is by trying to contact your Local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Visit any Government funded establishment and check information’s online for e.g. www.eldercare.org to find the AAA office closest to you. Local health or aging office can help you keep information on complaints and reports of safety violations.

Equally important to safety is the quality of the environment that you wish to spend a part of your or your loved one’s life, so choose wisely because no government data can tell you that. You can also seek out local non- profit information services. There are many accessible sites rendering required information’s and some require registration, but it is important to know where their information comes from.

The thought of leaving everything you know can make you feel very vulnerable and letting a loved one go is not at all an easy thing to do. But for every phase there is a transition and we ought to make it beautiful because every odd phase we’ve lived through we’ve found a silver lining.

Author Bio – This article is written by James Andrews from Fellowship Square – Brown & Center a faith-based not-for-profit retirement community famous for East Valley Arizona Senior Living.

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