Tips & Advice
What is memory care?
Memory care is long-term skilled nursing geared toward those who suffer from Alzheimer's and other diseases that diminish memory. Many assisted living facilities offer memory care units on their premises. Memory care often involves activities and programs that are specifically designed to support and soothe those with memory problems. The monthly cost for this type of care tends to be higher than the average monthly cost associated with assisted living.
Assisted living facilities provide long-term housing for elderly or disabled people who need help with daily tasks such as meals, medication management, grooming, toileting, and transportation. These facilities offer a higher level of care than independent living facilities, and a lower level of care than nursing homes. Assisted living facilities are costlier than independent living communities, but less expensive than nursing homes.
What is independent living?
An independent living facility is geared toward meeting the needs of seniors who require only minor assistance with the activities of daily living. Independent living facilities offer amenities such as restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, transportation, and laundry services. They give residents the opportunity to socialize with other seniors and make new friends.
Are retirement communities required to be accredited?
Retirement communities aren't required to be accredited, but accreditation means that a particular retirement community has met certain standards. Accreditation is provided by organizations such as the Commission for Accreditation of Retirement Facilities (CARF) and the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC.
Accreditation involves a thorough internal and external review that can take up to a year to complete. Accredited retirement communities have met or exceeded the accrediting body's standards regarding resident life, resident health, financial resources, and overall administration.
What is a life care community?
A life care community is a retirement community that provides seniors with a full continuum of care throughout their lives. They are similar to continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), in that they provide facilities for independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care. However, these communities offer different payment and service terms from a CCRC.
With a CCRC, you can receive either a full or partial continuum of care over your lifetime, and your monthly fee will increase if you need to step up to a higher level of care. Life care communities require you to sign a life care agreement that locks you in to a full continuum of care. And life care communities charge a fixed monthly fee that stays the same even if you eventually need to access a higher level care than you started with when your stay began.
How much does it cost to live in a retirement community?
The cost of living in a retirement community will depend on the level of care provided and your geographic location. Monthly costs can range from $1,000-$6,000 or more, and many facilities also require you to pay a one-time entrance fee, move-in fee, community fee, or reservation deposit.
One type of retirement community is a continuing care retirement community, or CCRC. These communities offer everything from independent living facilities to nursing home care, and they typically charge a steep entrance fee that can total $100,000 or more. Many seniors cover this fee by selling their homes. With continuing care retirement communities, you'll also have a pay a monthly fee that can cost $1,000-$5,000 or more.
Some types of retirement communities focus solely on assisted living. On average, it costs $3,500 per month for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility. These facilities often require you to pay a one-time reservation deposit or community fee that is roughly equal to the monthly rate charged.
The least expensive type of retirement communities are those focused solely on independent living. These communities charge monthly rates that are comparable to the cost of renting an apartment in your area. They sometimes charge a move-in fee that's roughly equal to the monthly rate.
What is a CCRC community?
CCRC stands for continuing care retirement community, which offer varying levels of care for seniors with different needs. At a CCRC, independent living facilities are offered for seniors who are capable of living on their own, and assisted living facilities are offered for seniors who need help with things like grooming and housekeeping. A CCRC also provides nursing home care for those who need a higher level of medical assistance. A CCRC is designed to provide seniors with a community where they can remain for the rest of their lives, moving from one level of care to the next as needed.
Is assisted living the same as a nursing home?
An assisted living facility is not the same as a nursing home. Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care for those who suffer from conditions or disabilities that call for intensive, ongoing medical assistance. Assisted living facilities typically cater to seniors who need less medical care and who require a living situation that provides more independence than is typical at a nursing home.
However, some assisted living facilities also provide skilled nursing care for residents who need it. At several locations around the country, you can find independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities all on the same campus, allowing residents to make a smoother transition from one to the other.
How much does it cost to live in an assisted living facility?
The cost of residing in an assisted living facility can vary based on location and the size of the unit being rented. The national median average for renting a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility comes in at around $3,500 per month.
If you have long-term care insurance, this coverage will usually assist with the costs associated with residing in an assisted living facility. Some seniors who don't have long-term care insurance cover the costs associated with assisted living by selling their homes. In cases where a couple owns property and only one person in a couple requires assisted living, the partner who is remaining at home will sometimes take out a reverse mortgage on the property to cover costs.
What services are provided in assisted living facilities?
Assisted living facilities provide a wide range of services that can help seniors who have trouble handling tasks related to basic self-care. These facilities can provide daily meals, and assist with bathing, grooming, and toileting. They can help with basic housekeeping and laundry, and they also provide 24-hour security that creates a safe environment for seniors. Assisted living facilities can also provide seniors with easy access to transportation, and offer social programs that can help give seniors a sense of community.