As parents reach their golden years, they often rely on us to maintain a happy, healthy standard of living. Our loved ones need care and support as they age. They face increased physical challenges in everyday tasks we may take for granted.
As these needs arise, family members often step-in to help, but this may not be sustainable as time passes. Additionally, dementia and chronic illness often require professional assistance.
Assisted living communities offer an appealing and comforting solution to these challenges. Since assisted living cost is not insignificant, it's important to ensure you receive the highest value for your financial investment. If you're considering assisted living for an aging parent, here are a few things to keep in mind.
What do Assisted Living Communities Offer?
Some assume that a nursing home is the only option, but there's a big difference between assisted living and nursing home care. Assisted living residents are more active and mobile than nursing home patients, who are often bedridden and may need 24/7 care. Depending on your location and on the level of care needed by your senior loved one, assisted living cost can be lower than home care or nursing homes in the same area.
There is no federal definition of assisted living, although individual states provide regulation. This means that the amenities, care packages, and pricing at each community will vary. Some states require different tiers of licensing for different kinds of care, so ask about the community's licenses in order to clearly understand what they offer.
Benefits of Community Life vs. Assisted Living Cost
There are countless ways that community life will benefit your aging parent. Remember that you're not only investing in a living space and meals, but your loved one's overall quality of life will be much higher. Here are just a few ways this takes place:
- Physical activity and fitness are encouraged.
- Social opportunities like movie and game nights are provided. This is essential for retaining mental faculties and communication skills!
- Senior safety is a top priority. Precautions such as shower railings and medical alert systems are provided, and physical assistance is always nearby.
- Secure entrances prevent strangers or intruders from threatening your loved ones.
- Classes and cultural events, such as book clubs or museum trips, keep residents mentally active.
- Supervised meals, with a variety of food and a happy social environment, help keep appetites strong. In some communities, staff members monitor meals and provide supplements when necessary.
- Housekeeping and transportation are provided, easing demands on family members.
Managing Assisted Living Cost
The best way to keep costs manageable is to research thoroughly ahead of time. Try to plan as far ahead as possible so that you aren't rushed by a sudden medical development. Taking time to pick the right community will prevent expensive moves later.
Visit potential communities multiple times and get to know the staff. Don't be afraid to ask about price flexibility and compare options with care packages. Once you select a community, it's a good idea for an attorney to review the contract. Make sure you understand the costs as well as exactly what care will be provided.
Although it may be more expensive, quality care is worth the financial investment. In an uplifting and empowering environment, your aging loved one will enjoy a more positive, upbeat outlook. You will have time and emotional energy left for more meaningful connections when family members are not completely responsible for your loved one's care. With proper planning and research, you can help your parent find a community that uplifts and enriches their life.