An assisted living facility is a system of housing and limited care that is designed for senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities, but do not require care in a nursing home. People living in these facilities may be at an increased risk for health hazards such as heart attacks, falls, or illness. Approximately 713,000 elderly citizens in the United States are currently living in the care of an assisted living facility.
Since elderly people are at a higher risk of serious injury or illness in case of emergency, it is important to have a plan in place. In an event where there is a power outage, communication needs to be able to happen with so many of these citizens in one place. If communication cannot be made, this can put this group of people in danger. Having a satellite phone is imperative so communication can be made to receive help, even if regular phones or internet are not receiving a signal.
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An assisted living facility is a residential program for individuals who need help with daily activities, such as personal care, mobility, medications, meal preparation or household chores, but who do not require skilled nursing care. Assisted living programs strive to create a home-like setting that promotes independence. Nursing homes are designed for people who need daily nursing care. These facilities have nursing staff available 24 hours a day, and have a range of services (social work, occupational and physical therapies, etc.) to meet the residents’ health care needs.
The cost varies from about $1,000 to $6,000 per month, depending on the facility’s physical features, size, location and the services provided.
Assisted living facilities are licensed to provide care at one of three levels. The levels correspond to the amount of care the resident needs. Level One is for residents who need a low level of assistance. Level Two represents moderate care needs, while Level Three designates a high level of care. An example of a resident at Level Three is a resident with dementia who needs help with all daily activities, and has a complex schedule of medications. Homes that are licensed for Level Two or Three may admit residents who need care at lower levels.
If your loved one is assessed as Level One when they are admitted to the facility, they can continue to live there when their health declines as long as their care needs are not greater than the highest level of care for which the facility is licensed. If, however, your loved one needs Level Three care but the facility is only licensed for Level Two, your loved one would need to move to an assisted living facility that is licensed at Level Three, or possibly transfer to a nursing home. In some cases, the facility may choose to apply to the state for a waiver so that your loved one could stay in the facility.
First, choose the facility that is right for your parents. Carefully read the Resident Agreement, the contract that lists all the services that will be provided, the fees and the responsibilities of all parties. Make sure you understand what services are provided and all of the fees that may be charged. Ask their physician to complete a physical assessment form and submit it to the assisted living facility you have chosen. Make sure the facility is licensed for the level of care your parents need. Once these steps are taken, all the documents are signed and any initial fees are paid, your parents may move in when there is a vacancy.
Some assisted living facilities provide respite care, that is, short-term care that allows the family or other care providers to take a break from care giving. The individual may receive up to 30 days per year of respite care in an assisted living facility; those days may be used either continuously or intermittently. Fees for this service vary.