Be honest: When someone mentions assisted living, is the first thought in your head a quiet “nursing home” for older citizens? If so, you’re not alone! In the past, the two terms were used interchangeably; however, over the years, the senior living community has differentiated between assisted living care communities and the traditional “nursing home” still pictured by many today. But today’s assisted living communities are far from drab or dull – they are communities where seniors can thrive with varying degrees of assistance, allowing them to live life as independently as possible. Read on as we help debunk a few of the top misconceptions about assisted living.
Misconception #1: “Assisted Living” Means “Nursing Home”
The two terms, which used to be synonymous, now have quite different meanings. The term “nursing home” typically refers to a skilled nursing facility, where seniors require 24-hour medical supervision due to advanced physical or mental conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves. In contrast, an assisted living community is targeted toward older adults who can take care of most of their needs independently, but who might need just a bit of assistance here or there with the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, etc.). These communities are designed to have a home-like feel and typically offer amenities such as delicious meals, daily social activities, fitness programs, transportation to and from appointments or other outings, 24-hour security, housekeeping services, maintenance-free living and more.
Misconception #2: I Don’t Need Enough Assistance to Qualify for Assisted Living
While assisted living eligibility requirements do vary from state to state, you might be surprised to learn that individuals who can live mostly independently can still qualify for assisted living! In Illinois, 35% – 49% of assisted living residents need help with simple tasks like bathing, walking or dressing. Contact your local assisted living community and ask to speak to the administrator, who will help conduct a functional assessment for assisted living to determine whether you or your loved one is a good fit for their program.
Misconception #3: Assisted Living Communities Only Provide One Level of Care
Think all assisted living communities are the same? Think again! While some communities offer lower levels of care for residents who need minimal assistance, others offer a range of services for those who need more hands-on assistance. So, what are the different levels of assisted living? “Lower-level” assistance may refer to helping a resident with daily hygiene – bathing or dressing – or managing a resident’s medication schedule, though the resident doesn’t require advanced monitoring. “Higher-level” assistance may refer to more hands-on aid when a resident cannot move from place to place independently, or they may need help with feeding or continence management. Some communities also offer more advanced memory care services to allow residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss to age in place for a longer period.
Misconception # 4: Assisted Living Means Losing Independence or Giving Up My Hobbies
Not so! The goal of assisted living is to provide just enough assistance to allow residents to live as independently as possible for as long as they desire. While you may not be living in your own home, assisted living residents are not limited to where they can go or what they can do – and many communities offer robust calendars of daily activities and social events to help residents feel less isolated than they might feel living alone.
Misconception #5: Assisted Living is More Expensive Than Living at Home
So, what about the costs? Is assisted living worth it, or is it more expensive than living at home? While the costs vary by community and by level of care, the average cost may be lower than living at home when you consider the costs of daily living beyond just paying your rent or mortgage! Still paying for groceries, social activities, laundry and housekeeping services, or home and auto repairs? All of these things are built into the cost of assisted living. The average monthly cost of assisted living in Illinois, according to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, ranges from $2,840 to $4,819, varying widely across different cities.
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Ready to plan your move to assisted living? Check out this blog or reach out today and let our Plainfield, IN assisted living staff answer your questions.