Assisted Living – Frequently Asked Questions

Being in the business I’m in I often get a lot of questions about the various aspects of assisted living. This is a topic that many people don’t think about until it’s time to think about it. So, it is understandable that there would be a lot of questions. I decided to put together a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) article to help address some of the inquiries I receive most often about Assisted Living.

1. What are the criteria for assisted living?

People entering assisted living communities often need help or assistance with certain activities of daily living (ADLs) such as personal care, hygiene assistance, mobility, meal preparation, medication management and more. Assisted living may not be appropriate for people who:

  • Have severe cognitive impairment
  • Show behavioral symptoms such as wandering
  • Have extensive medical needs
  • Require daily nursing services

However, there are some assisted living communities that specialize in memory care that can assist a loved one who has some varying degrees of cognitive impairment.

The admissions process includes:

  • Community Admissions Paperwork
  • Physicians Report (Form 602)
  • Negative Tuberculosis (TB) Test or Chest X-Ray

2. What does assisted living cost include?

Assisted living is independent living in an apartment with the added benefit of having help nearby for medication management, meal preparation, housekeeping and transportation. Residents enjoy social connections, wellness programs, secure housing and cultural outings in an assisted living community. Costs associated with assisted living include the housing, utilities, and care services.

Many assisted living communities offer residents an all-inclusive pricing model while others offer fee-for-service pricing.

The all-inclusive pricing means that a single monthly fee covers rent, meals, housekeeping, transportation, and care.

The fee-for-service pricing model means that a resident only pays for the services they use, in addition to the monthly rent.

A Family Advisor at Senior Living Options of the Desert can provide more information on which pricing model is available at the different communities in the desert and throughout southern California. 

In 2019, the projected, average monthly cost of assisted living nationwide is $4,000. Alzheimer’s and dementia care in assisted living (called Memory Care) costs, on average, an additional $800 – 1,200 per month, for a monthly total of $4,800 – $5,200. Costs for assisted living vary dramatically from state to state. In the South and Mid-West, the approximate average monthly costs are from $2,800 – $4,500. In the Northeast and on the West Coast, $4,200 – $6,050 per month is the norm. 

3. How does one pay for assisted living?

There are several options to help you pay for assisted living care. You may be able to navigate some of these options yourself. Some senior living communities offer a “financial concierge service” that may be able to help guide you through the process of qualifying for financial benefits. Another option is to speak with a “geriatric planner”. They can save you a lot of time and have a wealth of knowledge in this area. However, if you cannot afford or cannot find a geriatric planner, with a little determination and perseverance you can achieve the same results.

Check out a previous article I wrote for more detailed information on How To Pay For Assisted Living.

4. Can I bring my dog too?

Senior living communities have different pet policies with specific breed restrictions and weight limits, so it’s important to do your research. For example, some communities have “pet interviews” to determine whether the pet is right for their community, while others allow all pets under 20 lbs.  Cats, birds and fish are also welcome in many communities, and some communities even have Pet Coordinators to care for any feathered or furry friends. So make sure to contact your communities of choice and ask about their particular pet policy.

My team at Senior Living Options of the Desert can answer this question for specific assisted living facilities in the southern California market.

5. Are there assisted living facilities that are culturally diverse?

An increasing number of assisted living communities are designed to meet the unique cultural, dietary, lingual and religious-based needs of local populations. On the West Coast, there are many Asian senior living communities such as Fremont Hills in Fremont, CA and more are on the way.

As America ages and diversifies, we’ve also seen an ever increasing demand for niche retirement communities, including golf-oriented communities, LGBT oriented communities and communities with themes no one has even thought of yet.

In Summary

I realize that this doesn’t begin to answer all the specific questions you will have regarding assisted living. So, please feel free to call us anytime to talk with one of our Family Advisors. We would love to answer any specific questions you have. Every situation is unique and we strive to help you make the most informed decision possible for you and your loved one.

About Senior Living Options of the Desert

Senior Living Options of the Desert is Southern California’s leader in senior living referral. We’ve been helping families find compassionate care for their loved ones since 2004.

Whether you’re looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or another form of senior care, our local family advisors will help you find the right option for you and your family. Our mission is to provide families with the best residential care options based on care needs and location, no matter what the budget. And, our services are always FREE.

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