4 Common Questions Asked About Assisted Living

Editor’s note: This is seventh in a series of posts by guest blogger Michelle Seitzer.

Our guest blogger Michelle Seitzer.

Series recap: We opened with an overview of the levels of senior care and housing, then continued with tips on how to initiate a conversation about options and search for the best care. Next, we focused on independent living and assisted living; dove into assisted living in greater detail; and now, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about this level of service.

Ultimately, choosing assisted living care often comes down to these basics:

How can I pay for assisted living?

Like independent living, assisted living is primarily private pay only. More states are now recognizing assisted living as part of the home and community-based services (HCBS) spectrum, which means that Medicaid may cover a portion of the cost (typically, room and board) for eligible seniors in participating states. Families may use retirement/pension funds, proceeds from a home sale, Social Security income, funds from long term care/health care insurance coverage to pay the bill. To learn more about what Medicare may, in special circumstances, cover on the home care or assisted living fronts, visit Medicare.gov/LongTermCare.

Who provides assisted living care and services?

Nurses, CNAs (certified nurses’ aides), nursing assistants, activity directors, dining staff, administrative staff, directors of nursing (DONs), executive directors, caregivers, physical therapists, social workers, and chauffeurs are among the many staff members you’ll find in assisted living communities and home care agencies. Professional background, years/type of experience, and training requirements are determined by the provider, often in accordance with state regulations.

How are assisted living communities licensed?

Assisted living communities and home care agencies are licensed by the state (generally the state department of health, aging services, or public welfare), so regulatory requirements in Alaska and Alabama are completely unique. Go to the National Center on Assisted Living’s Regulatory Review for a listing of each state’s specific guidelines.

Where can I find assisted living options?

Check out ElderCare.gov, the Assisted Living Federation of America, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging or the National Center for Assisted Living.

Next post: Taking a closer look at skilled nursing and ancillary care services. Stay tuned! Here’s the Closer Look series to date:

Editor’s Notes: Michelle Seitzer has blogged for the senior living search site SeniorsforLiving.com since 2008, and is the co-moderator of #ElderCareChat, a bi-monthly Twitter-facilitated discussion group for family and professional caregivers.