It can be overwhelming to find a new living arrangement for an aging loved one, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the nuances of senior living options. In order to find the best fit, one must understand what types of housing and care are available and the key differences between them.
Senior care exists on a spectrum, and independent living (IL) is the least restrictive and assistive residential option. One step above IL is assisted living (AL). AL is also minimally restrictive, but as the name implies, this residential setting offers assistive services and supports. Lets take a closer look at the differences and similarities between these two senior living options.
The independent living category encompasses a wide range of housing arrangements, from apartment-style communities to housing co-ops. Generally, though, residents live in their own private dwelling spaces and have access to common areas where they can gather with other members of the community. Independent living can also be referred to as an active adult community, senior apartments, a retirement community, a 55+ community, or a retirement home. Because this option is designed for seniors who can still live independently, the features and amenities in the individual dwelling areas are comparable to those in a typical small home, townhouse or apartment.
The typical assisted living arrangement is apartment-style. Individual units may or may not be equipped with full kitchens. Assisted living communities with specialized memory care units for seniors with cognitive impairment often feature increased security measures (e.g., locked doors and extra surveillance equipment) and may not allow residents to have kitchens in their apartments, due to safety concerns.
Some specialized communities, called Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer independent living, assisted living and higher levels of senior care all on the same campus to allow residents to easily transition between these settings as their needs increase.
Amenities and Care Services
Independent living communities aim to make their residents day-to-day lives a bit easier, thus enabling them to live on their own for as long as possible. The services IL provides are aimed at minimizing senior's daily responsibilities, not assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs). Landscaping, laundry and housekeeping services, on-site dining facilities, security surveillance, and a variety of activities and events are the typical offerings in IL settings. However, they do not have full-time staff dedicated to providing custodial or medical care.
The main benefits of independent living communities are receiving help with meals and housekeeping/maintenance tasks, as well as having a centralized hospitality service building for socialization, says Regina Wallace, director of the independent senior apartments program for the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in Riverdale, New York. Its not really about hands-on care in these communities.
Assisted living, on the other hand, is geared more towards helping aging adults who need some assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, doing laundry and taking medications. Staff members, including at least one medical professional (typically a certified nurse practitioner), are on call 24 hours a day in most AL residences. However, assisted living communities don't provide intensive hands-on care or skilled nursing care for older adults with serious mental or physical ailments.
Both independent living and assisted living communities have recreation schedules that are unique to each facility's residents and their abilities. Common activities include game nights, field trips, support and discussion groups, holiday celebrations, exercise classes and continuing education courses. They also provide transportation services for shuttling residents to and from doctor's appointments, the grocery store and other errands.
Comparing the Costs of Independent and Assisted Living
Rent and utilities represent the primary cost for independent living residents, according to Wallace. Aging adults who live in communities that offer specialized recreational opportunities (e.g., private golf courses) may incur additional expenses in the form of membership and/or joining fees. Different meal plans are usually available for on-site dining, and additional costs may be involved depending on the mix of services and add-ons a senior opts for.
Just like in IL communities, AL facilities often use a base rate system that includes rent, utilities and some level of basic services, such as meals and housekeeping. Again, additional services will come with additional costs. According to Genworths annual Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of a private one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility is $3,750.
Seniors who need specialized or one-on-one care that isn't included in their rent contract can usually hire professional in-home care to supplement the services that the IL or AL community offers. Of course, this will increase costs, but the addition may enable a senior to remain in their home longer rather than move to a different setting with a higher level of care.
Ways to Pay for IL and AL
Besides differences in the levels of care these residential setting provides, the biggest disparity between independent living and assisted living is the financial resources that seniors and their families can use to cover the cost of living in these communities.
Since independent living communities don't provide residents with medical services, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and other financial aid programs won't cover the cost. Instead, seniors must pay privately, using funds from Social Security benefits, pension income, retirement savings, life settlements, reverse mortgage funds, annuities and other personal funds.
Because AL communities provide a greater amount of assistance, there are more options available for helping cover costs. Residents can pay to live in AL by using savings and the personal funds listed above, as well as certain long-term care insurance policies and Aid and Attendance benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Medicare does not cover assisted living, but Medicaid offers some financial assistance for low-income seniors. Keep in mind that Medicaid eligibility and coverage rules vary from state to state.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers low-income seniors help with paying for both independent and assisted living through the Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) and Section 202 programs respectively. However, because of high demand for these programs, the waiting lists are often very long.
Nestled in the serene and picturesque landscapes of Punta Gorda, Florida, Hampton Manor stands as a testament to unparalleled senior living, offering a diverse spectrum of care that encompasses Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care. As a distinguished senior living community, Hampton Manor is dedicated to providing exceptional services tailored to meet the unique needs of residents while fostering a vibrant and engaging environment. Embracing Independent LivingFor seniors seeking an independent lifestyle without compromising on comfort or convenience, Hampton Manor's Independent Living program offers a harmonious blend of freedom and support. Residents relish the autonomy of private residences while enjoying a myriad of amenities and services designed to enhance their quality of life. From spacious and elegantly designed accommodations to an array of recreational and wellness activities, Independent Living at Hampton Manor ensures a fulfilling and carefree lifestyle. Assisted Living: Personalized Care and SupportRecognizing that some residents may require additional assistance with daily activities, Hampton Manor's Assisted Living program prioritizes personalized care in a supportive and compassionate environment. Trained caregivers and healthcare professionals are available around the clock to provide assistance with medication management, dressing, grooming, and other essential tasks. The emphasis on preserving residents' independence while offering tailored support ensures a sense of dignity and well-being. Specialized Memory Care: Nurturing Cognitive HealthFor individuals living with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or other memory-related conditions, Hampton Manor's Memory Care program offers a specialized environment focused on safety, comfort, and engaging activities. The program is designed to support cognitive function and emotional well-being, incorporating innovative approaches and specialized therapies to cater to the unique needs of residents with memory impairments. Amenities and Engaging Community LifeHampton Manor prides itself on providing a wealth of amenities and fostering a vibrant community life for its residents. From beautifully landscaped grounds and comfortable common areas to fitness centers, wellness programs, and recreational activities, the community encourages an active and socially engaging lifestyle. Residents have ample opportunities to participate in various events, classes, and outings, fostering friendships and a sense of belonging. Commitment to Personalized Care and CompassionAt the heart of Hampton Manor's philosophy lies a commitment to personalized care and genuine compassion for its residents. The dedicated team of caregivers and staff members prioritize the well-being of residents, fostering a nurturing and supportive environment where each individual's needs are understood and met with empathy and professionalism. Conclusion: Hampton Manor - A Haven for Holistic Senior LivingHampton Manor of Punta Gorda embodies the essence of comprehensive and compassionate senior living, offering a continuum of care that caters to the diverse needs of its residents. Through Independent Living, Assisted Living, and specialized Memory Care programs, the community fosters an environment that prioritizes independence, well-being, and vibrant community engagement.As a destination where luxury meets personalized care and a vibrant lifestyle, Hampton Manor stands as a beacon of excellence in senior living. Its unwavering commitment to enhancing the lives of residents through exceptional care, engaging amenities, and a welcoming community continues to make it a cherished home for seniors seeking comfort, support, and fulfillment in their golden years.
Moving to a personal care home is a big decision based on many factors. Cold winter months are drawing near, and the Farmers Almanac is forecasting a Winter Wonderland for the northeastern United States. Keeping this in mind, and to avoid winter chores, this is a great time to consider a respite stay and experience first-hand what life is like living in a personal care home.Experience an easier moveWinter weather conditions like snow and ice can complicate the move to a personal care home. Moving before bad weather conditions arrive allows seniors to avoid potential weather-related delays, accidents or other challenges during transportation and when moving belongings.Try out the personal care homeRespite care offers seniors a chance to try out a retirement community without making a long-term commitment. Country Meadows offers all-rental retirement living accommodations, so seniors are not beholden to a lengthy lease or an ownership stake. A respite stay can help older adults see for themselves whether or not the community is a good fit for a permanent move.Avoid winter weather challengesMany older adults struggle with winter chores such as shoveling snow, chipping away ice, walking on icy sidewalks, managing heating systems and driving in inclement weather. A temporary respite stay at a personal care home eliminates these responsibilities, as well as many other daily chores, removing worries. It provides seniors the opportunity to settle into their new living arrangement without the added stress of winter weather.Access daily assistance and health servicesAlong with cold weather, the winter season can also bring several challenges for older adults to maintain wellness. A major benefit to living at a personal care home is prompt, easy access to health resources and assistance. This is especially beneficial for seniors with health concerns and mobility issues. If a resident requires assistance with medications, dressing, bathing or another daily activity, simply push a call button and a personal care associate can provide needed help. And a wellness team keeps an eye on each residents overall health.Reduce lonelinessMany seniors experience loneliness and isolation while living at home. The winter months can magnify these feelings. Respite care offers opportunities for social interaction and engagement with new neighbors and friends in the same age group, reducing feelings of loneliness and providing mental stimulation.Participate in activities, enjoy entertainment and outingsSenior living communities often offer a variety of enriching activities and events. At Country Meadows, our Vibe program considers each residents physical, cognitive, social and spiritual needs and customizes activities, entertainment, outings and purposeful service opportunities. Events are organized seasonally by categories and offer opportunities for socialization and fun. When living at a personal care home, one doesnt need to brave the elements outside, because all the fun during winter is happening indoors, fostering a sense of belonging among residents.Provide relief for family caregiversA respite stay offers a break for family members and friends providing care in a seniors private home. This break is especially appreciated during winter months when private caregiving responsibilities might become more demanding due to inclement weather, illnesses or holiday-related activities.When considering respite care at a personal care home or retirement community over the winter months, its important to do some homework. Families and seniors should research and visit potential facilities to ensure the community can meet specific needs and preferences of each individual. The decision for respite care should prioritize the well-being, comfort and specific needs of each person, aiming to provide a supportive and enriching experience. Contact Country Meadows Retirement Communities today.
Basics of Reverse Home MortgageA reverse home mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners to access a portion of their home equity without having to sell their home or make monthly mortgage payments. Unlike a traditional mortgage, the loan balance of a reverse mortgage increases over time and is typically only repaid when the homeowner sells the home or passes away.Differences from Traditional Mortgage Reverse mortgages do not require monthly mortgage payments, while traditional mortgages do. The loan balance of a reverse mortgage increases over time, while the loan balance of a traditional mortgage decreases over time as payments are made. Reverse mortgages are typically only repaid when the homeowner sells the home or passes away, while traditional mortgages are repaid over a set term. A Financial Solution for Seniors For seniors, a reverse mortgage can be a great financial solution. It allows them to access the equity in their homes without selling or giving up ownership. Reverse mortgages are also a great way to supplement retirement income. They provide a steady stream of funds that can be used to cover living expenses. With a reverse mortgage, seniors can enjoy their retirement years and have peace of mind knowing they have a reliable source of income.Reverse mortgages are also a great way to pass on wealth to heirs. The loan is paid off from the sale of the home, and the remaining equity is passed on to the heirs.Eligible homeowners obtain reverse mortgages for many reasons including: Repairing or modifying the home to meet the physical needs of getting older Supplementing retirement income to meet expenses Managing the costs of in-home care Paying off an existing mortgage Paying increased bills due to inflation and economy Paying property Taxes Delaying Social Security Providing a source of funds for living expenses in lieu of liquidating financial investments during times of market downturn or disruption Helping retirement savings last longer Purchasing a retirement home Recent ClientsA retired couple in their late 60s, John and Susan, were struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income, due to inflation and the cost of living increasing. They had significant equity in their home but were hesitant to sell it and downsize because of the current real estate market. They decided to explore a reverse mortgage as an option to access their home's equity without having to sell it. The reverse mortgage allowed John and Susan to access their home's equity and use the funds to pay off their existing mortgage and cover their increased living expenses. They were able to stay in their home and maintain their quality of life, without having to worry about making monthly mortgage payments. Mary Anne, a retired infusion nurse, suffered some medical challenges and her insurance did not cover all of her additional expenses. She decided a reverse mortgage was her best option. It allowed her funds to seek non-traditonal treatment and was able to eliminate the financial stress in her life, allowing her body to heal.A retired widow in his late 70s, James wants to stay in his home as long as possible. His home was mortgage free and he intends to leave it to his two children who live out of state. The reverse mortgage allowed him to access his home's equity and use the funds to make the modifications to continue staying in the home unassisted.It allows him the peace of mind knowing the has additional money to pay an in-home care giver if and when he needs one.He is able to stay in his own home and now worry about being a burden on his out of state children. He expressed to me that feeling of relief is priceless.This article was submitted by Nicole Cramer with Anchor Funding, Inc. Contact Nicole at 251-349-9891 or email her at email@example.com for more information about whether a reverse mortgage can work for you.