Assisted living centers are places where people, who are less than independent but not in need of full time care, are provided with guidance or support in the activities of daily life. It is a proper care option typically employed by the elderly who do not require the 24-hour health care typical of an elderly care facility. It gives seniors help in housing, support services and health care, on a needed basis. The setting is similar to a person’s own home; however, assistance is provided in the form of meals, housekeeping, entertainment and other lifestyle support. The senior gets the security of having assistance when needed and residing in a structured environment, while maintaining an overall stage of independence. Options include staying in a separate apartment or condominium type residing quarters, or if more assistance is required, staying in a dormitory. The stage of interaction with staff varies, depending on the stage of need.
One of the major drawbacks for those seeking assisted living is the cost. The median monthly cost for assisted living is $2,575. While this may be comparable to assisted living centers prices, covering the expenses is much more difficult. Medicare A and B, the traditional sources of funding for a senior’s care, do not offer comprehensive protection for long term, ongoing care in an assisted living center. Medicare A, which pays for hospital coverage for seniors, may provide partial coverage for care in an assisted living center for rehabilitation following hospitalization, but will only last up to 100 days. Coverage will decrease throughout the 100 days. Medicare B, which covers physician care, will not provide any coverage for assisted living expenses separate from treatment by a doctor. Private insurance is the most effective way to pay for assisted living care.
Medicaid, a state and federal program which provides health care for low income individuals, may cover some assisted living expenses. However, the availability of State Medicaid programs coverage will vary by state, and likely will be decreasing coverage rather than expanding in the coming years. In contrast, traditional assisted living centers are covered by Insurance coverage if the senior stays in Insurance covered certified house after a qualified hospital stay (at least three days).