If you have reached the age in life where you need a little help to complete your daily living tasks, you are probably worried about becoming a burden on your children or grandchildren. You may think your only choices are to continue to depend on your family or agree to go to a nursing home. There is another alternative. Assisted living services may allow you to remain independent while providing the help you need on a daily basis. Here's what you need to know.
What is assisted living?
There is no standard legal definition of assisted living. Each state defines the term and sets the licensing requirements for assisted living homes. Generally, the term means you need some assistance to live at home, but do not require 24-hour care and do not need the services of medical personnel on a daily basis. You do not need to live in an assisted living facility to receive assisted living services. You may be qualified to receive assisted living services in your own home. Social service and independent assisted living agencies often provide some in-home services to those who are capable of living on their own, but need some help from others.
What kind of help can you get?
Assisted living services range from living in an assisted living facility where staff members provide assistance with dressing, bathing, toileting and other personal care on a daily basis to in-home services for similar needs when necessary. They may include assistance with preparing meals or completing household tasks. Some agencies provide daily or weekly assistance, depending on your needs.
Will your insurance pay for assisted living services?
Medicare does not cover assisted living services, but that doesn't mean you can't get assistance. You may be able to take advantage of Medicaid. Aging seniors who have to use all or almost all of their assets to pay for care or who are low income (expenses exceed your income) typically qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid covers assisted living services. You may also qualify for PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly). This program coordinates your care and services and replaces Medicare or Medicaid. You may need to pay a fee for some services, but this differs according to your circumstances and the state you live in. Not all states participate in PACE. To find out if you qualify for PACE or if your state participates, visit the Medicare site. There are several links to more information about the PACE program.
How do you know what services you qualify for?
Reading all the regulations and guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid can be confusing, but there are people who can help you understand what services are available to you. Call your local Agency on Aging or talk to your medical care professionals about the services available in your area. Many non-profit or private agencies also provide services to the elderly or disabled.
Which is the best choice for you, in-home assisted living services or an assisted living facility?
Many seniors enjoy a residential facility because it generally offers opportunities for social interaction with others their own age. These facilities can provide assistance with personal daily living tasks as well as provide a safe environment and are staffed with medical personnel. They provide meals and housekeeping services and you don't need to worry about maintaining a household. If you enjoy being with others and want someone available for assistance 24/7, an assisted living facility may be a good choice for you.
Others enjoy the freedom and independence of living at home. If you live with others who are home at night, but are away at work or school during the day, you may enjoy the benefits of in-home assisted living services. Likewise, if you live alone and are able to care for your personal needs, but need some assistance with meal preparation or housekeeping tasks, in-home assisted living services may be all you need to remain independent. You can find more info by following the link in this sentence.