The level of care that each assisted living resident needs can very widely, but assisted living facilities are able to accommodate most anything. Assisted living residences offer several levels of care, gradually tiered to accommodate the needs of virtually all potential residents, as well as the progressive care needs of existing residents.
At the lower end of the care spectrum may be residents that simply benefit from the basic housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry services provided at assisted living residences. Moving up the spectrum are those that need assistance dressing and bathing, while at the upper end of the spectrum are those with acute memory issues or serious health problems that require constant attention.
Each tier or level has a set price point and is clearly defined in terms of the residents’ needs and the care required to meet these needs. The monthly cost of living in an assisted living residence increases as the level of care increases.
Some assisted living residences are equipped to deal with advanced memory issues and the challenges that come with these issues, while other residences may limit the level of care they are able to provide.
An assessment will always be performed as a matter of protocol to determine the level of care a potential resident may need, and regular assessments are performed on an ongoing basis to monitor changes in the level of care required:
Even if your loved one diligently takes his or her medications, the use of drugs such as insulin and warfarin requires careful monitoring. A 2001 study conducted by the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living found that the average assisted living resident took an average of 6.2 different medications every day, and more than 80% needed help to manage their medication, according to a 2009 study by the National Center for Assisted Living.
Trained staff members in assisted living residences take on the duty of dispensing meds as needed. Larger residences often have a specific staff member, typically a certified medicine technician, who takes care of dispensing medication and handling the medicinal management needs of residents.
Assistance with Bathing
A National Center for Assisted Living survey found that 64% of the residents of assisted living residences needed help with bathing in 2009.
Your loved one may be having trouble getting in and out of the bathtub or shower, as this is frequently an issue for seniors, but an assisted living residence, caring hands are there to help.
Assistance with Dressing
According to a 2009 National Center for Assisted Living survey, 39% of those in assisted living residences needed help with dressing.
If your loved one has dexterity issues that cause trouble when getting dressed, or otherwise has issues choosing appropriate modes of dress, staff members are there to offer their gentle assistance.
You will no longer have to worry about whether your loved one is getting adequate nutrition, since the nutritional needs and status of all residents are carefully monitored within an assisted living environment.
This can be particularly important in addressing vitamin deficiencies that commonly occur in seniors, and which frequently go unrecognized. For instance, a deficiency in B vitamins has been associated with cognitive decline in some cases, and seniors often lack adequate levels of Vitamin D due to changes in dietary preferences and decreased sun exposure.
Physical and Mental Assessments
Prompt and personal health maintenance is a standard care service that is provided in assisted living residences. Frequent assessments performed by a physician or nurse practitioner help to ensure that changing health care needs are always met.
While living alone your loved one may experience a gradual deterioration in their health without even realizing it, but in an assisted living residence they will be monitored closely and assessed regularly to ensure they are receiving optimal care.
Routine Skilled Nurse and Doctor Visits
According to a 2010 government study described by the National Center for Assisted Living, 13% of the residents in assisted living facilities received skilled nursing services. Many assisted living residences have registered nurses or nurse practitioners on staff, and doctors in the area will often gladly make routine visits to see their patients.
Larger complexes tend to have pre-arrangements with area physicians who visit on a regular basis to conduct routine check-ups and to address residents’ medical concerns.