How much does assisted living cost? – Forbes Health


Assisted living facilities (AFL) are specialized community residences designed to provide a safe environment for people who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), including bathing or showering, dressing, lying down or getting up from a bed or a chair, walking, going to the toilet and eating. The people who reside in these establishments are generally called residents. According to the National Council on Assisted Living (NCAL), residents of assisted living facilities may have medical needs, but they generally do not need extended 24-hour nursing supervision. The NCAL suggests considering living assisted as a bridge between home life and life in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home.

Based on specific signs, placing a person in an assisted living facility might be the appropriate choice, according to Don Minter, a board-certified senior counselor and board-certified dementia practitioner in the Kansas City area. Below are indicators and signs that can help you decide if an assisted living facility is the right choice:

  • Increased number of falls or significant risk of falls
  • Wandering away from home and can’t go back
  • Wearing the same clothes on consecutive days
  • An unsafe, cluttered or messy home
  • Frequently forgetting to take medication
  • Difficulty with at least one ADL, such as bathing, preparing meals, or using the bathroom independently
  • A need for night monitoring that cannot be met by a caregiver at home
  • Repeat questions and make multiple phone calls with the same question
  • Not eating nutritious meals or drinking enough fluids
  • Dangerous behavior, such as leaving the stove on or exterior doors open

Additionally, a thorough cognitive assessment of each client helps ensure that assisted living is best for them, Minter says. “Many assisted living residents suffer from a form of dementia,” he says. “The biggest differentiator is if they have a ‘wandering risk’.” For someone who might leave the community and not find their way back, a community that specializes in memory care might be the best option. Memory care is also needed in the advanced stages of dementia, when people may need full assistance with taking medication, eating, bathing, dressing and moving from bed to chair, Minter adds.

To meet the different needs of an individual, assisted living facilities offer a range of services. Some are included in a resident’s monthly rental price while others are provided at an additional cost, depending on community policies. According to the NCAL, the services most often available to residents are:

  • Round-the-clock assistance when needed, with some communities even providing medical alert systems for this purpose
  • Up to three meals a day in a communal dining room
  • Medication assistance
  • Help with bathing, dressing and navigating the bathroom
  • Assistance with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other cognitive challenges
  • Recreational and spiritual activities
  • Laundry and laundry services
  • Housekeeping and maintenance services
  • Transport to medical appointments and grocery stores

In addition, facilities may coordinate care with external medical, dental and other providers chosen by the resident.

Assisted residents often retain a great deal of independence and autonomy. “Many [assisted living residents] are able to drive,” says Minter. “Many have pets which are allowed as long as they can care for them. Overnight guests are also allowed. He adds that for safety reasons communities require residents to sign out when leaving the premises.

One of the main benefits of assisted living is that it allows adult children and the resident’s spouse to be family again rather than caregivers, Minter says. “The family will be able to just focus on having a good time with the loved one instead of having to deal with their day-to-day care needs,” he says.


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