There are many Assisted Living facilities which have comprehensive programs designed specifically for the elderly who cannot live on their own. These are not retirement residences with an adjunct care program but are facilities specially constructed for the purpose of caring for seniors. Sometimes these facilities are conversions of retirement residences or small apartments into care centers. They generally are laid out apartment style with special amenities such as walk in showers, wide doors for wheelchair access, emergency call pull cords, etc.
Facility size can vary from less than 20 beds to over 200 beds. Larger is not always better. It is important to visit as many in your area as you can to get a feel for what is available before you make a choice.
By calling our Help line at (800) 777-7575 or by filling out our care needs assessment form, you can get a personalized list of qualified facilities in your area that have been inspected by our staff to start your search.
Typically, assistance takes the form of help with bathing and dressing, supervision of medications, assistance with toileting, management of incontinency care (both bladder and bowel incontinency) and special dietary requirements.
Intermittent skilled nursing services (which these facilities are not allowed to offer or administer) such as diabetic insulin injections or colostomy care can in many cases be handled by outside licensed home health agencies which come in daily or weekly as needed. This multi-tiered approach to care giving has been very effective at helping seniors maintain their dignity and independence.
Costs of Assisted Living
A significant percentage of the elderly who need help have their needs successfully met with these programs thus preventing institutionalization in more costly and confining nursing homes. The average nursing home costs about $5000 a month ($170 a day) in a two bed ward. The average cost for a dedicated assisted living facility is about $3300 a month ($106 a day) for a studio with its own bath and minimum care.†* Overall, there is no question that the assisted living concept is an excellent option to nursing homes in terms of quality of life, accommodations and cost. Since this is a rapidly evolving part of the care system the best advice is to check out as many places as you can before before making a decision. By calling California Registry at (800) 777-7575 or by filling out our care needs assessment form, you can save a lot of time and trouble as we will give you all the information you need regarding care programs, what they cost, what they can do and a list of referrals to those facilities which have them.
History and Definition
The term "Assisted Living" became popular in the late 1980's and was used by the retirement industry to describe programs of personal care that are now available in most retirement residences, life care communities and larger residential care facilities throughout California. The need for personal care up until the mid 1980's had been handled mostly by small board and care homes or by nursing homes. Most retirement residences had little or no programs for residents who needed personal care. But due to difficulties in attracting new residents and meeting the growing care needs of residents who were aging in place, most retirement residences instituted personal care programs for their residents who required it.
There is nothing new in this concept (Assisted Living). This type of licensed care has been around since the early 1970's. It simply refers to programs licensed by Community Care Licensing that enable retirement facilities to provide residents of these facilities personal care services that allow them to remain independent in their apartments. This type of licensed care has always been found in "Board and Care" homes (Residential Care Homes).
† Rates as of 2009.
* In Greater Los Angeles and $4200 per month in the North Bay Area.