Assisted Living Overview

What You Need to Know About Assisted Living

What They Are

Assisted living is a general term used to describe residential facilities that provide care for individuals who cannot live independently, but do not require twenty-four hour skilled nursing care. With so many choices, however, many adult children face dilemmas when it comes time to find assisted living facilities for Mom or Dad.

These facilities typically serve individuals age sixty and older, although younger persons with similar needs may be served as well. The typical assisted living cost varies and often depends on the type of coverage and/or insurance benefits you or your loved one has, if the facility accepts it at all. Some facilities also offer Alzheimer’s and/or dementia care. Here is some more specific information about Alzheimer’s care facilities.

There are two types of assisted living facilities:

Large-scale facilities may have both shared and private rooms, as well as private apartments.

Board and care homes are smaller-scale facilities, housed in a private residential home setting. They typically do not offer Alzheimer’s or dementia care. Should you find an assisted living facility such as this, ensure that it has proper care and supervision guidelines in place due to the smaller scale.

What to Expect

Assisted living facilities provide room and board, some housekeeping, social activities, supervision and assistance with basic activities like personal hygiene, dressing, eating and walking. Facility staff either provides or arranges transportation for residents. Most facilities offer three meals per day, as well as snacks in between meals.

These facilities are considered non-medical facilities and are not required to have nurses, certified nursing assistants or doctors on staff, although many facilities do have medical staff either onsite or on call. Medications can be stored and distributed for residents to self-administer. When you find an assisted living facility that you think will be a good fit, make sure to ask questions regarding medical staff if it is required on an irregular basis.

Pay the Assisted Living Cost

Medicare, Medigap and Managed Care do not cover care in assisted living facilities. In some states, Medicaid will pay for all of the assisted living cost amounts; however, very few facilities accept Medicaid as reimbursement. Long-term care insurance policies (LTCI) and Veterans Benefits sometimes can cover the assisted living cost. Most assisted living is private pay. When researching your options to find an assisted living facility, ask beforehand about the payment options.

Read a detailed description of all types of reimbursements.


What It Covers in Terms of the Assisted Living Cost

Facility Only and Comprehensive policies pay benefits in an assisted living facility, but the amount of coverage depends on the individual policy. For information on how to determine what kind of LTCI policy suits your needs, visit our Long Term Care Insurance Expert Column.

Veterans Benefits

What It Covers in Terms of the Assisted Living Cost

Veterans Benefits refers to care in an assisted living facility as Community Residential Care. The program provides health care supervision to eligible veterans who are unable to live independently and do not have anyone to provide the required supervision and care. The veteran must be able to function with minimal assistance.

Conditions and Limitations

  • Veteran must meet eligibility criteria for VA benefits, and
  • Demonstrate need for this type of care

Find an Assisted Living Facility

Gilbert Guide provides nationwide facility listings along with information on how to assess and find assisted living facilities that will best fit your needs both now and in the future.

Transitioning into an assisted living facility from one’s home is difficult for many. The following are a few ideas for ways to help your loved one settle into his or her new home:

about 3 years ago, said...

my mother is not a veteran but my father is. Can his benefits extend to her for an assisted facility? Or if not would they if he was deceased? What if they were divorced but married for 35 years? We live in Huntsville Alabama and I have tried to care for my mother but I just don't think I am capable of caring for her.

almost 5 years ago, said...

More information about how to pay for them. I realize Medicaid won't pay for assisted living, but what happens when we've been private paying and the money runs out. Mom is still (physically) in fair shape, but mentally in early severe stage. We can't take care of her at home and we can't afford a memory care facility.

over 5 years ago, said...

I think a good article would be on what to do if you residence don't have enough money to get assisted living or go into a program... 800 dollars a month or just social security isn't going to cut it these days. When most starting facilities are around 1600 and thats low end. If you want better care in a nicer place its up around 4,200 a month. Where is that going to come from I'd like to know! Here is another good article on assisted living facilities I've been poking around looking for them if any one is interested.