Caring for aging relatives can be a challenge. They want their independence but forget small tasks, or their declining physical capabilities are limiting the things they can do without help. It becomes increasingly clear to you that they cannot continue to live alone for much longer, but, for whatever reason, living with you is not a feasible possibility.
Perhaps you work and can't be home to care for them, or just have your hands full taking care of young children. Regardless of the reason, it’s never a bad time to start looking at a residential care facility for your aging parent or loved one.
Types of Residential Care Facilities
There are several different types of long-term residential care facilities, with many options for living arrangements, services and amenities. Here are some of the most common types of facilities:
A retirement community, also known as an independent living facility, is exactly what the name implies. This kind of residential care facility is for active, independent adults who maintain healthy lifestyles and relationships on their own.
Assisted living communities are the next step towards full care. Residents of assisted living are given independence in their choice of activities and lifestyles, but also receive physical help with tasks that have become difficult for them. These may include basic activities of daily living such as laundry, bathing, dressing or eating.
Memory care is specifically for those seniors who are physically capable, but have trouble remembering daily routines such as bathing, eating or taking medications due to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Most memory care facilities are also assisted living facilities.
Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, offer the most comprehensive long-term care option in terms of service level. Nursing homes are designed to provide intensive medical care to chronically ill or disabled patients.
Residential Care Facility Services
Regardless of which residential care facility you choose, there are some basic services that will be offered at each, including:
- Around-the-clock staffing
The degree to which the resident receives help with personal care depends on the type of facility and the resident’s individual condition. Reminders and assistance with taking medication may also be provided, depending on the needs of the resident.
Residential Care Facility Amenities
Don't overlook the amenities when you are searching for a residential care facility for your aging relative. Many facilities will have on site:
- Community events
- Barber shops
- Banking or postal services
- Tennis courts
When you visit, be sure to ask about what activities will be available to your loved one, especially in a retirement community.
Cost of a Residential Care Facility
Private health or long-term care insurance will sometimes cover part of the expense of a residential care facility, but it will seldom cover 100 percent of fees. Cost varies widely across facilities and parts of the country, but retirement communities, on average, cost between $1,500 and $3,500 per month, while assisted living homes will charge more for the additional care services.
Skilled nursing care will cost significantly more still, with an average cost of approximately $6,000 per month.* You should comparison shop when looking for a facility, as fees change based on location and the quality of the home.
*Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey 2011.
Written by senior housing writing staff.