What Does Assisted Living Provide?
Assisted living is a community-based living option for adults that need some help with daily tasks, but don’t need consistent medical care.
In most cases, assisted living provides help with the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, bathing and eating, as well as help with the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), including medication management and meal preparation.
Regulation of what each community provides happens at the state level, so you’ll see slightly different residence requirements and service capacities. In general, though, when you look at what different assisted living communities provide, you’ll find a lot of similarities. Major differences are typically in staffing, wellness philosophies and the type of lifestyle the community promotes. Here’s what most assisted living includes.
Help with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
It’s common for adults to need some help with daily tasks. In fact, more than 21 percent of people aged 85 and above need help with ADLs. Almost nine percent of 75- to 84-year-olds need the same kind of assistance. In assisted living, people can rely on having this kind of support. In the typical assisted living residence:
- 64 percent of people get help with bathing
- 57 percent get help with walking and mobility
- 48 percent receive help dressing
- 40 percent receive support in toileting
Those percentages will rise when you consider the instrumental activities of daily living. The instrumental activities of daily living include common needs such as:
- Preparing meals
- Doing laundry and other housekeeping chores
Even when adults can handle IADLs on their own, they often enjoy receiving assistance. For instance, many adults dislike driving on highways, during storms or at night. Assisted living can alleviate that stress through onsite transportation services.
Since assistance with both ADLs and IADLs is included in most assisted living communities, adults get access to the help they need along with the help they want to enhance their lives.
Assisted living communities are not licensed to provide medical services, so healthcare is not included. However, they often provide some supplementary assistance, most notably medication management that helps adults manage and take their medications appropriately. That may mean providing reminders for residents to take medication, watching them take the medication and/or measuring out doses.
Some assisted living communities may do more to coordinate health care and support, either with in-house or contracted providers. According to the National Center for Assisted Living:
- 6 percent of communities provide some kind of pharmacy services
- 8 percent provide dietary and nutritional support
- 4 percent provide physical, occupational or speech therapy
- 55 percent provide mental health or counseling services
Who’s on staff?
Many assisted living communities have resident care staff on-site. Direct care is typically provided by certified nurse assistants (CNAs) or medication technicians. Larger facilities may have full-time registered nurses who supervise care staff and monitor residents’ well-being. Smaller facilities may have part-time or drop-in nurses.
Because nurses are licensed to provide care under doctors’ supervision, they can monitor and assist with residents’ prescriptions and care plans. Most of the time, however, their direct authority typically focuses on following pre-existing plans or recommending doctor’s visits.
Housing and Dining
Accommodations vary significantly within assisted living, but nearly every community includes some type of housing and dining plan. The most common housing options are shared rooms and private apartments, which include a bathroom. Kitchens or kitchenettes are offered in some locations, but are not standard. Within that framework, you might see:
- Private studio or one-bedroom apartments
- Shared one-bedroom apartments
- Dormitory-style shared bedrooms
Rooms and apartments may be furnished or unfurnished. Residents also have access to common spaces, which almost always include a dining room with a full meal service.
Senior living communities price their dining options in different ways. Many have daily, weekly or monthly meal plan packages that let you eat a certain amount of times in the dining room for a fixed amount. There may also be à la carte options that let you pay per meal or per food item above your meal plan’s maximum. Most of the time, communities will also offer to deliver meals to residents’ rooms if they’d prefer to eat privately.
Services, Amenities and Activities
Providing opportunities for physical activity and entertainment is part of how assisted living communities help residents improve their lives. Many communities have full-time activities directors who are responsible for coordinating recreation, fitness and entertainment programs. Commonly scheduled activities include:
- Bingo and game nights
- Cooking and baking
- Music and art
- Holiday celebrations
- Movie nights
The number and type of activities included in the package will depend on a community’s resources and the interests of its residents. There should be as much variety as possible so that people have plenty of choices and can pursue personal interests, whether those are long-time hobbies or new pursuits.
Assisted living often provides other amenities and services as well, including:
- Concierge services
- 24-hour health monitoring
- On-site salon or spa
Cost of Assisted Living
The cost of assisted living typically includes everything mentioned above, from housing and helps with ADLs to recreational activities. Pricing, of course, varies significantly by location and community. Senior Housing News recently published a national median cost of $48,612 per year or $4,051 per month. Cost increases are abating significantly, however, so it’s a great time to consider assisted living for yourself or a relative.
Finding Assisted Living Options in Texas
Texas is a great state for retirees. The monthly cost of assisted living is nearly $500 below the national per-month average, and the weather is warm, with winter temperatures in the high 50s.
At The Villages of Windcrest in Fredericksburg, TX, we’re proud to offer high-quality assisted living in a beautiful setting. Our community, dining programs and activities are all designed to help people live their best lives – physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually.
We have engaging activities, delicious food and a life-affirming community ready to welcome you. Contact us to see what we’re all about, or peruse our downloadable brochure. Find out how we turn assisted living into empowered living in Texas.