Assisted living communities are a bridge between living at home and living in a nursing home. Assisted living communities serve those who generally need help with everyday activities and some health care services, but do not require 24/7 skilled nursing care. National Assisted Living Week runs through Saturday, September 18, and provides a good opportunity to discuss how to find and pay for assisted living.

National Assisted Living Week was created by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) in 1995 to recognize the role of assisted living in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Assisted living offers a mix of companionship, independence, privacy and security in a home-like setting with 24 hour supervision. Services can be provided in a variety of settings:

  • Freestanding communities
  • Near or integrated with skilled nursing homes or hospitals
  • As components of continuing care retirement communities
  • Independent housing complexes.

How to find an assisted living community

The first thing to do when you are considering moving into an assisted living community is to make a list of the services you or a loved one may need. Do you want a private bathroom? Is a kitchenette a must-have for you? Do you want to be part of a community that also has skilled care in case you need to “level-up” and move to the nursing home portion of the community? The National Center for Assisted Living has a checklist of items to consider.

Once you make a list of the care you need and personal preferences, you can obtain a list of communities in your area. The Indiana Department of Health has a list of residential care facilities that it updates by county. Your doctor, financial planner and friends may also have recommendations.

After you narrow down the list by specific services, location and price range; it’s time to visit the top two or three options. Tour the communities and talk with the administrators and other residents. Try to visit more than once and at different times of day, including meal times. Arrange to have lunch with residents to get a feel for what life would be like there. This will be your new home and you want to be comfortable and happy!

How to pay for assisted living

Assisted living community costs can vary based on the size of rooms, amenities, services and location. You should be able to obtain information about the base rates, specific fees for additional services, occupancy levels, staffing and ownership for each community you are considering.  

Here is information on how to pay for assisted living.

  • Medicare does not cover assisted living, but certain health care services may be available under some limited circumstances.
  • Supplemental Security Income may cover some costs.
  • Communities may participate in grant programs, the Medicaid program or offer internal assistance programs. Community managers can provide you with more information on available assistance programs.
  • Veterans and their spouses may be eligible for benefits to help pay for some of their care in an assisted living community.
  • Some private health and long-term care insurance policies include assisted living/residential care coverage. 

The majority of assisted living costs are paid through personal finances, though. It’s important to get a clear picture of what those costs will be up front and how you will pay for them.

It’s also a good idea to contact your attorney and financial planner when considering moving into assisted living so that you don’t jeopardize your chances of qualifying for Medicaid if you need it in the future.

If you are considering assisted living, please contact your Applegate & Dillman attorney as soon as possible. We can help you make the transition and think through any issues that might arise from your move into assisted living.