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FAQs: Common Questions about Assisted Living

What is an assisted living facility?
There is not a federal definition of an “assisted living facility”.  Facilities differ in the extent to which they admit residents with certain needs.  However most provide housing, meals, limited housekeeping, laundry, supervision, and assistance with some ADLs and administration of medications. Most residents are between the ages of 75 and 85 and more than two thirds are females. About a quarter of assisted living residents need help with three or more ADLs.  Eighty-six percent of residents require or accept help with medication.

Courtesy: Flickr's jamuraa

Courtesy: Flickr's jamuraa

Do assisted living centers serve people who need help getting into bed?
Some of them will, but many of them won’t. According to a 2000 less than half of
assisted living facilities are willing to admit or retain persons who require assistance to transfer from bed to chair or wheelchair.
*Catherine Hawes et al., A National Study of Assisted Living for the Frail Elderly  (November 2000)

Do assisted living centers serve people with severe dementia or other cognitive problems?
Many will not.  A 200 survey by the department of health and human service found that less than half of the facilities would admit or retain residents with moderate to severe cognitive problems.

Will Medicaid cover the costs of assisted living?
It depends.  Over two-thirds of residents pay out of pocket, but some states use Medicaid or state and federal funds to assist seniors with the costs of care.  As of October 2002, 41 states used Medicaid reimbursement to cover assisted living or related services for more than 102,000 people.

Will Medicare cover the costs of assisted living?
No.  It will not.

What is an ADL?
ADL stands for activities of daily living.  Assisted living facilities typically provide assistance with ADL’s such as medication management, bathing, dressing, toileting, ambulation and more.

How much does it cost for assisted living care?
On average 33,900 dollars per year.  Learn more about the costs of care in this article.

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