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Assisted living facilities become both more common and more significant as the senior population continues to increase across the country. These facilities offer every level of care from independent living all the way through hospice. Many families find the prospect of choosing a senior care facility more than a little daunting. It is critical to make a wise choice on an affordable, high quality assisted care home where your loved ones will be healthy and happy.

Definition of Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities are an excellent option for families whose loved ones need help with the activities associated with everyday living. These activities of daily living or ADLs can range from just a little helping hand all the way through comprehensive watch care including aid from medical staff. The typical services offered in these living facilities include meals, laundry services, and housekeeping. Depending on the needs of the resident, they can also encompass help with bathing and dressing, ambulating, and all types of medical care as needed. Different facilities have different setups, of course, with some designating certain wings from specific levels of care.

In most cases, these homes put together a custom care plan specially tailored to the needs of the individual resident. If all someone needs is some help with their laundry and maybe a little reminder to take their medications every day, that's all they'll get, leaving them a great deal of freedom to enjoy their daily life and interact with other residents. On the other hand, a critical patient with a terminal diagnosis will receive around the clock care to ensure maximum comfort and to minimize suffering. These different levels of service and care will obviously weigh in on the price of staying at assisted living facilities. Prices in some cases are all inclusive, but extra services might also be added on individually to a base cost of residency. It is up to families to research pricing and care options and to choose long term care based on the factors that matter most to them.

The federal government does little to regulate this portion of the private healthcare industry. Individual states set standards for senior housing as they see fit, and regulation for assisted senior facilities is largely the responsibility of the states. In different areas of the country various terms are used to describe these facilities, from personal care homes to adult congregate care. But though these homes fall under many different titles, all are essentially the same and can be called assisted living facilities. Most of these locations have age requirements for residents and are designed to be senior homes.

Benefits of Personal Care Homes

Many families struggle with the choice to move their loved ones to assisted living facilities. Yet these homes create an environment conducive to prolonged health and independence for those who live there. Sometimes seniors do make the choice on their own to move, but most of the time it is the children of the residents who have to decide. They must choose first to make the move, and then go through the process of choosing the right assisted senior facility. Fortunately, as time goes by even the most active seniors are finding it easier to make this transition thanks to all the great benefits they can enjoy as residents in assisted living facilities.

Social activities abound in most of these homes. They are places where similarly aged men and women can meet and form friendships. Today's assisted living facilities offer great social activities right inside their doors from movie theaters to bowling to beauty salons and barber shops. Many residents have a wonderful time living in these places because there is so much to do and so many new people to meet.

And with all these fun things to do, it is great that residents normally have much less in the way of household duties to worry about. There's no cooking, no cleaning, and no laundry to keep up with, all of which means there's more time left over for the fun activities that are always going on.

And of course, one of the biggest advantages to staying in an assisted living facility is the presence of in house medical staff. They are not just there for emergencies, either. To stay active and healthy, seniors have to make sure they get regular checkups, especially when there are existing conditions to keep an eye on. Living in assisted facilities makes keeping up with these things that much easier. There's no need to arrange for transportation and no danger of missing an appointment. The medical care alone is reason enough for families to consider this wonderful care option.

Find the Right Senior Housing

Families weighing different assisted living facilities need to think carefully and consider all of their different options before choosing one. These choices can be greatly assisted by knowing all of the facts. Informed consumers will know the right questions to ask and the important points to ponder in order to make good choices on assisted living facilities for their loves ones.

Of course, it is important when you tour any assisted living facilities to look for staffers meaningfully interacting with residents. The presence of sufficient staff is also important. Families researching care facilities should ask for licensing and certifications from each facility they're considering. Some states require these care facilities to keep on file the various reports of state regulators for anyone to look at on request. These reports may include details on deficiencies or mistakes such as medication errors and other issues. Most assisted living facilities do get cited for minor problems from time to time, and this should not necessarily be a reason to discount an assisted care home from consideration. But a pattern of mistakes and citations is certainly an issue.

Families will also want to spend time looking at the contracts offered by assisted care facilities. Services like laundry, hair care, and medication dispensing is included at some places but costs extra at others. Interested parties should take the time to read over the contracts and find out ahead of time what they are getting. Meal menus and activities schedules shed additional light on the atmosphere residents will take part in. Families can take in lunch and check out the delicacies the different assisted living facilities have to offer.

Part of what appeals so much to people about assisted living facilities is the ways they simplify life for residents and for their family members. With this in mind, most people will want to locate a place that's situated close to home. Close proximity means increased opportunities for visitors, bringing companionship and a greater ability for family members to monitor things and make sure the residents are being treated well.

As residents get older and health becomes more of an issue, it is important to get them in a place where adjustments can be made to their care. Assisted living facilities with multiple care levels under one roof are ideally suited for seniors in the autumn years of their lives. Assisted living facilities that are also licensed as nursing homes are the best choice of all for seniors requiring comprehensive medical attention.