The cost of skilled nursing care is slowly rising. Currently, the average cost of care in Arizona ranges from $3,500 to $4,500 per month. Skilled nursing facilities are great for seniors who require skilled nursing care by medical professionals such as registered nurses or physicians. However, is skilled nursing care appropriate for those who only require assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom? Is it realistic for someone to pay $3,000 to $6,000 a month for skilled nursing care when their only requirement is assistance with their ADLs? Believe it or not, there are many seniors who do not require skilled nursing care and remain in nursing homes due to their lack of knowledge of the options available to them. There are affordable alternatives to nursing home care. When a senior requires long term care without 24 hour medical supervision, the preferred alternative is Assisted Living Homes.
You may ask, "What is an Assisted Living Home?" In Arizona, an Assisted Living Home is a regular home located within a residential neighborhood and licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide assistance 24 hours a day to those who need care outside of their own home. Assisted Living Homes are licensed for up to 10 residents. There are three levels of care an Assisted Living Home can be licensed for: Supervisory, Personal and Directed. Every Assisted Living Home is licensed for one or more of these levels of care. In sum, Assisted Living Homes are homes licensed to provide care for seniors who are no longer able to live alone, and do not require skilled nursing care.
What are the benefits of an Assisted Living Home? An Assisted Living Home gives residents a feeling of being at home instead of an institutionalized setting. Each caregiver and manager is required to become certified, and often times the caregiver or manager lives in the home full time. Each home provides 24 hours of care, 7 days a week. Many homes offer hospice care, respite care, Alzheimer's/Memory Care, incontinence care, and therapeutic services under the direction of a physician. In addition, three nutritious meals are prepared for the residents along with snacks throughout the day, as well as daily activities as required by law. Both private and semi-private rooms are available for residents to choose from. As a result, there are many benefits available when residing in an Assisted Living Home.
Why is an Assisted Living Home unique? An Assisted Living Home provides care in a home setting, and because there is a limit of up to 10 residents in each home, the ratio of caregiver to residents is such that the care provided is very individualized as opposed to larger facilities. Monthly costs for Assisted Living Homes range from $1,500 to $3,000, allowing for an affordable option compared to the cost of nursing home care. Private pay may be the only option currently offered by the majority of Assisted Living Homes. However, the facilities that do accept different payment sources such as ALTCS (Arizona's Medicaid Program referred to as Arizona Long Term Care System), usually require a resident to private pay for a certain period of time before they allow government benefits to begin. Bottom line: Assisted Living Homes are less expensive and provide more individualized care in a home-like setting.
Finally, when living at home is not an option and skilled nursing care is either out of one's budget or not the right option based upon one's level of care, Assisted Living Homes are the affordable alternative senior housing choice.
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Torey Farnsworth has over 12 years of experience working with seniors. Ms. Farnsworth's vast expertise encompasses a wide variety of senior issues ranging from adult care to elder law. Most recently, Torey served as Elder Law Director and Paralegal for a Phoenix based law firm where she provided assistance in a variety of areas including long term care planning, estate planning, ALTCS eligibility and Medicaid planning. Ms. Farnsworth is also a certified caregiver with the State of Arizona as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. Ms. Farnsworth has spent her career in senior care as her family owns and operates assisted living homes.
Ms. Farnsworth owns and operates a senior care placement business in Arizona called Horizon Senior Care Referral. Her placement services are free to seniors and their families. For information on placement services in Arizona, visit http://adultcarecentral.com/