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Assisted Living Care vs. Long-Term Care: Similarities and Differences

woman being taken care of by an assisted living employee

Assisted Living vs. Long-Term Care: Similarities and Differences

When a loved one can no longer safely live independently, it may be time to move them to a new environment where they can receive the care and support that they need. While most families realize that there’s a difference between assisted living and long-term care, many aren’t certain of the details.

Assisted Living Communities

In assisted living communities, residents live somewhat independently while receiving assistance with day-to-day needs such as meals, laundry, medication management, bathing, dressing, and transportation. On average, assisted living communities host 50 residents, although this can range from as few as 5 to as many as 300. Most live in private or shared apartments with their own baths and kitchenettes. There are often extensive common living spaces and outside grounds to enjoy, and many assisted living communities offer social and entertainment programs to help residents enjoy their golden years.

Many families are surprised to learn that Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions do not disqualify residents from assisted living communities, many of which offer specialized Memory Care units designed to prevent residents from wandering.

Long-Term Care

For individuals who require more extensive medical or personal care, a skilled nursing facility (also called a nursing home) might be a more appropriate long-term care option. In addition to meals, laundry, medication management, bathing, and dressing, nursing homes typically provide 24-hour supervised medical care from licensed physicians or nurses. Many facilities also offer physical and occupational therapists; and additional services like these may prevent residents from having to make frequent visits to the hospital or doctor’s office.

Social and entertainment programs are typically more limited in nursing homes, which accommodate an average of 100 residents in private or shared rooms without kitchens.

Comparing the Costs

The costs of nursing home and assisted living community depend on the size of the rooms or apartments, whether they are private or shared, and where the communities are located. According to a 2014 study, the average cost for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment was $3,500 per month, but this can vary greatly depending on the scope of services offered. The national median cost of a shared room in a nursing home facility in the U.S. was $6,000 a month.

Medicare does not cover long-term residential care. In all states, Medicaid pays for long-term nursing home care in Medicaid-certified facilities, and some states also allow Medicaid to pay for assisted living. Eligibility for Medicaid varies from state to state, but individuals must typically demonstrate medical and/or financial need.

Financial Help for Long-Term Care Options

Some individuals may also qualify for support from veterans’ or state-run programs, but many families must cover the costs of assisted living or other long-term care out of pocket. Since 2007, Fifth Season Financial has helped families like these pay for long-term residential care through its Funds for Living Program. The Funds For Living program allows individuals to receive an advance on their life insurance policy, while still maintaining funds for beneficiaries to receive in the future. To find out more information, fill out a form or call us today toll-free at (866)459-1271.

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Fifth Season Financial, L.P. (“Fifth Season”) is a licensed consumer lender in certain states. Loans being made or arranged by Fifth Season to California residents are made or arranged pursuant to a California Financing Law license, California lender license #603 E043. Loans being made or arranged by Fifth Season to Texas residents are made or arranged pursuant to a Texas Regulated Lender License, Texas lender license #14000508545-151373. This site is directed at, and made available to, persons in the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii only. The Funds for Living Program is not available to residents of all states. Fifth Season’s principal place of business is 201 Broad Street, Suite 500, Stamford, CT 06901, Phone 855.45.FUNDS.

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