Overview of Assisted Living
Assisted Living, sometimes called Personal Care, is a type of care that supports individuals with their basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and, in some cases, medication assistance or reminders. Residents of Assisted Living communities, whether stand-alone or part of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), benefit from the community’s planned social, educational and recreational programs, as well as the daily opportunities for socialization with peers. Three daily meals are generally provided.
Assisted Living housing tends to be more intimate, offering an enhanced home-like atmosphere. Apartments are generally studio or one-bedroom, with kitchenettes. Safety features such as call systems and handrails are standard.
Paying for Assisted Living
Assisted Living can be paid for from private funds or with a mixture of private funds and long-term care insurance. Supplemental private insurance will not pay for Assisted Living.
Overview of Nursing Care
Often called skilled nursing and rehab centers or nursing homes, Nursing Care communities offer both long-term skilled nursing care and short-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. While supporting individuals with their basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, preparing meals, these communities also provide complex medical care in which the services of licensed nurses and therapists (physical, occupational, nutritional and speech) are utilized. These services are often utilized by individuals requiring short-term medical support after an injury, surgery or illness-related hospital stay. Nursing Care communities generally have 24-hour licensed care staffing.
Nursing Care housing is generally a private suite or shared accommodations. Well-designed communities enhance recovery and healing with planned social, educational and recuperative programs, as well as with an emphasis on home-like comforts.
Paying for Nursing Care
Reimbursement for Nursing Care community patients and residents depends largely on length of stay. Different funding sources kick in at different intervals. Short-term rehabilitation stays are often covered by Medicare and/or private insurance, including long-term care insurance. (Certain criteria in terms of length of hospital stay and care requirements while in the Nursing Care community have to be met to receive Medicare payments and it is worthwhile to discuss these with a discharge coordinator at the hospital.) For long-term care residents, private funds, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance are the typical methods of payment.
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Denise Barnes is the Electronic Communication Specialist at Watermark Retirement Communities in Tucson, AZ.
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