What exactly is “Independent Living”? What is the difference between that and “Assisted Living”? What sounds like a simple question to those of us who work in the industry, may seem like a mass of confusion to those of you that are exploring these options for yourself or a loved one.
While there is plenty of support in most Independent Retirement Communities such as housekeep-ing, meals, transportation, and maintenance assistance, the minute the need increases to the point where “hands on” care is needed such as physical assistance with showers, dressing, grooming, or transferring, then Assisted Living would likely be needed.
Each Community provides a different “package” of services, even if their licenses are the same. Some offer Levels of Care where certain services are included within each level and that level comes with an additional fee above and beyond room and board (base fee). Other communities offer services associated with time involved, such as 1-5 hours a week is this much, 6-10 hours a week is that much and so on. With each increase in increment of time, additional fees are added above base fee.
Ask for any additional costs such as transportation fees, utilities, laundry service or other services that may not be included in base fee. Do they have a physician that makes rounds in the building? Do they offer other mobile services such as eye doctor, podiatry, home care services, and more.
As you search for the right fit, comparing apples to apples can be a challenge. Just remember to keep it simple. Start with the basics then compare and contrast. Most importantly trust your instincts. How does each community “feel”? Talk to residents as you pass in the halls and ask how they like living there.
Remember, this information is more important than the bricks and mortar. A beautiful building does not always make a good home! Also remember, if you’re touring on behalf of a loved one, keep in mind their likes and dislikes, not what you would like if it were you moving in.