Senior woman talks with nurse in assisted living facility.

6 Things You Need to Know About Assisted Living

Here are a couple quick facts about assisted living: There are 28,900 assisted living communities in the U.S. today. Texas accounts for 1,300 of those communities.

One more fact: Many people don’t fully understand how assisted living is defined or how it serves residents, whether it’s a stand-alone community or one of the levels of care at a senior living community

But if you’re a caregiver who’s providing care for a spouse or family member — and the fact is, 1 in 5 Americans are providing unpaid care to a loved one — it can take a physical, financial and mental toll on you. You and the person you’re caring for may greatly benefit from senior care in an assisted living setting. 

To know for certain, start by educating yourself further. Get a clearer picture of this level of care with these six important assisted living facts.

1. Assisted Living Residents Receive the Care They Need While Living as Independently as Possible

The common misconception is moving into assisted living means giving up independence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Assisted living communities provide help with activities of daily living (ADLs), which include things like getting dressed, walking, bathing and eating. They also provide opportunities for assisted living residents to stay socially engaged, physically active,and meaningfully involved in activities and group outings.

2. Assisted Living is Not the Same Thing as a Nursing Home

Skilled nursing, also often referred to as a nursing home, is for residents who need round-the-clock care and monitoring. Assisted living residents get just the amount of help they need to continue living the life they want to live.

3. Assisted Living Communities are Regulated by the State

In general, assisted living facilities are regulated by each state. In Texas, that’s the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). Each state issues a license to a facility after an inspection, typically conducted annually or semiannually. This process is overseen by a state’s department of health, department of social services or, in some instances, a combination of these departments. And if the assisted living facility receives funds from Medicare or Medicaid, it must comply with federal regulations established in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act.

4. Part of the Costs of Living at an Assisted Living Community May Be Tax-Deductible

According to the IRS, any qualifying medical expenses that make up more than 7.5% of a person’s adjusted gross income can be deducted from taxes. Tax filers should talk with their tax professional about possible deductions and how to calculate the percentage of assisted living costs that qualify as medical costs.

5. The Monthly Cost of an Assisted Living Community May Be Less Than That of Hiring a Home Health Aide

There’s a misconception that choosing care at an assisted living facility is prohibitively expensive, and having someone come to your home is more affordable. But depending on where you live, that may be inaccurate.

According to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care survey, the national average cost of a professional in-home caregiver is $4,713  per  month. The monthly average cost of an assisted living community is $4,429. Genworth’s in-home monthly totals reflect a home health aide being in your home 44 hours a week. 

Using Genworth’s math of paying $24 an hour for an home health aide, if the aide was present in your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the cost would be $17,520 a month — well over $200,000 a year. At assisted living communities like The Buckingham, every resident is supported by an around-the-clock, highly trained team of professionals. 

And while a home health aide provides assistance with ADLs, prepares meals and assists with transportation, some seniors really want the companionship of their peers instead of an aide. Seniors may also want the all-inclusive lifestyle a senior living community offers.

6. Assisted Living at a Senior Living Community Like The Buckingham is an Important Part of a Continuum of Care

The Buckingham offers residents independent living, along with assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. The advantage of having all these levels of care available on one campus? Residents know they never have to make another move to receive a higher level of care. That’s a great assurance for them and for their families.

Learn what sets The Buckingham apart from Texas’ 1,299 other assisted living communities. Call us at 713-309-6934 to talk to a member of our team, or contact us to schedule your personal tour.