Today approximately 1 million Americans live in assisted living communities. According to the United States Census Bureau there are over 30,000 assisted living facilities in the US today. We spoke with some of our staff members at Elysian Gardens to find out more about assisted living. These friendly caregivers, administrators and staff members gave us some great information for this article.

Assisted living offers a different approach to provide many of the same services provided by skilled nursing facilities.
Each Community is Unique

The tens and thousands of assisted living communities across the US come in all shapes and sizes. The design, look and feel of every assisted living community is different from location to location. When you are searching for a community for you or your loved one, it’s important to understand this.

Some communities are more formal, polished look, while others may seem more laid back and comfortable. Most communities have over 20 people living there, but some may contain hundreds of residents. It’s the people that make up the community and that’s why it’s important for us to place residents that fit in well with the atmosphere and people.
Yes, You Can Have a Pet

There are many benefits to owning a pet. Senior living communities all have different policies for pets based on size, weight and species. Sometimes there may be a trial period to see whether the pet is a good fit for the community. Other times there may be specific weight limits. Birds and fish are also welcome in many senior living communities. Some even provide people to provide special care for pets. Be sure to contact the community director for more information on pet policies.
Assisted Living Costs Are More Affordable Than You Think

Assisted living may be much less expensive than you think. In fact, in home skilled nursing care may be a much higher cost, and offer much less benefits. While the majority of assisted living residents cover expenses through their own resources, there are many home financial incentives and fee waivers available for people in assisted living communities.

Today, more people are purchasing long term insurance plans to cover the costs of assisted living. Military veterans and their spouses may be able to receive VA benefits to help pay for care and living. For those who are not eligible for VA benefits, Medicaid may pay for the cost of care.
Assisted Living vs Nursing Homes

Many times there is a confusion between nursing homes and assisted living. Families may not realize that assisted living is an option. Instead they think that a nursing home is the only option for their elderly loved one when assisted living is a more appropriate fit. This is understandable because many of the services provided by the two places overlap.

There aren’t any standardized definitions for assisted living facilities across US federal borders. Instead assisted living facilities are regulated from state to state. Because of this different facilities offer varying levels of care. The setting and type of care will depend on the specific communities licensing.

Following are more differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

· One of the main differences is the condition of the residents. Assisted living communities are generally filled with more active, independent residents.

· Residents in assisted living are mainly independent, but may need help with daily living such as reminders for medication. Nursing home residents typically need a higher level of assistance with every facet of daily living.

· Assisted living offers more privacy. Residents live in apartments as opposed to shared rooms.