Over the past two decades there has been an explosion of supportive housing alternatives, and the options are no longer limited to a choice between staying at home or moving to a nursing home.
The two main alternatives to nursing homes are assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).
Assisted living facilities
Assisted living facilities are designed to be a middle ground between staying at home and going to a nursing home. Housing is often in small apartments, and a premium is placed on privacy, individualized care and independent living. Even with the emphasis on independence, most facilities provide 24-hour care to help residents with the activities of daily living. Around-the-clock medical assistance may also be available.
Most states are in the process of adding or increasing the regulation and oversight of this growing industry. Find more information on your state’s policies on the CCAL – Advancing Person-Centered Living website, ccal.org.
What will it cost?
According to the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of residency at an assisted living facility in the United States is $4,500 per month.2
If you are investigating assisted living facilities, be sure to obtain a thorough explanation of each facility’s cost structure. It is not unusual for a facility to have an affordable fee for room and board, but that fee may cover only a few hours per week of actual assistance. If your family member needs additional assistance, there are likely to be additional charges. Be sure to ask how the assistance is delivered — by facility staff or contracted help — and find out how much it will cost. Some costs may be reimbursed by a long-term care insurance policy.