Hallmark Assisted Living

Lic. #155801264

(661) 834-0200
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Understanding Assisted Living

What is an assisted living residence?
An assisted living residence is a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services and health care designed to meet the needs, both scheduled and unscheduled, of those who need help with activities of daily living.

Who lives in assisted living residences?
Currently, more than a million Americans live in an estimated 20,000 assisted living residences. Assisted living residents can be young or old, affluent or low income, frail or disabled. A typical resident is a woman in her eighties and is either widowed or single. Residents may suffer from Alzheimer's disease or other memory disorders. Residents may also need help with incontinence or mobility.

What does an assisted living residence look like?
Assisted living residences can range from a high-rise apartment complex to a converted Victorian home to a renovated school. Residences may be free standing or housed with other residential options, such as independent living or nursing care. They may be operated by non-profit or for-profit companies. Most facilities have between 6 and 120 units. There is no single blueprint, because consumers' preferences and needs vary widely. Units may vary in size from one room to a full apartment.

How is assisted living regulated?
Licensing and other assisted living regulations vary from state to state contributing to the wide range of senior housing models considered assisted living. In California licensing and regulatory requirements are overseen by Community Care Licensing. Most providers and their staff have special training as a result of either state requirements or company policy. Some states require special staff certification and training. Residences must comply with local building codes and fire safety regulations.

What types of services are offered in assisted living residences?
Services provided in assisted living residences usually include:

  • Three meals a day served in a common dining area
  • Housekeeping services
  • Transportation
  • Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and walking
  • Access to health and medical services
  • 24-hour security and staff availability
  • Emergency call systems for each resident's unit
  • Health promotion and exercise programs
  • Medication management
  • Personal laundry services
  • Social and recreational activities

What about costs?
Costs vary with the residence, room size, and the types of services needed by the residents. Across the nation, the median monthly rate per resident is $2,350 (source: 2006 Overview of Assisted Living), generally less than the cost of home health services and nursing home care. A basic assisted living fee may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services. Most assisted living residences charge month-to-month rates, but a few residences require long-term arrangements.

Who pays the bill for an assisted living residence?
Residents or their families generally pay the cost of care from their own financial resources. Depending on the nature of an individual's health insurance program or long-term care insurance policy, costs may be reimbursed. In addition, some residences have their own financial assistance programs. Government payments for assisted living residences have been limited. Some state and local governments offer subsidies for rent or services for low income elders. Others may provide subsidies in the form of an additional payment for those who receive Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. Some states also utilize Medicaid waiver programs to help pay for assisted living services.