What is Assisted Living?

UALA Helps Separate Fact from Fiction to Help Families Discover the Best Senior Living Option for Their Loved Ones

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With so many senior living options to choose from, it can often be a stressful and confusing process to identify the best community for an aging loved one. Utah Assisted Living Association is here to help answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

Fact- Assisted Living is Not a Nursing Home 

Assisted living is a great option for seniors who are looking to continue living independent lifestyles but need assistance with one or more activities of daily living such as meal preparation, medication management, or assistance with bathing or dressing. These home-like communities provide peace of mind for many aging seniors and their families because they are filled with dedicated caregivers who treat residents like family and provide additional recreational activities and services such as fitness classes, salons, field trips, continuing education classes and more. Each facility is also equipped to assist residents with as little or as much care as needed- up to full end-of-life care.  

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, provide the highest level of care possible outside of a hospital. Residents in nursing facilities typically need assistance with tasks that go beyond activities of daily living and/or require full time medical and nursing care. These facilities are best for seniors who are too frail to perform most daily activities alone.

Fiction- Assisted Living Communities are Boring

This couldn’t be further from the truth! An important part of assisted living is the community lifestyle. The emotional and mental wellbeing of residents is of equal importance to physical health. In assisted living centers, residents share daily homemade meals together, celebrate birthdays and holidays with one another, socialize and play games, go on trips and excursions outside of the community, watch movies, exercise, other fun activities. Many upgraded assisted living communities also resemble resort living and have full-service hair and nail salons, outdoor park areas, and even arcade rooms.

Typically, residents who live in assisted living communities have private apartment homes, can bring their own belongings, and may decorate their room as they like to personalize the space.  Visitors are also welcome and these care facilities truly strive to create a family-friendly environment so that it’s easy for residents to host family and guests of any age who may want to visit.

Fact- Fully-Independent Seniors are Welcome in Assisted Living

It’s not uncommon for seniors who are fully independent to live in assisted living communities. Many people of retirement-age choose to live in these communities simply for the social aspect. Assisted living is a great place where seniors and their families can feel a peace of mind knowing the environment is a safe, fun place to age well into their golden years.

Fiction- Medicare or Medicaid Will Pay for Assisted Living

Medicaid and Medicare will not help cover the costs of assisted living. Not sure what the difference is between Medicaid and Medicare? We can help:

Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage if you are 65+ or under 65 and have a disability, no matter your income.

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage if you have a very low income.

But no need to worry, there are other resources available to assist with the cost for elderly care. Many families start considering options and budgeting for long-term care when a loved one reaches retirement age. Residents can also apply social security benefits to assisted living, acquire long-term care insurance, use VA Benefits (for eligible military veterans), and more. We encourage you to look up you state guidelines for more information.

Fact-Volunteers are Always Welcome

The Utah Assisted Living Association encourages anyone interested in volunteering their time and talents to do so! There are so many ways to extend your support and make a difference in the lives of our incredible residents including:

  • Entertaining (music, dance, magic tricks, comedy, etc.)
  • Writing friendly notes of encouragement
  • Serving food
  • Reading books
  • Playing games