Assisted Living Services—Understanding Levels of Care

As your mother or father ages, various elements of his or her lifestyle will evolve and change.

From a growing collection of adorable grandchildren to more time to invest in hobbies and interests, there’s a range of exciting aspects about the next phase of life.  

No matter what stage of life your loved one is experiencing, there are a few variables that should always stay the same—his or her safety, dignity, and quality of life.

Assisted living services are a popular option for many families with aging parents and grandparents who could benefit from a safe, welcoming, and engaging environment.

However, delving into the exploration process can be daunting if you don’t feel as if you have a basic understanding of the services and care levels offered within assisted living communities.

In this post, we’ll provide you with a helpful overview of the levels of care in senior living and how to determine the best fit for your loved one.

Levels of Care in Assisted Living

First things first–if your loved one needs intensive medical care, consider choosing a nursing home.

With 24-hour supervision and skilled medical services, skilled nursing delivers the necessary care for individuals who need an elevated level of consistent care.

Nursing homes are also an option for those who seek short-term rehabilitation after a hospital stay or a decline in health.  

On the other hand, assisted living services are ideal if your parent doesn’t have quite as many medical needs or require 24-hour supervision.

Each assisted living community has a way of structuring and determining the appropriate level of care for residents.

It does this by creating levels of care.

Certain residents may be extremely independent and simply wish to live in a community with exciting activities and social opportunities available just a few steps away from their home.

Others will require a higher level of care within the offered assisted living services, including help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and moving from one room to another.

In addition, memory care is another common offering for residents who struggle with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Determining the Best Fit

You may not know where your mother or father falls on the spectrum of care.

Not to worry! There’s no need to wonder how to pinpoint the best option for your loved one.

Most assisted living communities offer an assessment to help you determine the appropriate level of care for your loved one.

At The Ashford, we use the following process to help you make the best care level decision and craft a care plan for your parent…

  1. First, we collaborate with you and your loved one’s doctors to identify key needs, such as medication management or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
  2. From there, we work with you to identify which care level your parent needs and craft a plan of care that addresses the unique needs of your mother or father.
  3. Finally, using the plan of care, our staff complements your parent’s day with corresponding care. As our staff of nursing team members and personal caregivers discovers more about your loved one’s preferences, we’ll continue to refine and adapt how we support your loved one.

In the process of crafting the plan of care, we use a point system to determine which level of care your parent requires.

While we offer four levels of care, this point system allows us to flexibly tailor our care to your loved one’s needs—whether Mom requires assistance with medication management or help getting ready for the day.

To pinpoint which level of care is best, we’ll give your loved one an assessment. (To learn more simply contact The Ashford on Broad in Columbus, Ohio, or The Ashford of Mt. Washington in Cincinnati, Ohio.)

When exploring various senior living care levels, you may be worried by the prices of various communities—some of which can easily creep into the $4,000 to $5,000 monthly range.

Not to worry—read our previous post What Is Affordable Assisted Living? to learn more about quality care options that fall in line with your parent’s budget.

Will Medicare Pay for Assisted Living?

When making assisted living care decisions for your parent or loved one, there are a range of questions you’ll be seeking answers to.

For example…

What level of care will be the best fit for his or her needs?

How will his or her medications be handled?

What kinds of activities will provide enough physical and mental engagement?

Which location works best for family members and friends to easily visit?

Will Medicare pay for assisted living?

As the last question suggests, one of the most common concerns for families is how to pay for assisted living.

Medicare often covers expenses such as doctors’ services, medically necessary hospital visits, skilled nursing facilities, home health care, and hospice care for individuals ages 65 and up.

However, what many people don’t realize is that Medicare won’t cover assisted living expenses.

Why Medicare Doesn’t Cover Assisted Living

If you wondered “Will Medicare pay for assisted living?”, it’s only natural to be surprised that it won’t cover your parent’s care needs at a senior living community.

You may be wondering why assisted living isn’t covered under Medicare, while services like skilled nursing and home health care are.

You’ll find that Medicare coverage is great for medically oriented care services, such as hospital care or prescription drugs.

However, assisted living is classified as long-term care—and Medicare explains that “[most long-term care isn’t medical care,” stating that long-term care coverage is not included. (To learn more, visit Medicare’s website.)

It’s easy to see why Part A and Part B of Medicare coverage doesn’t encompass long-term care, given that assisted living communities provide non medical care such as assistance with daily activities in order to prevent accidents and social events to keep residents engaged and happy.

However, when Mom isn’t ready for a nursing home…but does need help with non medical tasks…you can feel as if you’ve reached a dead end for assisted living payment options.

The Medicaid Alternative

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Though the answer to the question “Will Medicare pay for assisted living?” may not be what you wanted to hear–don’t feel discouraged.

While your loved one won’t find assistance with Medicare, there is an alternative solution to paying for assisted living expenses.

In fact, currently 43 states–including Ohio–offer some level of assistance for individuals in assisted living or other forms of residential care through their Assisted Living Waiver through Medicaid.

This program covers the costs of care for certain individuals with Medicaid, while the individuals pay for their room and board expenses.

In order to qualify for the program, your mother or father will need to meet certain service and care needs, as well as established financial criteria.

If your parent is an Ohio resident and you’d like to find out if he or she would be eligible for this Medicaid program, visit Ohio Benefits and the Ohio Department of Aging. 

There’s no need for Mom to live alone at home and risk an accident…or move prematurely into a nursing home.

At The Ashford, we provide seniors and their families with an affordable and high-quality long-term care option.

Both of our assisted living locations–The Ashford of Mt. Washington and The Ashford on Broad–accept the Assisted Living Waiver through Medicaid, and are on average 10%-50% more affordable than a number of assisted living locations in their surrounding areas. 

Knowing that your parent is in good hands within a financially accessible community will give you and your family peace of mind.

We invite you and your parent to see our communities for yourselves–schedule a tour of our Cincinnati and Columbus locations

What Is Affordable Assisted Living?

Over the holidays, perhaps you realized that Mom isn’t as independent as she used to be.

A few years ago, it was easy for her to cook the holiday meal.

But now she has trouble even making her lunch or keeping the house clean.

Once you were home, you might have begun a search for senior care, confident you could find an affordable assisted living option for your mom…

Until you started visiting different communities.

It can be shocking to discover that standard assisted living costs can easily creep into the $4,000 to $5,000 range—an expense that’s far outside your parent’s budget, leaving you with several no-win alternatives:

  • Hire an aid to visit your mom a few times a week—even though your parent needs full-time assistance.
  • Lower your assisted living standards to find a community that fits your loved one’s budget.
  • Deplete your own retirement savings in order to fund Mom’s expenses.

If this sounds like your situation, keep on reading.

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to affordable assisted living and show how it can provide the solution you need to care for your parent.

What Is Affordable Assisted Living?

To begin with, high-quality affordable assisted living is not the same as the Congregate Housing Services Program or other government-sponsored, low-income housing options.

When we say affordable assisted living, we mean providing excellent care at a rate that meets the financial needs of seniors with limited resources.

Who Is Affordable Assisted Living Designed For?

There are a number of ways to determine if this senior care option is suited for your parent. To see if affordable assisted living can support your loved one, consider if…

  • Your parent once had a solid income, but the increased cost of living has depleted his or her financial resources.
  • Your parent’s monthly income isn’t enough to cover normal assisted living costs…and assets will last only a couple of years.
  • Your parent worries about his or her financial future and wonders if there will be enough retirement savings in the years to come.
  • Your parent is frugal and values high-quality services for an affordable price.
  • Your parent is eligible for help through the Assisted Living Waiver Medicaid Program.
  • Your parent served in the U.S. military or is eligible through a spouse for veteran’s benefits.
  • Your parent has long-term care insurance.

If any of these descriptions fit your parent’s situation, affordable assisted living can help your loved one enjoy a brighter financial future and the needed care to avoid a premature nursing home move.

What’s the Difference between Standard and Affordable Assisted Living?

At this point, you may be thinking…

Assisted living seems like a great choice for my parent. But what’s the difference between this option and standard assisted living?

That’s a good question.

To help you gain clarity, we’ll briefly cover how these two options are both similar—and different. Here’s what isn’t different about affordable assisted living…

Your parent will still receive the same care.

Like other assisted living communities, this more affordable option will still provide Mom with the same support she would receive at another community. From regular housekeeping to assistance with bathing or dressing, your parent will gain comprehensive support.

Your parent will experience a beautifully furnished and comfortable living environment.

Affordable assisted living doesn’t mean Mom has to settle for sharing her apartment or living in a dilapidated community. You parent can enjoy beautiful furnishings, inviting gathering areas, quality amenities, and a cozy apartment—with no compromises.

While both standard assisted living and affordable assisted living have several similarities, they are quite different when it comes to one important factor—price.

Affordable assisted living empowers your parent to…

  • Pay a monthly rate he or she can afford.
  • Prolong his or her retirement resources.
  • Apply for Medicaid assistance or veteran’s benefits.
  • Lessen financial worries.

If you’re ready to experience the benefits of affordable assisted living, be sure to visit The Ashford. We’ve created communities with your loved one’s needs in mind, providing high-quality care at a reasonable price.

To experience for yourself our beautiful and affordable assisted living communities, schedule your visit today.