8 Areas to Evaluate When Researching Assisted Living Options

According to Statista, in 2015, there were over 15,000 assisted living communities in the United States alone–and given recent growth, that number has only increased.

Therefore, saying that families have a range of assisted living options for their aging loved ones is an understatement.

In the same way that each person is unique, each assisted living community has its own offerings, values, and character.

From the style of apartments to the caregiving philosophy, your parent has a variety of options to choose from.  

To make the search and selection process easier for you and your loved one, here are some guidelines to use when evaluating assisted living options.

When vetting and considering each community, be sure to take note of the following…

#1: Values

From social engagement and security to comfort and faith, each community holds a set of values that are expressed in the way the community operates and what’s specifically offered to residents.

If ensuring that your father maintains a sense of independence despite a recent fall is of the utmost importance, perhaps seek assisted living options that value both independence and safety.

If enabling your mother to continue to participate in church services and attend Bible study is a priority, we suggest searching for a faith-based assisted living community.

Whatever you’re searching for, finding an assisted living community that aligns with your and your loved one’s values is essential when selecting a place your parent can call home.

#2: Caregiving philosophy

Care can be delivered in a variety of ways based upon the community’s caregiving philosophy.

While some communities take a more personalized approach, others may aim to treat each resident similarly.

At The Ashford on Broad and The Ashford of Mt. Washington, our approach to caregiving helps us deeply understand—and adapt—to your parent’s needs.

For example, we utilize a unique assessment process to craft a care plan for your parent.


When it comes to a new home, the physical environment is everything.

A beautiful natural surrounding and well-designed buildings that enable easy and seamless mobility provide your loved one with a higher quality of experience within the assisted living community.

On the other hand, if a community’s building and grounds have little lighting, limited access to green and natural spaces, and are difficult to navigate—you may want to consider another location.

#6: Apartments


Similar to the last category, the apartments themselves play a key role in your parent’s experience within an assisted living community.

Finding options that feel like home—whether that means a large kitchen, side patio, or high ceilings—will make the transition easier and life more enjoyable for your loved one.

#7: Team members & leadership

Just as other residents in the community contribute to the experience of a place, the team members and leadership are essential components to making your parent feel welcome and genuinely cared for.

Whether it be assisting your mother in activities of daily living (ADLs) or encouraging your father to join the community choir, team members work hard to ensure residents such as your loved one live life to the fullest.

When vetting assisted living options, be sure to converse with and learn about the people that work for and represent the community—they can reveal a lot about whether or not it will be the right match.

#8: Prices

According to after55.com, the national median average for an assisted living facility in 2017 was $45,000 a year.

This can be cost-prohibitive to many families, and taking an honest look at what’s financially viable for your parent will be important to do upfront in your search.

At The Ashford of Mt. Washington and The Ashford on Broad, affordable assisted living is made possible to our residents.

In fact, our communities are typically around 10{66428b7e0c8aff20c6fe525529a828ba776cb26d03e1544c2af380e334db2dbd} to 50{66428b7e0c8aff20c6fe525529a828ba776cb26d03e1544c2af380e334db2dbd} more affordable than other assisted living options in their local areas.  

If you’re worried about how your parent will be able to pay for assisted living, download our FREE checklist “3 Ways to Make Assisted Living Affordable for Your Parent” today!

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


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{66428b7e0c8aff20c6fe525529a828ba776cb26d03e1544c2af380e334db2dbd}-50{66428b7e0c8aff20c6fe525529a828ba776cb26d03e1544c2af380e334db2dbd} 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

Home Health vs. Assisted Living: Making the Right Choice

At one time, your monthly visits to Dad were enough to help him maintain independence.

But now…mowing the lawn and doing small repairs around the house can’t provide the care he needs.

If you recognize your parent requires more involved support, such as medication management or prepared meals, you may be debating between home health vs. assisted living.   

Before you make a decision, it’s important to understand what each option offers and how they differ. Even if your parent has already applied for home health services, you’ll want to keep on reading to ensure you’ve made the right choice.

In this article, we’re going to dive into home health vs. assisted living so you can make an informed decision for your loved one.

What Home Health Provides

To put it simply, home health agencies offer scheduled appointments at your loved one’s home.

Staff members hired by the company will visit your parent, providing the caregiving services you’ve agreed upon.

Home health agencies can give your parent…

  • Assistance for bathing, dressing, or other activities.
  • Meal preparation and housekeeping.
  • Medication management, therapy, and medical support.
  • Transportation and other services.

What Assisted Living Provides

When considering home health vs. assisted living, you may be surprised to learn that assisted living provides many of the same services as home health agencies.

While assisted living isn’t designed for seniors who need skilled nursing care, it does provide comprehensive support services such as…  

  • Assistance with the activities of daily living (such as dressing, grooming, and more).  
  • Daily meals, laundry, housekeeping, and maintenance.  
  • Medication management and therapy services.

Assisted living communities usually include on-site amenities, such as a beauty salon or library.

Most significantly, assisted living can transform your loved one’s daily routine with regular social events and outings to enjoy with friends.

Home Health vs. Assisted Living

Given the similarities between home health and assisted living, you may wonder what distinguishes the two from each other.

However, there’s a clear difference between home health vs. assisted living. Here are a few important facts you should know…

  1. Home health can be unpredictable compared to assisted living.

It’s a fact.

Relying on home health agencies can create unpredictability and instability for your loved one. As Home Care Pulse explains, your parent may experience multiple caregivers or visits that start late, end early, or simply never happen.  

With assisted living, your loved one’s care won’t be affected by factors like road traffic, ensuring greater predictability for your parent.

  1. With home health, strangers will visit your loved one’s home compared to the familiarity of assisted living caregivers.

In 2015, Forbes reported that for temporary jobs with “a median wage less than $15 per hour, Home Health Aide…is expected to see the greatest growth, 15{66428b7e0c8aff20c6fe525529a828ba776cb26d03e1544c2af380e334db2dbd}.”

However, temporary workers can mean unfamiliar faces for your parent and increased risk.

In contrast, the structure of an assisted living community can provide your loved one with a greater sense of stability and better quality care.

  1. Home health visits temporarily relieve isolation while assisted living care provides consistent social interaction.

Home health visits are a form of social interaction for your parent.

The problem is…a few hours from an aide isn’t enough to remove your parent’s social isolation, much less provide the same benefit as a lively lunch with friends.

Thanks to community meals, events, and activities, assisted living gives Mom the continuous interaction she needs to avoid loneliness and enjoy her golden years.  

  1. Home health workers aren’t around 24/7 while assisted living caregivers are.  

Let’s face it. Your loved one’s needs don’t always follow the home health agency’s schedule.

When Mom suddenly requires immediate help for safety, there’s no guarantee the home health worker will be at her house.

The good news is, with assisted living, help is nearby…every hour of every day.  

Deciding between the Two

When it comes to choosing between home health vs. assisted living, there are a variety of factors to consider.

However, you can simplify your decision by analyzing your parent’s current state of independence.

If your parent is primarily independent—but needs some occasional assistance—look further into your home health options. If a few visits a week won’t provide the level of physical safety and emotional support your parent needs, consider assisted living.  

But perhaps the real reason it’s difficult to choose between home health services and assisted living care comes down to a different factor—the cost of assisted living.

There’s no reason to let expensive assisted living rates pressure you into choosing a senior care option that doesn’t fit your parent’s needs.  

At The Ashford, we offer affordable assisted living, providing your loved one with high-quality care at a price that reflects his or her financial resources.

To learn more and experience our communities, schedule a time to visit today.  


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.