Understanding the Different Levels of Care in Assisted Living Communities
If your loved one is at Level Two or below, they can manage most aspects of daily life without assistance. However, they may require a reminder to take medication or need help cutting food to avoid choking. In assisted living, residents typically have a private room, which may or may not include a private bathroom. This is an excellent option for those who want to preserve their independence while also receiving some help with day-to-day tasks.
Assisted living communities, sometimes called adult homes, provide long-term care in residences ranging from small, private rooms to large, multi-story buildings with various social spaces. They may include dining and activity rooms, outdoor gardens and walking trails, cinema rooms, and libraries. They also offer case management services, coordination of home health care services by outside agencies, and personal care services.
Assisted living community residents typically pay rent for their apartments or rooms and may receive additional services like meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, and laundry. Depending on state regulations, they may receive limited medical assistance from staff members or home health aides. Assisted living communities are licensed and regulated by the state, and some participate in Medicaid. Families concerned about the cost of assisted living should consider working with a Medicaid planning professional to explore ways to creatively structure their family’s assets to qualify for Medicaid coverage of residential care expenses.
Many seniors say they want to age in their own homes as long as possible. However, many seniors find that staying at home becomes too much for them due to increasing caregiver responsibilities and costs of care. Assisted living is an excellent option for seniors who require more hands-on care and help with their daily activities. Seniors who require level two care usually need cueing and regular reminders to perform their ADLs. They also need assistance managing their incontinence and transferring from one place to another. They may also need help eating and dressing and begin showing signs of memory loss. Assisted living communities offering level two care often provide residents with case management services, coordination of health care services by outside agencies, and personal care. They may also provide nursing services and medication management. These facilities typically have a registered nurse on staff and provide CNAs and aides who perform non-medical tasks under the supervision of nurses.
As the level of care increases, the time staff spends with a resident can increase. Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living communities use levels of care to divide their staff time to hire enough people to meet each person’s needs.
For example, some people may need help eating, which involves more than a reminder or stand-by assistance. Others might need help bathing or dressing. Still, some individuals need daily check-ins as a safety measure. Medication is another issue. A resident might require a larger quantity of medications or more frequent dispensing or daily reminders to take them. A person at level three might need regular reminders to get dressed, bathe, and eat and need more help managing incontinence. They might exhibit early signs of memory loss and must be monitored for health issues. They could also need more assistance moving around or getting from place to place. At this level, residents are typically required to have a nurse available to oversee their daily care needs.
Some seniors who move into assisted living need a lot of help with daily tasks and cannot live independently. They may need food reminders and someone to help them bathe or dress. They may have trouble managing their medications or a dementia disease or Alzheimer’s that affects their behavior. A nurse will complete an assessment on any prospective resident before they move into an assisted living community. It will review medical records, how often they take their medication, and what care they need. Administrators need to know the level of care an elderly adult needs so they can have staff on hand. For example, if residents need to be reminded three times a day to eat, they require more staff than those who walk into the dining room themselves. Likewise, one person might need more assistance with dressing than another. The different levels of care allow a facility to have the right caregivers to give their patients the support they need.