Frequently Asked Questions
Who Needs Assisted Living or Personal Care Homes?
It is estimated that one million Americans live in more than 20,000 assisted living communities and personal care homes. These residents can be young or old, affluent or low income, frail or disabled. A typical resident is a woman in her eighties, either widowed or single. Residents may suffer from Alzheimer's disease or memory disorders, or may simply need help with mobility, incontinence or other challenges. Assisted living and personal care homes are appropriate for someone who is too frail to live at home or wants extra support.
How are Assisted Living Communities (ALC) and Personal Care Homes (PCH) Regulated?
Regulations and licensure requirements vary from state to state, contributing to a wide range of senior housing models that are considered assisted living. Assisted living communities and personal care homes often are regulated under the categories of personal care homes, residential care homes, boarding homes, etc.
The most progressive regulations are consumer oriented, balancing the safety concerns everyone shares with residents’ desire to retain their independence and freedom of choice. Most assisted living communities or personal care homes and their staffs have special training as a result of senior living policies. In addition, some states require special training and staff certification. Communities also must comply with local building codes and fire safety regulations.
What About the Costs?
Costs vary with the community, unit size, and the types of services needed by the residents. Across the nation, daily basic fees range from approximately $15 to $200 - generally less expensive than home health services or nursing care in the same geographic area. The basic rate may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services. Most assisted living residences and personal care homes charge month-to-month rates, but a few residences require long-term arrangements. Some assisted living providers request security deposits or other types of entry fees.
How Do I Choose an Assisted Living Community or Personal Care Home?
To choose an appropriate residence for you or a loved one, please take one or more of the following steps:
Who Pays the Bills?
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, some costs may be reimbursable. In addition, some residences have their own financial assistance programs.
Some state and local governments offer subsidies for rent or services for income-eligible elders. Others may provide subsidies in the form of an additional payment for those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Some states also use Medicaid waiver programs to help pay for assisted living services. Some assisted living services may be tax-deductible. Consult your tax advisor for more information.