Published By: Hilary Young
Aging and increased longevity are a hot topic for most Americans. Medicare, the fate of Social Security, and healthcare, top the lists of public concerns and with no discernable answers in sight – the conversation continues.
Assisted living facilities have popped up across the country, in direct response to the negative and clinical feel that often goes hand in hand with nursing homes. Assisted living still provides daily care and assistance to seniors, but with a greater emphasis on independence and personalized space.
While assisted living may seem attractive to some, to others it can be expensive and often trigger depression and anxiety in older Americans after being uprooted from their home and friends. We’ve broken down the Pros and Cons of assisted living, so that you can make the decision that’s best for you:
CON: One of the potential dangers of an assisted living facility is the lack of regulation and absence of government involvement you would typically find at a nursing home.
PRO: Due to scrutiny by local media and scandals about lack of adequate care, state government officials have been spurred into action. Expect to see stricter laws, background checks, and increased standards for employees.
CON: Occupancy levels are exceeding 90% is most areas, and even higher in areas with less supply. Causing complications for those with insurance coverage – facility operators compete for the lucrative patients who are paying the full bill. Conflicts of interest can arise when operators focus on retaining their cash-generating clients versus the care these clients may actually need.
CON: Assisted living facilities are already very expensive and not an option for those with limited funds. 99% of all residents are Caucasian and 78% are women. Usually not covered by insurance or Medicaid, those who choose an assisted living facility need to come up with the cash! As noted above, one can expect limited space, stiff competition, and rising costs. Even more than before, assisted living is becoming an option only for the wealthy.
PRO: Most assisted living facilities now offer access to health, wellness, and exercise programs in addition to offering regular meals served in a common area, which increases the chances for socialization. All of these perks promote emotional, physical, and mental health. While assisted living facilities enhance the balance of these three areas, choosing to remain alone in your home can throw you off balance with one or all of them.