Senior Care/Child Care Benefits at Work?

What are your thoughts on the topic of senior care benefits being available in your employers benefits program?

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Helpful Vocabulary

Today’s Term … Assisted Living Community

In general, a state-licensed program offered at a residential community with services that include meals, laundry, housekeeping, medications reminders, and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).

The exact definition will vary from state to state, and a few states do not license assisted living facilities. They are generally regarded as one to two steps below skilled nursing in level of care. Florida does license and regulate its Assisted Living Communities.

Approximately 90 percent of the country’s assisted living services are paid for with private funds, although some sates have adopted Medicaid waiver programs. Might also be referred to as Personal Care, Board and Care, Residential Care, Boarding Home, etc., although some states differentiate between their definition of “Assisted Living” and these other terms.

Cost of Assisted Living

Few people plan for long-term care – that being continuous care over an extended period of time that involves help with everyday tasks or constant supervision for a person who has dementia.  Perhaps they don’t think they’ll need it or they believe that government subsidies will cover any care they need.

senior-community-outsideStudies indicate that 70% of persons over 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).  And it’s a common misconception that Medicaid and Medicare will pay for long-term care.  Beyond the limited benefits provided by Medicaid and/or Medicare (assuming you meet eligibility requirements for one or both) you are responsible for your long-term care costs.

Choices for suitable care under Medicaid funding can be limited.  Fortunately, senior living residences are available at a variety of price points.

Costs vary with the residence, apartment size, and types of services needed. The basic rate may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services. Most assisted living residences charge on a month-to-month lease arrangement, but a few require long-term arrangements. The 2009 national average cost for an apartment in an assisted living residence is $3,100 per month, according to research compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Long-term Care Information.


Base rates may fluctuate depending on unit size: for example, studio, one, or two-bedroom apartment. Note also that base rates typically only cover room and board and two to three meals. Additional charges may include entrance fees up to one month’s rent, deposits, and fees for other services such as transportation and personal laundry, though many providers include those services as well.

More than half of assisted living communities use a tiered pricing model with bundled services, according to research. For instance, a resident needing very little assistance would be at the lowest tier. Other pricing models include all-inclusive, a la carte, or fee-for-service basis. Providers regularly review service and care plans to ensure residents’ needs are being met. Billing is typically done monthly. More information is available at

To discuss senior living options in the Tampa Bay region with an experienced Always Best Care senior placement advisor please call (813) 422-1561 or (813) 422-0750.

Please share your thoughts on senior living costs, or any other thoughts on senior care. We welcome your comments below. 

Assisted Living Checklist

client_and_family_revieiwing_facility_info1Understanding what senior living community is right for your loved one can be a daunting task. Senior living communities can range in size from high-rise buildings to old Victorians. Rooms vary from studios to 1 and 2-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes.

Did you know there are 500+ assisted living and residential care facilities operating in the Tampa Bay area – each takes different levels of care and charges varying rates.

An assisted living community for seniors provides care for persons who need some help with activities of daily living, yet who wish to remain as independent as possible. These communities bridge the gap between independent living and nursing homes. Residents in assisted living communities aren’t able to live by themselves, but they don’t require constant care. Medical care is limited in an assisted living community and each state sets its own limits. Residents are assessed when they move into the community so the community can develop an individualized service plan to ensure that the senior get the best care possible.

Here’s a checklist of what to look for when visiting assisted living communities:

  1. Is there an individual care plan created for your loved one?
  2. Is there outdoor seating in shaded areas?
  3. Is the community clean?
  4. Is the staff friendly and attentive?
  5. Do Podiatrists, Hair Dressers, and entertainers make regular visits?
  6. Are the rooms large enough for your loved one’s needs?
  7. Is transportation to and from appointments included?
  8. How far are dining and recreation areas from the available rooms?
  9. Are there a variety of activities available?

At Always Best Care we believe in matching your loved one with the right community. Visit us at to learn more our free guidance for families.  Fees for the services we provide are paid by the community selected.