If you are considering assisted living care for yourself, a spouse, parent, or other friend/relative, you should know your ABCs. Consider these basics as you weigh whether assisted living is the best option:
“A” — Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): An individual’s abilities to manage ADLs and IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living) will determine the level of assistance and services necessary. ADLs include bathing, dressing, transferring (from bed to wheelchair/walker, from walker/wheelchair to toilet, etc.), grooming, eating, and toileting. IADLs include making doctor’s appointments, paying bills, doing laundry, keeping in touch with family, and other tasks that are vital for successful living but do not require the daily upkeep of ADLs.
“B” — Budgeting for unforeseen care needs: All assisted living communities price their care services, meals and housing differently, but most will charge extra (a la carte) for services that go above and beyond what is covered in a “core services” package. Keep this in mind as you weigh your options. The true monthly cost of assisted living care may be quite different from the initial estimate should your loved one need more assistance as her health declines, or as his dementia worsens.
“C” — Caregivers’ roles and responsibilities: Remember that most assisted living communities only have one nurse and several nurse aides on duty at a time. Nurse aides are not generally trained to provide skilled medical care, so if you feel that your family member needs more specialized attention, assisted living may not be appropriate.