What is Long Term Care?

Long-term care provides assistance with residents personal care and tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This includes:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting (incontinence care)
  • Transferring (to or from bed or chair)
  • Eating

Do you have a plan in place?

This month and every month, seniors and their loved ones are encouraged to develop a plan in the event long-term care is needed. Mostly, long-term care (Independent living, Assisted Living, Memory Care or Skilled Nursing) is not covered by health insurance plans or Medicare. That is why planning ahead of time is vital. North Star Senior Advisors encourage families to explore Long Term Care options if their loved on can no longer live alone or care for themselves.

Currently, Medicare only covers medical and rehabilitative care such as doctor appointments and nurse visits but does not cover non-medical care like Assisted Living which helps with activities of daily living (ADLs). There is a program called Medicaid Long Term Care that is different from insurance that helps cover these care options but only after an individual has depleted all their assets. However, the choice of Medicaid facilities or Medicaid in-home services are very limited so knowing what is available to you now is imperative. There is one other program or funds for Veterans as well called Aid & Attendance that will go toward the costs but reserved only for those who served during war time.


Which Long Term Care setting is Best for me or my Loved One?

The process of searching for a Long Term Care of Senior Living community can be an overwhelming experience especially when you first get started. With multiple types of facilities to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you or your loved one? This is a question we are often asked when a family contacts us for help. There are 6 types of Long term care or senior living facilities, to include: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Residential Care Homes, Skilled Nursing, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities. So how do you know which one is best for you or your loved one? Here is a breakdown of the differences between each one (Average Cost in the state of Florida):


  • Independent Living Facility (ILF) 

(Average Cost $2900/month)

Apartment sized communities for senior who do not need specialized care. They offer housekeeping, dining, events, transportation, activities, and typically pay an all inclusive monthly rate.


If I’m independent, why would I move to an Independent Living Facility? 

Sometimes seniors don’t want to live alone and prefer socialization and oversight. Others prefer to downsize from their large homes to allow others to tend to the housekeeping, meal preparations and transportation. Health care services are often provided by outside providers who either rent an office in the building or visit the building periodically.


  • Assisted Living Facility (ALF)

(Average Cost $3500/month plus level of care)

With the same amenities offered in Independent Living, along with daily personal care for activities of daily living (ADL’s); bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and medication oversight. Care staff is available 24/7 to help with care needs.


  • Memory Care (MC)

(Average Cost $3350-$5500/month plus level of care)

Communities that provide specialized care for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia in a secured environment. They still have a quality of life and enjoy activities, personalized care, and medication oversight.


  • Residential Care Homes

(Average Cost $2500-$3200/month)

Traditional private home that has been converted and adapted to provide care for residents less than 15 but typically around 6 residents with a caregiver to provide assistance with ADL’s. These homes are licensed as assisted living facilities or adult family care homes.


  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

(Average Cost $6000-$8000)

An institution or part of an institution that meets criteria for accreditation established by the sections of the Social Security Act that determine the basis for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing care includes rehabilitation and various medical and nursing procedures.


  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s)

(Average Buy in Cost $100k-$400k and $2000-$4000/ monthly service fees)

Communities that provide all of the above or some of the above in one campus. A resident can spend the rest of their life in a CCRC and move between levels of care all on the same campus. There is typically a large sum of money for the initial buy in for the community. When the money runs out, one can continue to stay and age in place.


  • Respite Stays are Available

(Average Cost $150-$200/day)

Temporary institutional care of a dependent elderly, ill, or handicapped person, providing relief for their usual caregivers. Senior living communities such as assisted living often offer respite stays.


If you are still unsure of which type of facility suites you or the needs of your loved one, that is where we come in. We will guide you and work as your advocate. Which will enable you to have a smooth transition to the facility of your choice. If you are interested in learning more about one of the above facilities, contact a senior advisor today at 407-796-1582 or visit www.northstarsa.com.


This post contributed by North Star Senior Advisors.