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Who Qualifies for Assisted Living?

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A young woman holding an elderly person's hand as she assists them in daily activities.

Each state regulates senior communities, such as assisted living, individually. So, there isn’t a single answer for who qualifies for assisted living. But a senior’s needs and health are 2 significant considerations for qualifying.

Requiring assistance with daily living activities like eating or bathing, no critical or advanced medical care needs, and reasonable mobility are common markers for a senior qualified for assisted living.

Each community will vary in the type of resident needs it can accommodate. For example, depending on the training level of the staff, the community may be able to assist residents with more advanced medical care or mobility needs.

What Is Assisted Living?

As the name implies, assisted living is a form of senior living for older adults who need help caring for themselves. Activities of daily living (ADLs) are routine and necessary tasks that most younger, healthy adults don’t typically need assistance with.

When seniors can no longer do things, such as bathing themselves, cooking nutritious meals, or grocery shopping, their living environments may become unsafe, or their quality of life can suffer. An assisted living community gives the senior who needs a little help the chance to maintain independence as they age.

Who Qualifies for Assisted Living?

Because legislation may vary from state to state, there isn’t a single answer for who qualifies for assisted living. Many communities will review applications on a case-by-case basis, but there are a few things that most consider:

  • A need for assistance: Whether a person requires assistance or not is one of the main factors in whether they qualify for assisted living. This type of community doesn’t mean that an older adult is helpless—the goal is actually typically to give the senior as much independence as possible, even if they might still need help with remembering medicine or eating enough, for example.
  • The overall health of the senior: Assisted living is meant to help a senior with ADLs, but most communities don’t have staff who are trained to deal with critical or advanced medical needs.
  • A reasonable amount of mobility: Understandably, there are bound to be some mobility issues when dealing with a community designed for older adults. But many communities are designed for mostly mobile adults, so a certain amount of mobility is required for many assisted living communities.
A skilled caregiver assisting a senior man to walk around his senior living community home.

Other Senior Living Options

Even if assisted living isn’t the right option for a senior’s retirement, they aren’t necessarily out of options. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to look ahead to the future. Suppose you suspect that you may need assistance in the future. In that case, it doesn’t hurt to consider your options to make a future decision easier.

Independent Living

Maybe it’s just that assisted living isn’t needed yet. Independent living accommodations are likely going to be most people’s first choice. Several types of independent living exist. For example, a senior may live independently in their own home.

But quite often, independent living refers to a similar type of community that offers assisted living or respite care. The primary difference between independent living and these other retirement options is that many services, such as meals, services, and other amenities, may be available but not necessarily provided without asking.

The social aspect and being a part of an organized community are 2 significant benefits of this type of senior community.

Respite Care

Many times a close friend or family member will step up to take on a caregiver role. But everyone needs a break sometimes, which can be complicated, depending on a senior’s needs. Respite care offers a temporary break for a caregiver.

During respite care, a senior receives the same level of care as they would if they were a permanent resident of the community. In addition to being a break, respite care can also act as a way for a senior to try out a new living situation.

Memory Care

When dementia or a related illness comes into play, even an assisted living community may not be equipped to handle the different care requirements. Memory care communities are specially designed as helpful environments for those with cognitive decline.

Memory care buildings typically have easy-to-navigate (often color-coded) hallways, secure outdoor areas, locked doors with security, and staff with specific training.

Discuss Your Options at The Legacy at Cimarron

The move to assisted living can already be a stressful or complicated decision. If you’re considering retirement in El Paso, give us a call at The Legacy at Cimarron. We’re happy to answer all your questions and book you a community tour.

Written by LifeWell

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