ContentsAlabama Assisted Living: Types Of Senior Housing Options Largest Providers Of Assisted Living In Alabama Quality And Safety Of Assisted Living Facilities In Alabama Cost Of Assisted Living Care In Alabama How Costs Compare In Nearby States Paying For Assisted Living Care In Alabama What Is Included With Assisted Living Care In Alabama? Wellness Resources In Alabama The Transition Into Assisted Living In Alabama Alabama Assisted Living Oversight
Although sales taxes are high, Alabama is becoming a favorite retirement destination for older adults because of its low cost of living, year-round warm climate, inland waterways, and abundance of outdoor activities.
As a bonus, Social Security benefits and other pension income are exempt from state income taxes, and homeowners can benefit from some of the lowest property tax rates in the country. Recipients can use these extra savings to help pay for assisted living care. The information below can help you locate and understand available senior care options and costs and how Alabama regulates long-term care communities.
Alabama Assisted Living: Types Of Senior Housing Options
Alabama stretches across hills, valleys, plateaus, mountain towns, coastal plains, pinewoods, and sandy beaches. With such diversity, seniors may find housing options to meet their needs in an attractive location.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)
When a loved one can no longer live independently, an assisted living provider can be a good option. Assisted living residences are for residents who would like to, and can, maintain some independence but need help with meals, housekeeping, and some of the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as showering, getting dressed, or personal hygiene.
Assisted living communities in Alabama are for older adults who want to and can maintain their independence but need some help with daily living activities, meals, and household chores. TheBureau of Health Provider Standards of the Alabama Bureau of Public Healthregulates all assisted living facilities in the state. Alabama offers three types of assisted living communities:
- Family assisted living communities for two to three residents.
- Group assisted living communities for four to 16 residents.
- Congregate assisted living communities for 17 or more residents.
Difference Between Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living
Specialty Care assisted living facilities are assisted living facilities that have special licenses and are staffed to care for residents with a degree of cognitive impairment that precludes their admission into a typical assisted living facility. Both assisted living and specialty care communities are classified based on their size. Facilities caring for 2-3 adults are known as Family Facilities, Group Facilities are authorized to care for 4-16 adults, and Congregate Facilities are authorized for 17 or more adults.
Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities are a good housing option for seniors who can still live independently but want to downsize. Each resident or couple lives in a private unit, and most communities offer social programs so residents can meet their neighbors. Housekeeping, chores, and some meals may be provided, although these may incur an additional cost. Unlike the care given in an assisted living community, assistance with activities of daily living and medication management aren't available in these communities.
Nursing homes offer the highest level of care of all senior living options. These communities provide around-the-clock supervision, skilled nursing care, and available medical help. Generally, people in nursing homes have complex medical issues or need more residential care than is offered in an assisted living facility. Alabama has skilled nursing facilities (SNF) for people who require 24-hour care and intermediate care facilities (ICF) for people who don’t need as much medical care. Theaverage cost of nursing home carein the state is $6,676 for a semiprivate room and $7,026 for a private room.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Many seniors prefer to choose a community that will continue to meet their needs in the future. Continuing care retirement communities have independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities on the same property or owned by the same community. This model allows seniors to stay near their friends in familiar surroundings, even as their needs change. The care provided in the assisted living section of a CCRC is the same as in an assisted living community. The difference is that residents can easily move to a skilled nursing room if required. Often, CCRCs are bigger than ACHs, as they encompass more care options.
Supportive Housing is a residential facility designed for older adults or persons with disabilities who cannot live independently. These individuals need help with toileting, bathing, dressing, medication management and administration, assistance with meals and housekeeping, and other activities of daily living. These individuals do not need regular nursing care. Several housing options are available that range from living in a facility to residents living in their own home or apartment, with community-based support services.
Adult Day Care
Adult day careprovides respite for family caregivers who need a break from caregiving. Older adults who require assistance and supervision can stay in a protective setting for short periods. Adult day care is not an option for older adults who need 24-hour care in residential and institutional environments. Theaverage cost of adult day carein Alabama is $758 per month.
There are two types of in-home care available in Alabama: homemaker services and home healthcare. Homemaker services generally provide personal care and may also help with errands, chores, and housekeeping. Home healthcare can deliver these services and offer medical care such as skilled nursing and medication management. Unlike assisted living care, in-home care is provided to people in their homes, making it a good choice for those who prefer to age in place. However, it doesn’t give seniors access to social and recreational programming for assisted living communities. The average cost of homemaker services is $3,813 per month, and the average cost of a home health aide is $3,851 per month.
Largest Providers Of Assisted Living In Alabama
Some of the largest corporations manage assisted living communities in Alabama. Brookdale has 11 communities in the state, Country Place Senior Living has seven communities, Country Cottage has five communities and the Gardens has six facilities in the state.
Quality and Safety of Assisted Living Facilities in Alabama
UnderChapter 420-5-4 of the Alabama Code of Regulations, all assisted living communities must be licensed and meet certain quality and safety standards. For example, each community must maintain written fire safety and emergency plan. The Bureau of Health Provider Standards of the Alabama Bureau of Public Health keeps residents safe by conducting periodic inspections and investigating complaints.
All staff members must receive initial and ongoing training on required care and safety topics. Administrators must also complete six hours of continuing education each year. To increase safety and ensure high-quality care, assisted living communities may not hire anyone whose name appears on the Alabama Department of Public Health Nurse Aide Abuse Registry.
Cost Of Assisted Living Care In Alabama
Theaverage cost of assisted living carein Alabama is $3503 per month. This cost is $997 lower than the national average of $4,500 per month. The cost of living in Alabama is 17.7% lower than the national average with healthcare costs nearly 2.2% higher and housing costing 44.1% more than the national average. The exact price of care differs depending on where in the state you’re located. Costs in the state range from $2,803 in Gadsen to $4,771 in Anniston.
How Costs Compare In Nearby States
If you live close to one of Alabama’s borders, you may find assisted living in a neighboring state is an affordable option. Two of Alabama’s neighbors have a higher average cost for assisted living. Florida and Tennessee have average costs of $4,000 and $4,105, while Mississippi has a lower average cost of $3,500. The cost of assisted living in Tennessee is roughly the same as in Alabama at $4,105.
Paying For Assisted Living Care In Alabama
The average cost of assisted living in Alabama is around $42,000 per year, so you or a family member may be wondering how to pay for care. A range of options is available to fund senior housing in the state.
Selling a home is a common way for seniors to raise funds for assisted living care. Income from pensions and Social Security may also pay for some care. Other examples of private funds include your retirement accounts, mutual funds, and other investments.
Alabama Optional State Supplement
Alabama offers anoptional state supplementto those who qualify. SSI recipients may be eligible for an optional supplement. Non-SSI recipients may be eligible if they live in specified living arrangements and meet specific state requirements but don't meet federal SSI income guidelines. If you qualify, you may be able to use these extra funds to pay for assisted living care.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance covers personal care, residential care, and other long-term support and services. Each plan is different; however, most offer a daily amount based on the policy that pays for assistance with activities of daily living. Most people buy a policy in their 50s or 60s and access it when required. If you or your family member has a policy, read it carefully to see what care it covers.
Programs For Veterans
Alabama hasfour Veterans Homesaround the state, in Alexander City, Huntsville, Bay Minette, and Pell City. These homes provide skilled nursing care to residents of Alabama who served in the military. The state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs also has offices around the state where team members can help people obtain benefits and services. This includes theAid and Attendancebenefit, which can help qualified veterans fund personal care.
Elderlife Financial can help you understandhow to pay for assisted living.
What Is Included With Assisted Living Care In Alabama?
The services provided in assisted living communities generally come under three broad categories: personal care, medical care, and amenities.
Most people move to assisted living communities because they’re looking for easy access to personal care. These services assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, walking, and toileting. communities also provide supervision and can deliver care for unforeseen needs or in cases of emergencies.
In Alabama, ACHs must provide care and services in the resident’s care plan. This can include coordinating medical care and appointments. Communities may also deliver health services, with 43% of communities providing skilled nursing. Many have healthcare specialists and on-site services, with 33% of communities offering dental care. In addition, 47% of ACHs have hospice services.
ACHs may provide specialized care for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. These special care units have additional security measures to ensure residents don't wander, a common symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Typically, they also offer programs designed to improve cognitive function and routines that help lower stress.
Mental health issues are a growing consideration for communities, and services to address these concerns are becoming more common. 77% of communities conduct depression screening in Alabama, and 40% offer mental health counseling. Social work programs are also found in 34% of ACHs. Social workers can provide counseling, conduct assessments, and help ensure residents access all the resources they need.
Amenities refer to other features and services of the community. ACHs offer three meals a day and coordinate activity programs to help residents stay active and connected, families, and the community. Alabama facilities must also provide transportation and laundry services and may offer housekeeping services.
Wellness Resources in Alabama
If you're concerned about having access to high-quality health care, Alabama is home to several renowned hospitals. TheUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham Hospitalis nationally ranked in eight specialties, and theHuntsville Hospitalis the second-largest hospital in Alabama.
Alabama has90 hospitals, along with many physicians’ offices and emergency centers. If you're an assisted living resident needing medical care, there's a good chance you'll find a hospital or clinic nearby.
Mental Health Resources
TheAlabama Department of Mental Healthprovides resources to support older adult Alabamians’ mental health and well-being. The department maintains a directory of providers to help participants improve their mental health.Alabama Mental Healthprovides resources and a directory of statewide listings of practitioners and organizations that provide mental health services, support, and information to people with mental illness. TheNational Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Alabamaserves residents across the state and provides resources, education, advocacy, support groups, and crisis information and intervention.
The Transition Into Assisted Living In Alabama
The decision to move into an assisted living community can be difficult. Generally, you'll notice changes in your loved ones that suggest they need some assistance. Signs that this environment could be beneficial include increased isolation, loss of mobility, noticeable weight loss or gain, and signs that they’re neglecting household chores.
Your older family member may be the one to start talking about assisted living. For many seniors, the idea of moving into a home where cooking, laundry, and other chores are taken care of is appealing. For seniors who realize they need help with daily tasks, the addition of personal care may come as a relief. In Alabama, 12% of residents need help with eating. Other commonly used services include bed transfer (22%), toileting (28%) and walking (67%). Caregivers in ACHs help 43% of residents to dress, and 59% of residents need help bathing.
If you think your family member would benefit from assisted living, start by talking about it openly. Highlight the positives of a move, such as social activities, cooked meals, and easily accessible assistance. Some ACHs provide respite care, which may allow your family member to have a trial run. Remember, this should be a conversation, not a lecture. Stay open to their opinion. If they’re not ready to transition to assisted living, talk about the care they need to stay at home.
Alabama Assisted Living Oversight
TheAlabama Bureau of Public Healthoversees the state's assisted living communities. Alabama also has along-term care ombudsman programto handle complaints against long-term care facilities and advocates for residents of assisted living communities. TheAlabama Area Agencies on Agingprovide information and access to resources for older adults. TheAssisted Living Association of Alabamais a nonprofit organization that provides information regarding assisted living communities in the state to help people find the right community to meet their needs.
Older adult Alabamians are particularly vulnerable to fraud, exploitation, scams, and abuse. This issue has resulted in the elder law evolving to safeguard older adults and their families from harm. TheAlabama Department of Senior Services’Legal Assistance Programprovides free services to adults at least 60 years of age to protect and secure their rights, benefits, and dignity. These services include advice and counseling, document preparation, legal representation, estate planning, Medicaid, and housing.
Alabama also offerslegal helpfor low-income residents. Legal Services Alabama provides older adults with legal aid and assistance in civil matters and other resources available throughout the state.