Arizona is famous for its sunny skies, warm weather, and breathtaking natural sites. People flock to the area for everything it has to offer, and Tucson is no exception. Located in Southern Arizona near the United States and Mexico border, Tucson is a moderately-sized city with limitless opportunities for fun and entertainment. Along with dozens of organic points of interest, the area is home to a wide variety of senior living communities, including Assisted Living residences.
All assisted living residences in Tucson are subject to the state’s regulations regarding personal care, housing, and amenities. This guide will discuss the state's regulations for assisted living communities, so families can have a better idea of what to expect when they apply for residential care in Tucson.
Tucson Assisted Living
In Arizona, the Division of Public Health licensing Services, Bureau of Residential Facilities Licensing, licenses all assisted living facilities. Previously, Arizona had six individual licensing categories for residential care institutions, which are now consolidated into one universal category. Communities are divided into subcategories depending on the level of care they provide.
Assisted living facilities are defined as residential care entities that offer supervisory care services, personal care services, or directed care services. They must provide these services on an ongoing, continuing basis.
Supervisory care services include general supervision and daily monitoring of each residence personal needs and abilities. Communities that offer supervisory care services must have the ability to provide emergency services in a crisis situation, and they must provide assistance with each resident's self-administration of prescriptions and other medications.
A community that offers personal care services offers assistance with residents’ activities of daily living, including eating, dressing, and maintaining personal hygiene. They may also coordinate intermittent nursing services, and they may administer treatments or medications.
Directed care services are defined as programs and services which are designed for individuals who cannot reliably recognize danger, request assistance, Express their needs, or make basic care decisions. These services are the most comprehensive of the three categories and are reserved for those with the most advanced personal and health care needs.
Assisted living facilities may not accept or retain residents who are unable to direct their self-care, or who require ongoing, continuous medical services. If a person presents a danger to their own health or the safety of other residents in the facility, the community of may terminate their residency without notice.
Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Long-Term Care in Tucson, Arizona
While popular, assisted living is not the only type of long-term care available in Tucson, Arizona. In fact, some individuals may be better suited by other types of residences, depending on their personal care needs.
For example, assisted living is ideal for those who need ongoing help with their activities of daily living. Depending on the community, a residence may provide a variety of long-term care services tailored for those who need help transitioning through their day. However, not everyone requires assistance with their activities of daily living when they retire, but they may want to enjoy the benefits of community-based living that come with residential care.
In these situations, independent living may be a more appropriate choice for care. Independent living communities do not provide the same level of assistance as assisted living communities, but they provide many of the same social activities, events, amenities, and more.
Just as a person may enjoy transportation services, on-site meals, and housekeeping at an assisted living community, they can do the same at any of Tucson's many independent living residences. However, a family should be aware that independent living does not offer the same level of daily assistance as an assisted living community, and may not be the right choice for everyone.
Additionally, families may consider nursing homes as an alternative to residential care if they need ongoing medical assistance to manage chronic illness or injury. Assisted living communities and independent living residences are not equipped to help those who need continuous health care services and are not staffed accordingly. However, nursing homes are subject to unique staffing requirements that make them more readily acquit to help those who need ongoing medical attention, making them the appropriate choice for many families and individuals.
It's important for those approaching retirement to speak with their position and their prospective communities to learn more about which services they need daily. And assisted living community is not permitted to admit individuals who they cannot adequately care for on site, so it's important for prospective retirees to define their needs before applying to a residence.
Standard Assisted Living Amenities in Tucson, Arizona
Along with services and housing, the Division of Public Health Licensing Services also regulates the amenities assisted living communities in Tucson must provide. These amenities may vary by community but must fall in line with the state's regulations if a resident wants to maintain their license.
assisted living communities in Tucson May provide supervisory care services, personal care services, directed care services, Behavioral Health Services, and or ancillary services. Before a community may obtain its Assisted Living license, they must outline the scope of their services in writing. Communities are licensed according to the care services they provide.
If a community is licensed to provide directed care services, they must Implement procedures and policies that guarantee the safety of residents who are at risk of wandering, and they must provide activities that promote cognitive stimulation to maximize their residents’ functionality.
Assisted living facilities must provide service planning that outlines each resident's individual medical and health care needs, including their physical, cognitive, behavioral, and functional conditions and impairments. The service plan should outline the level of care each resident is expected to receive during their stay, and to discuss the type, amount, and frequency of services they will receive.
Facilities must provide medication administration or assistance with self-administration. They may monitor each resident’s individual needs, self-administration of medications, and provide medication procurement. Medication assistance services may include reminders when it is time for a resident to take their medication, opening the medication container for the resident, and observing the resident as they remove their medication and take their dose. The amount of medication assistance a community provides depends on each resident's individual needs.
All assisted living communities in Tucson must provide snacks and meals according to the federal dietary guidelines. Residents must have access to a nutritionally balanced diet that meets their individual needs and follows any therapeutic diet plans that are outlined in their service plan. Special utensils and adaptive eating equipment should be available when residents and eat them to eat.
Assisted Living Apartments in Tucson, Arizona
The Division of Public Health Licensing Services regulates the types of apartments and private units assisted living communities in Tucson must provide.
The state does not require apartment-style units, and assisted living centers are permitted to offer residential units that are single or double occupancy. All residential units must offer a keyed entry, a resident-controlled thermostat, a private bathroom, and a kitchen area, complete with a refrigerator, cooking appliance, sink, and adequate space for food preparation.
At an assisted living home, which is defined as a residential care facility that houses up to 10 residents, a residence sleeping space must be on the ground floor unless the resident is capable of directing their self-care. The resident must also be ambulatory without assistance, and there must be at least two unobstructed usable exits that connect the residents sleeping area to the outside of the community.
Additionally, apartments may offer resort-style amenities that are not outlined in the state's regulations or guidelines, which may include (but are not limited to):
Patios or balconies
Cable or Internet hookups
Each community is unique, so it's important for families to discuss their preferred residences Apartments before committing. Touring communities is a great way to see their apartments before applying, giving prospective residents an idea of what they can expect when they call the community home.
Things to do in Tucson Arizona
Located in the breathtaking Southwestern corner of the United States, Tucson offers some of the most unique natural beauty families won't find anywhere else in the nation. With year-round warm weather and inexplicably sunny skies, there's plenty to do in Tucson, both indoors and out.
One of the area's most popular destination is the Saguaro National Park, home to a wide variety a saguaro cactus. The park was named for its large population of saguaro cactus, which are native to the environment. Currently, the park offers a variety of walking trails, picnic areas, and more, making it an excellent destination for those who want to enjoy a day in the sun.
The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is another popular destination, offering breathtaking views of one of the state's largest Canyons. The Canyon is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest, just north of Tucson. The area is popular among hikers and cyclist, offering many miles of walking and biking trails.
Looking for something fun to do inside? The Pima Air and Space Museum is a must-see point of interest in Tucson, and is one of the largest non-government funded collections of aerospace history in the nation. The museum displays nearly 300 unique at aircraft, which spanned more than 80 acres. The museum is also home to the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, making it a top destination for history buffs and aerospace fans alike.
Funding Assisted Living in Tucson, Arizona
Paying for long-term care can seem challenging as families approached retirement. There's a lot to think about, especially for those who are going to pay for assisted living on a set income. Fortunately, there are a variety of opportunities available to help families pay for long-term care, including specialized insurance policies and government subsidized benefits for the financially eligible.
In recent years, long-term care insurance has become one of the most popular ways to pay for assisted living. Health care programs and Medicare will not pay for assisted living, however long-term care insurance will cover many of the cost of care at eligible facilities. Many facilities in Tucson accept long-term care insurance as payment, making it a viable alternative to paying out-of-pocket for families to plan in advance.
However, a family should be aware that long-term care insurance will cost more each month the closer they are two retirement age when they purchase their policy. It's important for families to plan years in advance if they are going to use long-term care insurance to pay for assisted living, so they can secure the most affordable monthly premiums and save the most money overall.
When paying out of pocket and long-term care insurance are not an option, families have access to a variety of government subsidized programs to help them pay for assisted living. For example, Medicaid offers a home and community-based services waiver designed for those who need long-term assistance but who cannot pay for it. This program is reserved for eligible Medicaid recipients, who require assistance with their activities of daily living to perform functionally.
If a person is not financially eligible for Medicaid’s standard benefits, they may not receive the Home and Community-based Services waiver. For more information, Medicaid recipients or prospective waiver beneficiaries should contact the state's Medicaid office directly to learn about applying for and receiving a Home and Community Services based waiver.
Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a unique program for those who served in the United States armed forces and who are not dishonorably discharged. The program, known as aid and attendance, is exclusive to those who are financially eligible and who maintain veteran status. The program pays a cash award monthly, which beneficiaries may use to pay for any facet of long-term care - including assisted living.
For more information about the aid and attendance program, veterans and their families should speak with their Department of Veterans Affairs caseworker to learn more about their personal eligibility.