Located in the heart of Texas, Dallas is home to more than 1.3 million people. Thanks to the area’s year-round warm weather, an abundance of activities, and spectacular views, Dallas is quickly becoming a southern hotspot for retirement.
Throughout Dallas, assisted living communities assist people who need help with their activities of daily living. A wide variety of different care options are available, customizable to each person’s individual needs. This guide will detail what makes retiring in Dallas so unique, and what to look for when comparing assisted living communities in the area.
Dallas Texas Assisted Living
Dallas is one of Texas’ most bustling metropolitan hubs. The city offers everything from upscale shopping to world-class hospitals. When an individual retires in Dallas, they can rest assured they will find fun activities to do without going far from home.
The Texas Health and Human Services Department oversees all assisted living licensure in Dallas, classifying communities into two major groups. Which group a community is organized into depends on the level of care they provide:
- Type A communities, where residents do not require regular assistance during their sleeping hours, and they are capable enough to follow instructions during an emergency (like a fire or during severe weather).
- Type B communities, where residents need nighttime assistance and they are not capable of evacuating during an emergency without help.
A community must provide assistance with residents’ activities of daily living for the Texas Health and Human Services Department (THHSD) to classify them as assisted living. If a person needs help with bathing, dressing, eating, or maintaining personal hygiene, an assisted living community must be able to assist according to the guidelines set forth by the THHSD.
In addition to personal care services, communities must provide nutritious meals for residents on-campus to qualify as an assisted living residence in Dallas. Many communities offer restaurant-style, gourmet meals, while others offer around-the-clock programs where residents can dine wherever they please. However communities implement meal times, they must produce three a day to meet the THHSD’s requirement.
Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Senior Care in Dallas
Assisted living is a popular option for long-term care, but several different types may be more suitable for certain people. Depending on a person’s care needs, assisted living may or may not be the right choice for them individually.
When a person needs help with their activities of daily living, assisted living may be the best choice. It offers more direct assistance than independent living while preserving each resident’s sense of self-sufficiency. Residents are free to live however they please, attending events and enjoying alone time at their discretion. Unlike living at home, however, help is there when they need it.
Independent living is similar to assisted living, with less daily intervention. Instead, independent living provides a maintenance-free lifestyle for people who want to live freely, but who do not want to worry about chores or getting around. Independent living communities in Dallas are often resort-style, offering a wide variety of fun activities and unique amenities on-campus to create an all-in-one experience for residents. They may also provide transportation to and from local points of interest, similar to assisted living.
The main similarity between independent living and assisted living is the non-medical aspect of their care. Unlike nursing homes, residential care communities do not provide ongoing medical attention for residents. They are not licensed to in Texas, unlike nursing homes.
Nursing homes provide a safe place to live for people with chronic illness or injury. They are staffed with health care professionals who can assist with specific medical procedures. If a person needs the medical services made available in a nursing home, an assisted living community may not be a viable alternative.
Unlike independent and assisted living where residents often stay long-term, many nursing home stays are short and last only until the person recovers. In many cases, a person may move from a nursing home to an assisted living community when they no longer require ongoing skilled nursing care. Like independent and assisted living residences, there are many nursing homes located in Dallas, each with their unique benefits and amenities.
Standard Assisted Living Amenities in Dallas, Texas
To qualify as an assisted living community Dallas, a residence must provide personal care services on-campus. These personal care services typically include assistance with activities of daily living, like bathing, eating, dressing, or maintaining personal hygiene.
All communities are required to provide three nutritious meals a day following each resident’s individual dietary needs. If a person has allergies or religious objections to a specific food, kitchen staff must be willing to make adjustments as necessary so they can enjoy a balanced meal.
Many residences provide scheduled transportation throughout the city, either by shuttle or through partnerships with ride-sharing services. They may also offer housekeeping and apartment maintenance to help residents with typical household chores.
Along with meals, assisted living communities in Dallas provide social activities and recreational events to help residents stay active. A residence may have a monthly schedule of events for residents to attend on or off-campus, including learning opportunities and group outings. The events for each community may vary greatly, so it’s important to ask questions about upcoming activities when touring a residence.
Other popular on-site amenities include libraries, hair salons, computer centers, outdoor patios, and community living rooms. Some communities go above and beyond, offering movie theaters and themed diners.
Assisted Living Apartments in Dallas, Texas
The THHSD does not require assisted living communities in Dallas to provide private living arrangements, however many residences offer them. Some offer semi-private suites to provide cost-effective options for residential care while others offer private apartments. Prospective residents should clarify with their preferred community which types of apartments they offer so they can get a unit that will suit their needs.
In semi-private units, no more than four people may share one apartment. At least half of a community’s apartments must house two or fewer people, as to prevent overcrowding. All apartments must offer a bathroom with a toilet and sink, one for every four residents.
In Dallas, units are defined as “assisted living apartments” if they:
- Are single-occupancy (may be double-occupancy by request)
- Offer private spaces with individual living areas and sleeping areas
- Have ample storage space
- Have kitchens
Units are considered “residential care apartments” if:
- They offer two bedrooms, each with a single occupant
- They have a shared kitchen
- They have a private bathroom
Things to Do in Dallas, Texas
As one of the Lone Star State’s largest cities, there are unlimited options for fun and leisure throughout Dallas. Assisted living residents may enjoy the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a 66-acre spectacle featuring special classes, events, and more. The Gardens provide accommodations for visitors with disabilities and offer discounted tickets for visitors age 65 or older.
The Dallas World Aquarium is another fun attraction, offering a full day’s worth of aquatic adventure. Visitors enjoy tastefully designed exhibits, educational programming, and more, all for an affordable entry fee. Many communities provide group outings to the aquarium, along with other popular destinations throughout Dallas.
Thanks to the year-round warm weather in Dallas, any day is a good day to visit the local zoo. The Dallas Zoo spans an impressive 106-acres, located just south of downtown. Since opening its doors in 1888, the Dallas Zoo has been the longstanding oldest zoological park in the nation. Visitors can see more than 2,000 animals at the zoo, from more than 400 different species.
Museum-goers and art lovers alike will enjoy the Dallas Museum of Art, located in the Arts District of Downtown Dallas. The museum features unique exhibits regularly, frequently displaying world-famous art from historically renowned artists. Prospective visitors should take a look at the museum’s upcoming events and programming to learn more and plan their visit.
Outside of the Dallas metropolitan area are some of the nation’s most beautiful natural sights. The rolling Texas hills span in every direction, providing the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures.
Medical Facilities and Healthcare in Dallas, Texas
As a large metropolitan city, there is an abundance of hospitals and medical centers in Dallas. Many assisted living communities in Dallas are located minutes away from professional health care, providing peace of mind for residents.
To make getting medical attention easier, many assisted living residences in Dallas provide transportation to and from appointments. While residential care communities are not licensed to offer ongoing skilled nursing care, they may arrange physician visits to make medical care more accessible for their residents.
Funding Assisted Living in Dallas, Texas
When families consider assisted living, funding is usually one of their biggest concerns. Residential care may cost substantially more than a privately-owned house or apartment, and incoming residents should consider ways to pay for long-term care ahead of time to adequately prepare.
Long-term care insurance is a popular solution to finance assisted living in Texas, but it requires pre-planning to be cost-effective. The earlier in life a person buys a long-term care policy, the more affordable their monthly premiums will be. Incoming residents who have long-term care policies should contact their preferred communities to learn more about paying with their coverage.
Paying out of pocket is another common way to pay for assisted living in Dallas. Many families save money before their retirement to pay for long-term care when they retire. If a person has enough retirement savings, assisted living can be financially viable. Some residents combine their monthly retirement paychecks with their savings to pay for long-term care, letting them live a maintenance-free life without debt.
Medicaid recipients may qualify for financial assistance to pay for assisted living, courtesy of the Community-Based Alternatives (CBA) and Star Plus waivers. To qualify, a person must:
- Meet Medicaid’s general financial requirements to be eligible for standard benefits
- Require community-based assistance to preserve their wellbeing
- Require ongoing assistance with their activities of daily living
If a person does not qualify for Medicaid in Dallas, they may not receive the CBA or Star Plus Waivers for pay for assisted living. To learn more about qualifying for Medicaid waivers in Dallas, families should contact their local Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services Office.
Assisted living residents who served in the United States Armed Forces may qualify for additional financial assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA offers a program called Aid & Attendance for veterans who need ongoing support from another person. The benefit is paid in addition to a person’s monthly VA pension and is intended to pay for their residential care. For more information about eligibility and payment, veterans should contact their VA caseworker.
Regulations and Oversight of Assisted Living Communities in Dallas, Texas
In Dallas, all assisted living communities operate under the oversight of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (THHS). The THHS provides licensing for all long-term care communities in Texas, ensuring they offer the right services and amenities.
The THHS sponsors 28 local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) throughout Texas, offering essential services for adults aged 60 and older. Families can get in touch with their local AAA for help finding assisted living communities, to report complaints about a residence, and seek legal advice in cases of neglect or abuse (courtesy of the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program).
Choosing an Assisted Living Provider in Dallas, Texas
With year-round warm weather, stunning sights, fun outdoor activities, and world-class resources, Dallas is rightfully a favorite place to retire. The city is home to a wide variety of senior living communities, including dozens of resort-style assisted living residences.
Finding the right assisted living community is essential. Families should take their time comparing residences, determining which amenities they need, their price range, and their living preferences. Once prospective residents have a list of potential communities, touring them is the best way to see them up close and learn more about living there.
In many cases, a person’s preferred assisted living community may not have vacancies when they want to move in. Typically, residences will put the person on a waitlist for a room. To avoid being waitlisted, prospective residents should find a handful of communities they like and prioritize them.