Located in southeastern Texas, Austin is widely known as the Southwest’s arts and cultural hub. The city is famous for its museums, entertainment venues, and historical landmarks, and entertainment venues, and historical landmarks that make it stand out from other towns in the Lone Star State. Limitless opportunities for fun and leisure combined with year-round warm weather make Austin a popular destination, especially for retirement.
The city’s senior living options are diverse, including dozens of premier assisted living communities. This guide will cover the basics of assisted living in Austin and highlight the many reasons why residents love living there.
Austin Texas Assisted Living
Austin is one of Texas’ most populated cities, offering more assisted living communities than neighboring small towns. When families are comparing residences in the area, it can be challenging to weigh all the options with so many to choose from.
Each assisted living community is unique, offering its own set of services and amenities. Texas Health and Human Services classify residences into two categories, depending 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.
All assisted living residences provide personal care services, tailored for their residents. Personal care services include assistance with feeding, dressing, bathing, or walking, and general oversight of each person’s physical and mental wellbeing. They may also provide medication assistance or administration.
Along with standard personal care services, a residence must offer on-site meals to qualify as an assisted living community in Austin. Many go above and beyond these standards to provide recreational activities, both on and off-campus.
Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Senior Care in Austin, Texas
For many, assisted living is the right choice for senior living. For others, the choice isn’t so clear. There are critical differences between assisted living and other types of long-term care, and it’s important to choose the right community.
Assisted living communities are popular among families who may not feel safe living at home, due to changes in their health or physical capabilities. Trained caregivers help with their activities of daily living, according to each person’s individualized daily care routine. Along with personal assistance, many assisted living communities offer weekly housekeeping and on-call apartment maintenance.
Similar to assisted living communities, independent living programs offer on-call assistance, apartment maintenance, meals, and housekeeping. However, their staff does not provide routine support with each resident’s activities of daily living. Instead, independent living offers a home-like environment where residents can have around-the-clock peace of mind. They provide a cost-effective alternative to assisted living for families who need some help but are mainly self-sufficient.
Nursing Homes in Austin are unique from assisted and independent living. They offer health care services and ongoing medical attention, designed for people with acute or chronic injury and illness. They offer services residential care communities are not licensed to provide, like wound management and ambulation assistance.
Basic Assisted Living Amenities in Austin, Texas
Along with a variety of personal care services, many assisted living communities in Austin provide recreational events and social activities for residents. Events vary by residence and may include continuing education opportunities, arts and crafts sessions, exercise classes, and more. Communities may offer a dynamic monthly calendar with daily activities, making it easy for residents to plan their week ahead of time.
In addition to on-site activities, many assisted living communities sponsor group outings to nearby stores, restaurants, and more. Because many assisted living residents no longer drive when they move into their community, residences typically offer complimentary transportation services. Between group outings and scheduled transportation, it’s easy for assisted living residents to run errands, see local landmarks, and attend medical appointments.
On-campus, communities may offer amenities like libraries, outdoor patios, and more. Fitness centers are standard in many assisted living residences, as are computer centers with internet access. Luxury amenities like movie theaters and on-site hair salons are also standard at senior living residences throughout Austin.
Assisted Living Apartments in Austin, Texas
Transitioning from a privately-owned home to an assisted living apartment can be challenging for many people. Fortunately, assisted living communities design their apartments with these challenges in mind. Ideally, moving from a private home to an assisted living community should be an exciting experience, full of new potential and opportunity.
Assisted living communities may offer studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartment layouts, or any combination of the three. Typically, residents may live alone or with their spouse. Many residences offer co-habitation programs for individuals who aren’t moving in with a spouse, but who do not want to live alone.
Layouts are generally open and easy-to-navigate, minimizing falls and confusion. Studio apartments feature one large living area that doubles as a bedroom, while one and two-bedroom plans may include private quarters. Private bathrooms are standard, while kitchenettes are popular at most premier communities.
Other in-unit amenities may include individually-controlled heating and air conditioning, patios or balconies, and cable television hookups. Incoming residents usually move into unfurnished apartments, where they are welcome to decorate as they please.
Things to Do in Austin, Texas
Austin is a lively city full of endless opportunities. The metropolitan area is famous for its wide variety of world-class food, premier shopping venues, and historical landmarks. Outside the city, Austin residents enjoy breathtaking natural landscapes perfect for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is located in Austin, offering a one-of-a-kind experience with three themed exhibits. The Land, Identity, and Opportunity exhibits chronicle the state’s rich history, complete with authentic artifacts. The Texas Military Museum is also located in Austin, where history buffs can see genuine artillery, uniforms, and more.
With year-round warm weather, opportunities for outdoor adventure are plentiful near Austin. Mount Bonnell features a beautiful park set 800ft above sea level, overlooking the Colorado River. Zilker Metropolitan Park is another popular destination for residents, conveniently located in South Austin. The park is home to Barton Springs, the famous Zilker Eagle, and more than 400 acres of woodlands and sports fields.
Just outside of the city, residents will find the Circuit of the Americas. This newly-constructed racetrack is home to several of the nation’s most highly-spectated motorsport events, including Formula One’s Grand Prix of the United States.
Medical Facilities and Healthcare in Austin, Texas
As the state’s capital, Austin has a variety of premium hospitals and medical centers throughout the metropolitan area. Specialists are widely available, and many assisted living communities are located within minutes of a major hospital or medical center.
With complimentary transportation programs, communities make getting to appointments easy and worry-free. In some cases, residences partner with nearby healthcare providers to offer on-campus check-ups and urgent care services. In other cases, physician’s may visit assisted living communities once or twice a week to provide primary care.
According to U.S. News, the Seton Medical Center is Austin’s most highly-rated hospital, followed by St. David’s Medical Center and the Arise Austin Medical Center.
Funding Assisted Living in Austin, Texas
When families move into assisted living, paying for their services and room and board are usually their most significant concerns once they find their ideal community. Rent can be substantially higher than a typical apartment or home because it includes the cost of meals, utilities, transportation, and basic care. Some residents pay additional fees on top of their room and board for a la carte services.
Fortunately, there are options available to help families pay for assisted living in Austin. Many families pay out-of-pocket using their savings, but that isn’t the only way. Depending on a person’s financial, disability, and veteran status there are a handful of options to make assisted living more affordable.
Many communities accept long-term care insurance to pay for room and board. Families who have a long-term care insurance policy should investigate residential care communities in Austin that will work with them. Long-term care insurance is one of the best ways to pay for assisted living, but it requires years of planning - it’s best to buy long-term care insurance as early in life as possible for the most affordable premiums and the best benefits.
Families without long-term care insurance may qualify for need-based aid through Medicaid to pay for assisted living. Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for assisted living, but Medicaid offers unique opportunities to cover the costs of long-term care for some people. Texas provides two programs to offset the cost of assisted living for qualifying beneficiaries: the Community-Based Alternative (CBA) waiver and the Star Plus Medicaid waiver. Both waivers require recipients to prove that community-based care is necessary for their wellbeing. They must need ongoing assistance with their activities of daily living, which can be fulfilled by an assisted living residence. To learn more about Medicaid waivers in Texas, families should contact their local Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services Office.
Incoming assisted living residents who served in the United States Armed Forces may have access to special veterans’ benefits to pay for residential care. The Aid and Attendance benefit is one of the most common programs for veterans, providing additional monthly pension to make community-based care more affordable. To qualify for the Aid & Attendance benefit, a person must:
- Have served in the United States Armed Forces during a time of war and not been dishonorably discharged
- Be eligible for a monthly pension through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Require the aid and assistance from another person to perform their activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, eating, and maintaining their hygiene
To learn more about the Aid & Attendance benefit, veterans should contact their VA caseworker for information about their eligibility.
Regulations and Oversight of Assisted Living Communities in Austin, Texas
To guarantee assisted living communities are treating their residents with the utmost care and respect, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (THHS) oversees all community licensing. They sponsor 28 Area Agencies on Aging that offer services for adults aged 60 and older. They help families locate senior living communities throughout the state and connect them with essential resources, like legal teams and caregiver counseling.
Part of the AAA’s role is to sponsor the statewide Long-term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) program. The LTCO program helps long-term care residents connect with legal resources in cases of abuse or neglect. It’s free for assisted living residents and their families to contact the LTCO with information about mistreatment. The LTCO also oversees regular inspections and other programs to ensure communities are meeting the state’s senior living standards.
Choosing an Assisted Living Provider in Austin, Texas
Think Austin is the right place to retire? Before making a move, it’s time to contact communities throughout the city, gather information, and schedule tours. Choosing an assisted living residence is a significant milestone, signifying a person’s transition from private living to residential care. It’s important to pick a community that offers everything the incoming residents needs in a comfortable environment.
Before a resident may move into an assisted living community in Austin, they must go through an entrance interview so the community can determine if they will meet their needs. A residence must guarantee they can meet a person’s level of care before admitting to protect the individual’s wellbeing.
In some cases, a person’s preferred assisted living community may not have vacancies when they apply. If this happens, there is no cause for concern - most communities have waiting lists when they are at capacity. To avoid waiting lists (and to avoid postponing move-in day because of waiting lists), apply to communities as early as possible. Be prepared for some communities to have a waiting list and choose more than one suitable residence in case.