According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the 65-and-older population in the United States has increased significantly since 2010, led by the aging of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The nation’s 65-and-older population grew by over a third (34.2% or 13,787,044) during the past 10 years, and by 3.2% (1,688,924) from 2018 to 2019. Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that all baby boomers will be older than 65 by 2030. This growth in the older population will result in 1 out of 5 Americans being retirement age.
The fact of the matter is that, as the senior population grows, it becomes progressively more likely that a greater number of seniors will require some change in their living arrangements at some point in their lives. The choice to move to a more supportive living environment can create high emotions and uncertainty due to a lack of information about all the available options and what to expect. The key role of the Senior Living Advisor is to use their specialized senior living knowledge to help mitigate the complexity and confusion involved in the senior placement process. Understanding the services these advisors provide and the benefits they offer are important for anyone searching for proper senior living care for themselves or a loved one.
Senior Living Care in the U.S.
Some time ago, most seniors could only choose to either stay in their homes or reside in a nursing home. These days, however, our seniors have various living options available to them, including assisted living, memory care, independent living, in-home care, retirement condos, and more. Among these options, assisted living is the most rapidly growing care alternative for seniors, with more than 800,000 Americans presently living in assisted living communities according to the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. Despite the fact that assisted living is the fastest growing senior care option in the U.S., it is not always the appropriate choice in every situation. Moreover, with so many senior living communities popping up, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your particular needs, which is why an extensive assessment led by an experienced Senior Living Advisor is so valuable.
The Senior Living Advisor’s Role
Most Senior Living Advisors will not require clients to pay any fee for their senior placement services. Instead, they exclusively charge their fee to the community to which their client is being referred, and this fee is in no way added to the living cost charged to the client as a community resident. With no commitment to any specific senior living community, Senior Living Advisors, like those of Assisted Living Locators of Northern Virginia, follow a disciplined assessment process to make sure they can provide their clients with the best options available. This assessment process starts with a complete fact-finding review involving a series of questions intended to examine the client’s unique needs, values, interests, and lifestyle in order to identify communities that will ideally complement their client.
The Assessment Process
The detailed evaluation conducted by a Senior Living Advisor focuses on all the areas crucial to proper senior care, including:
- Mental, physical, and emotional status
- Activities of daily living, including bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting
- Financial management
- Contact with Medical Providers
In connection with each of these key areas, the Senior Living Advisor will ask you important questions related to your senior, such as:
- Can the senior move around independently, even with the aid of a cane or walker?
- Can the senior be left alone without supervision or assistance for 24 consecutive hours?
- During an emergency, would the senior require assistance evacuating the property?
- Has the senior been officially diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's disease by a medical provider?
- Does the senior have any complicated medical conditions?
- Is the senior able to manage and administer their own medication?
- Can the senior independently complete shopping and housekeeping tasks?
- Does the senior use the phone and make appointments independently?
Selecting the Right Senior Living Community in Northern Virginia
By performing a thorough assessment, the Senior Living Advisor can establish a fully detailed care profile on the senior. The advisor can then combine their expert senior living knowledge with the care profile information to help you choose the best community for your senior, while also considering communities conveniently located for family and friends to visit. If an assisted living community is selected, the senior will receive any necessary assistance with their activities of daily living (i.e., medication management, bathing, grooming, dressing, etc.). Many of these communities also include beauty and barbershop services, transportation to medical appointments, social activities, and various other amenities.
Seniors with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or other degenerative neurological conditions will reside in a memory care community where they will be provided a private or shared room in a safe, secure environment and receive care from trained memory care staff. Consider memory care as assisted living for individuals who require more specialized care due to a neurocognitive disease.
The costs associated with senior living care can fluctuate significantly. According to Genworth's 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Virginia is around $4,850 per month ($58,200 per year), whereas the average cost of memory care in Virginia is about 6,000 per month ($72,000 per year); based on the complexity of the care needed, level of care costs can potentially add around $2,000+ to the senior’s monthly assisted living or memory care costs. While private pay is typically the most common payment method for assisted living and memory care, a Senior Living Advisor can help you explore alternative payment methods to possibly offset those care costs.
A change in residence can be challenging, particularly for an individual who has built their life and memories in a particular home. Yet, an experienced, compassionate Senior Living Advisor can assist you with this difficult process, giving your family peace of mind knowing their loved one is receiving the right care in the best possible senior living community.