Hale Law Blog

The Basics of Assisted-Living Facilities

Many seniors are attracted to the conveniences and safety an assisted-living facility can offer.

Assisted-living facilities became popular in the early 1980s, appealing to older individuals who wanted more support than they could afford to receive at home, while not yet needing the full services of a nursing facility. An assisted-living residence allows seniors to maintain much of their independence, with the added benefits of a built-in community and services. But keep in mind that though it is usually a transition residence, many seniors move in without thinking about how the move is a short-term solution. You may find a facility that offers a bus to take you shopping or has staff on hand to help with laundry, but if you become debilitated or develop a degenerative condition, the assisted-living facility may not be able to accommodate your needs. When looking for a facility, keep in mind what services and support you may need down the road, and if your changing needs can be accommodated.

In Texas, an assisted-living facility is defined as a facility which provides assistance with “activities of daily living.” Under that umbrella, there are several types of assisted living facilities:

Assisted Living – Type A
Residents must be able (both physically and mentally) to evacuate the facility unaided in the event of an emergency, must not require supervision during sleeping hours, must be able to follow directions.

Assisted Living – Type B
Residents may require staff assistance to evacuate the facility during an emergency, may be incapable of following directions, may require some supervision during nighttime sleeping hours, and may require assistance to transfer to and from a wheelchair. An assisted-living facility in Texas which has a unit solely for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s is required to be a Type B licensed facility. The staff of that unit is required to have completed specific training to best work with the needs of those residents.

Assisted Living – Type C
Type C facilities are multiple-bed, adult foster care programs.

Assisted Living – Type D
Residents must be independent, needing no assistance with activities of daily living except for minor supervision such as the dispensing of medications or assisting with blood pressure monitoring. Residents must be able to evacuate the facility within three minutes during an emergency and need no supervision while sleeping.

While residents tend to think of an assisted-living facility as a place where they will be safer and well-cared-for, it is important to note that there is no uniform, federally-mandated licensing for assisted-living facilities, and no standard for training of staff. Some states require as many as 25 hours of training by staff, other states only require that specific topics are covered in training.

The cost to live in an assisted living residence in Texas can be as low as $1,300 per month to as high as $6,000 per month; the average cost is $2,600 per month, according to the database at www.assistedlivingfacilities.org which compiled information on the 54 largest facilities in the state.

If you have concerns about an assisted-living facility or want to know more about your options, contact an elder law attorney at The Hale Law Firm.

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