Assisted living facilities are an ideal option for seniors that are looking to receive a measure of aid in order to go about their day to day living. The scope of this particular service is pretty wide, as it can stretch from preparing daily meals and helping them take medication to driving them around to handle various errands during the day. It should also be noted that these special services are not just reserved for those that need help completing various activities for daily living. Indeed, assisted living is a terrific option for those that want a break from having to handle home maintenance and would prefer to spend more time on enjoying the leisurely life of a retiree.

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The cost of assisted living in Atlanta

Assisted living in Atlanta checks in substantially below the national average - not too surprising, since the South tends to be a relatively cost-effective region. The 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey lists the average annual cost to be $36,720, which is much lower than the U.S. average of $43,200. On a per month basis, this annual figure breaks down to $3,060 per month. If you look at things from a daily rate, the cost hovers around $101 per day.

This price point is good news for seniors that exist in that area where skilled nursing home is not needed or maintaining a home is no longer desired. This is especially the case in relation to homemaker services or home health aide services, both of which cost $41,184 on an annual basis. It is certainly a more cost-effective option when compared to nursing home care in Atlanta, which average annual cost is roughly $72,051 for a semi-private room and about $80,665 for a private room.

For qualified veterans and their spouses, further assisted living savings may be obtainable via the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit, which can otherwise be known as the A&A Pension Benefit. This special benefit can provide a veteran up to $1,788 per month, a surviving spouse up to $1,149 per month, or a couple up to $2,120 per month. Furthermore, a veteran with a sick spouse that applies for the program is eligible to receive up to $1,406 per month. The process to qualify for the A&A Pension Benefit is relatively simple.

Eligible veterans or surviving spouses of eligible veterans must show the need for help with activities for daily living, otherwise known as ADLs. Some of these activities include bathing, cooking, dressing, medication management, leaving the house for errands and appointments, and grooming. With that being said, seniors do not need to demonstrate that they need help for all of these activities. Aid and Attendance funds can assist in paying for ADL services in numerous places, such as an assisted living community, skilled nursing home, or within the confines of the senior’s own home. For those that are interested, it should be noted that the application process could take several months from beginning to end, but retroactive payments are sent upon the program’s approval.

What can you expect?

While each assisted living community operates in a different manner, they all possess the same endgame of wanting to provide the best possible care for their golden age residents. You’ll find these facilities within the various districts of the city, from its upscale Buckhead neighborhood to its historic Midtown section. The "flavor" of each of these communities is somewhat driven by the neighborhoods they are in, and they could dictate what special a la carte services are offered, ranging from activities provided to the type of food that is available.

What’s included in assisted living?

Most likely, you can expect the following services to be included with your room and board:

  • Private living quarters -- this is typically the equivalent of a 1-bedroom or studio apartment, but it could range from a simple room to a multi-bedroom unit that’s roughly the size of a small house.
  • Round-the-clock supervision and security. This includes on-site security and on-call nursing aid.
  • Emergency call systems located in each apartment for easy aid summoning if needed.
  • Essential utilities such as natural gas, water, and electricity.
  • Daily meals and snacks. These are typically served up in a central dining area in the style of a restaurant.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services. This typically includes a weekly linens change and a weekly cleaning.
  • Medication services -- This usually includes reminders to take medication on time as well as reminders for prescription refills.
  • Wellness and fitness programs -- This could include traditional elements like an on-site gym or a pool, or it could include more modern activities such as yoga.
  • Transportation and shopping assistance. These are usually provided as part of a regular routine-driven schedule.
  • Social activities. These could include movie nights, game nights, holiday parties, and field trips to area museums and point of interest like the World of Coca-Cola Museum or the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

What may be available for an extra fee?

Some communities may also offer additional on-site perks that residents can pay extra to utilize. Typically, these perks can include private transportation, personal laundry service, beauty salon services, and massage sessions.

The continuum-of-care option

Additionally, many seniors look for an assisted living service known as a continuum of care, which essentially describes a facility that can provide accommodation for residents regardless of what their specific need may be. Residents in these particular communities typically don’t have to deal with as many big moves should their health or daily needs shift, and they will also remain in a familiar setting even if their health dictates that they have to move to a different building within the facility’s complex. Prices on continuum of care do fluctuate based on the actual service that is needed.

Resources, volunteer opportunities and points of interest for veterans

The Georgia Department of Veterans Service is an essential tool that helps the state’s veterans navigate through the VA benefits system. Veterans can also work with the Department of Georgia Volunteer Service (VAVS) in order to help fellow vets with the benefit process.
Atlanta’s rich military history is preserved throughout various points of interest throughout the city. The most notable of these is the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum, which shines the spotlight on the Battle of Atlanta and William T. Sherman’s infamous fiery campaign.