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 Houston

According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the cost of assisted living in Houston is just about in line with the nationwide average. Average assisted living prices here check out in $43,500, which just a few hundred dollars more than the average American price of $43,200. This breaks down to $3,625 per month, or $119 per day.

These numbers translate to a competitively priced alternative living space for seniors that do not need nursing care, yet do not want to continue to maintain a home. Assisted living in Houston is just about the same price as Home Health Care, with homemaker services in the city costing nearly the exact amount and home health aide services costing $44,616. It should also be noted that assisted living in Houston is a cost-effective option when it comes to nursing home care, as a semi-private nursing care room costs about $54,933 per year and a private nursing care room costs around $83,038 per year.

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 is assisted living in Houston like?

Every assisted living community goes about providing care for their senior residents in a different manner, even though they collectively strive to provide a comfortable and secure living experience for those that live in their facilities. Each of these communities differs by having their own personality and culture that is in large part dictated by the neighborhood that they are located. For instance, an assisted living facility in the upscale Uptown District would provide a community-consistent living experience that is completely different than the suburban Spring Branch neighborhood. These differences are typically manifested through the menu of a la carte services that each facility offers in addition to the base services included within the residents’ monthly fees.

What’s included in assisted living?

More often than not, the services a senior can expect to see at an assisted living center include the following as part of their room and board:

  • Private living quarters. While they can be as large as a multi-bedroom space the size of a small house, they are usually a studio or 1-bedroom apartment.
  • Emergency call systems in each apartment unit in order to call for help if needed.
  • 24-hour security and supervision. This includes on-call nursing aid as well as on-site security.
  • Daily meals and snacks. These are oftentimes served restaurant style in a main dining area.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services. These typically include a weekly cleaning and linens change.
  • Basic utilities, such as electricity, water, and natural gas.
  • Wellness and fitness programs. These can include old-school activities like on-site fitness rooms and a pool as well as more modern options like yoga classes.
  • Shopping and transportation assistance. These are often provided on a routine scheduled basis and usually entail trips to local grocers, retail shops, and medical centers.
  • Medication services, such as reminders to take medication on schedule and reminders on refills.
  • Social and recreational activities. These include things like movie nights, game nights, holiday parties, or field trips to points of interest such as the bevy of museums found in the city’s Museum District or Minute Maid Park.

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 Texas Veterans Commission provides assistance to the state’s numerous veterans, helping them through the ins and outs of the VA benefits system. Veterans that wish to help provide assistance to fellow retired vets as they figure out their benefits can do so by volunteering.

Houston is a place that is filled with opportunities to explore the country’s military past and adventurous future. The most notable military-themed place in Houston to visit is the National United States Armed Forces Museum: Military Museum of Texas, which specializes in showcasing military vehicles. And those that thrill to the thought of the final frontier can take a tour of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.