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 Richmond

Assisted living in Richmond checks in just above the national average. The 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey lists the average annual cost to be $46,155 which is far below the U.S. average of $43,200. On a per month basis, this annual figure breaks down to $3,846 per month. If you look at things from a daily rate, the cost hovers around $126 per day.

Assisted living is actually higher than the average range for home health care in Richmond, which ranges from $44,616 per year for homemaker services and $45,760 for home health aide services. Assisted living is also substantially less expensive on average than nursing home care in Richmond; the average cost for semi-private nursing home care in Richmond is $88,480 per year, and the average cost for a private room is $96,991 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.

No two assisted living facilities will be the same as each one has its own culture and personality. Richmond has 56 assisted living communities within the city, and then six more on the outskirt areas. Each facility offers its own set of amenities, and many create a personalized care plan based on the veteran's specific needs. Since the care provided to seniors is personalized, assisted living communities have standard services offered with the residents' monthly fees, but they also offer a wide selection of single add-on services that cater to a veteran's preferences.

What’s included in assisted living?

The most common services included with a resident's monthly payments include the following:

  • A private room – usually a studio or 1-bedroom apartment, but could also be a multi-bedroom space.
  • Emergency call systems in each room so that help can be summoned at any time.
  • 24-hour security, including on-call nursing assistance.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services.
  • Utilities such as electric, water, and natural gas.
  • Daily meals and snacks – all typically served restaurant style in the main dining area.
  • Medication management, including refill reminders.
  • Wellness and fitness programs based on individual likes and preferences.
  • Social and recreational activities such as themed parties, game nights, movie nights, and day trips to museums and performances.
  • Transportation to and from grocery stores, spas and salons, and retail shops.
  • Religious and spiritual services.

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 Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs has many resources available to veterans and their families. One of the most prominent resources they offer is the State Approving Agency for Veterans Education and Training (SAA) which approves educational programs offered by institutions and establishments operating in Virginia. The intention behind this program is to provide education for veterans through colleges and universities, trade programs, and on-the-job training programs.

Local veterans can also volunteer with the VA to help guide other vets on everything from dealing with life after service to navigating the tricky waters of veteran benefits. The VA encourages veterans to get involved by helping other veterans, and they provide additional training and options for those who do.

As for attractions, there are several points of interest for veterans. The Arlington National Cemetery is considered a top 10 place to visit for locals and tourists alike. This military cemetery is where the nation's service men and women are buried. It started with the American Civil War, but the cemetery has interred other soldiers from earlier wars, as well.

In addition, there is the Tomb of the Unknowns. Veterans can pay their respects to fallen soldiers whose remains were never identified. They can also witness the honor guard who serve to protect the tomb and keep the memory and honor of those fallen soldiers alive. And, for those who don't mind a short trip across the Potomac River, there is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It holds the largest collection of air and spacecrafts in the world. It's a great tribute to the advancement of technology over the years.