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 St. Louis

According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, assisted living residents in St. Louis pay just a little bit more than the rest of the country based on nationwide average. Assisted living prices here average out to about $44,040 per year in the city, as opposed to $43,200 for the US overall. That breaks down to $3,670 per month or $121 a day.

This average price point makes assisted living a very competitively priced alternative for seniors that don’t want to continue maintaining a home, yet are not ready to go the skilled nursing care route. Assisted living in St. Louis is just a little bit less than home health care services per annual average, as the cost of the latter services is an estimated $45,188. Assisted living also provides a substantial savings compared to the average annual cost of nursing home care, which could range from $60,225 for an semi-private room to $69,350 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 to expect in assisted living

While every assisted living community operates under the guise of providing a safe, secure, and dignified living experience to their residents, each of these facilities go about achieving this goal slightly differently. These differences are primarily dictated by the neighborhood that surrounds these communities, and these types of cultural and societal influences provide the facilities with their own unique "personality." Typically, these singular traits will manifest themselves through its own menu of a la carte services in addition to the services included in the residents’ monthly fees.
And each assisted living community offers its own menu of a la carte services in addition to the services that included with residents’ monthly fees.

What’s included in assisted living?

Typically, the following services are included with room and board:

  • Private living quarters. These can range from a simple room to a multi-bedroom space similar in size to a small house. Typically, these spaces will be a 1-bedroom apartment or a studio.
  • 24-hour security and supervision. These include on-call nursing services and on-site security.
  • Emergency call systems in each apartment should the need to summon help arise.
  • Basic utilities such as electricity, water, and natural gas.
  • Medication services. This includes reminders for the seniors to stick on their medication schedules as well as reminders on refills.
  • Wellness and fitness programs of all kinds, from on-site fitness facilities to yoga classes.
  • Daily meals and snacks. These are often served in a main dining area, restaurant style.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services. This typically is inclusive of a weekly cleaning and a weekly linens change.
  • Shopping and transportation aid. These are typically provided on a routine basis and usually involved trips to local grocers, medical centers, and retail shops.
  • Social and recreational opportunities. These range from game nights and movie nights to field trips to points of interest such as the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium.

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 Missouri Veterans Commission is on hand to help the state’s numerous vets navigate the VA benefits system. Veterans who want to help other vets figure out their benefits can do so via a volunteer basis.

St. Louis is home to several military points of interest, particularly places that are connected to the city’s involvement in the Civil War. The city offers a self-guided tour to explore many of these sights, which include stops at the Missouri Civil War Museum, Jefferson Barracks Historical Park and National Cemetery, and the Museum of Westward Expansion.