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 San Diego

According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, assisted living residents in San Diego pay slightly less for services on an annual basis compared to the national average - a somewhat surprising metric, considering the city’s oceanfront locale. Assisted living prices check in at an annual rate of $42,000 per year, which is a tick less than the overall American average of $43,200. This breaks down to $3,500 per month, and $115 per day.

This annual price tag makes assisted living a competitively priced alternative for seniors that don’t want to continue to do upkeep on a home but are not ready for skilled nursing care. Assisted living in San Diego is quite a bit cheaper than home health care services, which average out to $51,366 on an annual basis. It is also substantially less expensive than nursing home care, which would annually cost about $93,805 for a semi-private room and around $127,750 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 San Diego assisted living

While each assisted living community strives to ultimately provide seniors with a safe, secure, and dignified living experience, each facility goes about approaching this goal in a different way. These differences are at least partially dictated by the neighborhoods that surround the facilities, and they are typically manifested through a facility’s varying menu of a la carte services that are included with the residents’ monthly fees.

What’s included in assisted living?

Most often, the following are included with 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.
  • Emergency call systems in each apartment to summon help when it is needed.
  • 24-hour security and supervision services, such as on-site security and on-call nursing assistance.
  • Basic utilities. These include items like water, electricity, and natural gas.
  • Daily meals and snacks. Typically, these are served restaurant-style in a centralized dining area.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services. These services usually include some sort of weekly cleaning and weekly linens change.
  • Wellness and fitness programs of all kinds, from on-site fitness facilities to yoga classes.
  • Medication services. This includes reminders for the seniors to stick on their medication schedules as well as reminders on refills.
  • Shopping and transportation services. These are oftentimes provided on a regularly scheduled basis and are tied to trips to local grocers, medical centers, and retail shops.
  • Social and recreational activities. These could include game nights, movie nights, religious services, or field trips to points of interest like Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

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

CalVet, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, helps the state’s numerous veterans navigate the VA benefits system. Veterans can also get involved in this assistance by volunteering to help fellow retirees determine their benefit rights.

San Diego is one of the country’s most premier destinations for military-based points of interest. A walk along the city’s coastline will allow you to encounter the USS Midway Museum, home to permanent and rotating exhibits devoted to telling the tale of its nearly 50 years of service to the country. Other intriguing points of interest such as the Marine Corps Command Museum and the San Diego Air & Space Museum are also located throughout the city.