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 Tampa

Assisted living in Tampa 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 $36,000, which is much lower than the U.S. average of $43,200. On a per month basis, this annual figure breaks down to $3,000 per month. If you look at things from a daily rate, the cost hovers around $99 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. Homemaker services cost $42,900 and home health aide services cost $46,057 on an annual basis. It is certainly a more cost-effective option when compared to nursing home care in Tampa, 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?

Every assisted living facility carries an endgame of providing a comfortable, dignified living experience to its senior residents. However, these facilities go about accomplishing this particular goal in different, unique ways. The difference in these facilities is largely tied to the ambiance and culture of the neighborhood that surrounds them. For example, a facility that is located near the bustle of downtown Tampa will have a much different ambiance and personality than those located in the sections of Tampa near the suburbs. Each of these communities usually expands their individuality via various a la cart services that residents can utilize through an out-of-pocket expense, which are in addition to the services included in their monthly fees.

What’s does assisted living entail?

The following services are usually included within a room and board fee:

  • Private living spaces. These spaces are usually the size of a studio or a 1-bedroom apartment, but they can sometimes be 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 staff.
  • Emergency call systems in each living space, in the event that a sudden emergency occurs.
  • Basic utilities such as natural gas, water, and electricity.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services, typically inclusive of a weekly cleaning and linens change.
  • Daily snacks and meals. These are usually served restaurant style in a central dining area.
  • Wellness and fitness programs. These include traditional services such as on-site fitness facilities to more modern services such as yoga classes.
  • Medication services, such as reminders on prescription refills and reminders for seniors to stay current with their medication schedule.
  • Shopping and transportation assistance. These are typically provided on a regularly scheduled basis and are built around trips to medical centers, local grocers, and retail shops.
  • Social and recreational activities. Some of these functions include game nights, movie nights, holiday parties, religious services, and excursions to local points of interest such as the Tampa Museum of Art or the Florida Aquarium.

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 Florida Division of Veterans Affairs, or the Florida DVA, is an organization that helps guide veterans within the state through the VA benefits system so they can make decisions that best fit their needs. Additionally, the Florida DVA is set up to allow veterans to volunteer to help fellow vets decipher their benefits.

The primary military-themed point of interest in Tampa proper is the SS American Victory. This impressive vessel saw duty during World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War and is now a floating museum complete with permanent exhibits. Outside of Tampa in the suburb of Largo is the Armed Forces History Museum; a massive space that’s home to various exhibits and artifacts dating back to World War I.