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    What Is Assisted Living

    Assisted living is a way of life that allows you to remain independent, even though you may need help with some of your daily tasks such as:

    • Bathing and personal hygiene
    • Preparing meals
    • Managing medications
    • Getting back and forth to places like doctor's appointments
    What is Assisted Living

    What Does an Assisted Living Community Look Like?

    Assisted living communities come in various sizes and layouts and offer different types of residences. Accommodations can range from small bedrooms to lavishly outfitted apartments and detached homes.

    Assisted living communities may be separate communities or they may be part of a larger senior community that offers other levels of care, such as independent living, memory care, or skilled nursing care, for example.

    They are typically located in or near residential or urban areas, which means residents can feel like they are part of the overall neighborhood, community and county or city where they live.

    What's it Like to Live There?

    What is Assisted Living

    Depending on the type of residence you choose, you can still remain fairly independent while living in an assisted living community. For example, if you live in an apartment equipped with a kitchen, you can still cook some of your meals if that's something you enjoy doing. Meals are usually included in your monthly charges so you can also opt to take your meals in common dining areas, or have your meals delivered to your room when you don't feel like going out.

    Housekeeping and maintenance are also typically included in the monthly fees, plus laundry, utilities and transportation. You will also get a helping hand with daily tasks as needed, such as with taking a bath or keeping up with your medications.

    There are usually lots of scheduled activities ranging from yoga to painting classes. And you can choose to participate in as many of these as you'd like as often as you'd like. It's really up to you. You also have the freedom to continue to pursue many of your own unique hobbies and interests.

    There are usually lots of opportunities to socialize with other residents. You can also feel safe as most assisted living communities provide around-the-clock security. And you have the peace of mind knowing that help is nearby if you need it.

    Is Assisted Living Right for Me?

    Consider these statements below to determine if they describe you:

    Independence

    • I am still relatively healthy.
    • I like having my own living space.
    • I like being independent.
    • I am willing to move to a smaller home, or am unable to stay in my current home.
    • I prefer to live on my own, or do not have a relative or friend with whom I can live.
    • I no longer feel safe in my home.
    • I feel isolated in my home.
    Assisted Living Independence

    Daily Living

    • I need help getting in and out of the bathtub or taking a bath or shower.
    • I need help getting dressed.
    • I need assistance with personal grooming.
    • I get my medicines mixed up or can't remember when to take them.
    • I can no longer cook or need help preparing meals.
    • I can no longer drive or can only drive very short distances.
    • I do not have family or friends nearby if I need help with daily tasks.
      • If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you do not need regular nursing or medical care, then assisted living may be a good option for you.
      • If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you ­also need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:
        • Skilled nursing care if you can't stay in your home
        • Medical home health care If you want to stay in your home
      • If all or most of the Independence statements apply to you, but not the Daily Living statements, then consider these options:
        • Continuing Care Retirement Communities
        • Independent living
        • Active adult homes
        • Senior apartments
    What to Expect from Assisted Living?

    What to Expect from Assisted Living?

    Lifestyle

    Most facilities have a group dining area and common areas where you can socialize with other residents. They also offer lots of activities that are good for your body and mind. These include activities like:

    • Bingo
    • Wii Bowling
    • Movie nights
    • Live performances

    You can still remain as close as you want with your family while in assisted living. External doors are usually locked at a certain time each night for security; however, family can usually visit any time. There are no set visiting hours. Family members and close friends can even visit you at night after the doors are locked if you've provided them with a key to get in the building, at most communities. Some communities also allow you to have a pet as long as you are still able to care for it.

    Services

    There are basic services which are typically included in your monthly fees. These often include your meals, utilities, housekeeping, laundry service and transportation.

    You usually have the option of paying for additional services as you need them. These are sometimes called a la carte services because you only pay for what you need. These may vary slightly by community, but they typically include services such as medication management, physical therapy and skilled nursing care.

    Costs

    Costs of assisted living can vary greatly depending on:

    • Community location and amenities
    • Type and size of residence
    • Location of the residence within the community
    • Other factors

    Introduction to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Surrounding Areas

    The North Carolina town of Chapel Hill is located in the north central portion of the state on the Piedmont Plateau, about 30 miles outside of the state capital of Raleigh. The town, together with the cities of Raleigh and Durham, comprise the three legs of the so-called Research Triangle, named for a research park located between Durham and Raleigh. Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), the oldest state-supported university in the United States.

    Incorporated in 1819, the town was originally created to serve the University which had already been established before the end of the 18th century. In fact, the original map of the town shows 30 parcels of land wrapping around the northern, western, and eastern fringes of the campus. At the town's center is a hill on which once stood a Church of England house of worship called the New Hope Chapel. Although the Chapel is no longer there, the town's name serves as a reminder of its former prominence.

    Events and Points of Interest in Chapel Hill

    Chapel Hill is the site of the Festifall Street Fair, an annual October event which typically draws upward of 15,000 visitors. This arts and music celebration features live bands, international foods, numerous children's activities, and over 100 of the most creative crafts people and artists in the area. Another local October event is the Hargraves Fall Carnival, featuring entertainment and games. Local attractions include the Morehead Planetarium, one of the nation's original planetariums once used as an astronaut training site for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. The North Carolina Botanical Garden, located in Chapel Hill, is the largest natural garden of its kind in the southeast. Other popular Chapel Hill attractions include the following:

    • Coker Arboretum
    • Ackland Art Museum
    • The Chapel Hill Museum
    • Stone Center for Black Culture and History
    • Kidzu Children's Museum
    • Charles Kuralt Learning Center
    • Orange County Historical Museum

    Fans of collegiate sports couldn't find themselves in a better place than Chapel Hill. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels have won 37 team national championships in five different sports. The University competes in NCAA's Division I-A and participates in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Its teams are perennial powerhouses in women's soccer (18 national championships since 1981), men's basketball (5 national championships), men's lacrosse (3 national championships), and women's field hockey (4 national championships). The Tar Heel baseball team is also a consistent winner, most recently making it to the Championship Round of the 2006 College World Series. Notable alumni of the University's athletic program include Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm, among many others.

    Pro sports are not too far away either. Major league hockey resides in the nearby city of Raleigh, home of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes. Minor League Baseball can be found only minutes away from Chapel Hill in the nearby city of Durham, where the Durham Bulls play. The Bulls compete in the International League as the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.