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 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?
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:
- 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.
- 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?
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:
- 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.
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 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 Charlottesville, Virginia and Surrounding Areas
The central Virginia city of Charlottesville is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, approximately 70 miles northwest of Richmond and 100 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Established as a town in 1762 and incorporated as an independent city in 1888, Charlottesville is autonomous and not subservient to any county or other political subdivision. Major highways through Charlottesville are U.S. Route 250, U.S. Route 29, and Interstate 64.
Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, which was founded in 1819 by native son Thomas Jefferson. Consistently listed among the top ten public universities nationwide, the university is a strong factor in the city's community life and serves as the area's focal point for cultural and sporting events. Steeped in historic value, the Charlottesville area lays claim to having raised three ex-Presidents (Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, and James Madison), whose former homes are now historic sites and architectural wonders which attract thousands of visitors every year.
Owing largely to the presence of the university, the technology industry is a continuously growing staple of the local economy. More traditional industries like agriculture are also prominent in the region, which embodies nearly 200,000 acres of orchards, vineyards, and cattle farms. The region's fastest growing industry is the grape business. Local wines and vineyards are nationally recognized and the area is highly ranked among the country's wine producers. Another significant local industry is horse farming, as evidenced by the more than 13,000 horses stabled in the city and surrounding county.
Things to do and see in Charlottesville
Nearly two million travelers per year visit the Charlottesville area to see the area's historic sites and take in the spectacular scenery of Central Virginia. Perched on a nearby mountain overlooking the city is Monticello, the former home of Thomas Jefferson, which offers tours and hosts special events and ceremonies. Only a mile down the road from Monticello is Ash Lawn-Highland, former home of James Monroe. Here visitors can explore beautiful gardens and enjoy the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, which offers six to eight weeks of full-length opera and musical theatre productions. About 45 minutes north of Charlottesville is Montpelier, the former home of James and Dolly Madison. This is a 2,750-acre estate that includes racecourses, a National Landmark Forest, active archaeological sites, and more than 130 buildings.
Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County are a paradise for nature lovers. Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway offer breathtaking views of valleys and mountains to tourists who don't even need to leave their cars. Hikers can enjoy the many short and long trails which wind through the woods off these roads. Charlottesville is also home to a large number of parks with playgrounds, picnic areas, public tennis courts, and swimming pools. Other popular area activities are hot air balloon rides, golf at world-class resorts, and tours of one of the many local vineyards in the area, a few of which are listed here:
- Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery
- DelFosse Vineyards and Winery
- Jefferson Vineyards
- Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard
Charlottesville has an active art, music and theater scene. The Downtown Mall, one of the longest outdoor pedestrian malls in the country, is the location of the Virginia Discovery Museum. A 3,500 seat Charlottesville Pavilion Amphitheater attracts big name acts to the area. The newly renovated Paramount Theater hosts Broadway shows and concerts by nationally-known entertainers. The city also hosts an annual Virginia Festival of the Book, and is home to many prominent writers including John Grisham and Rita Mae Brown, as well as former home to Edgar Alan Poe and William Faulkner.
Charlottesville has no professional sports teams, but local sports fans are captivated by the University of Virginia Cavaliers, who have a wide fan base across the region. Cavalier football games are played in Scott Stadium, which is also used as a venue for large concerts by such artists as the Rolling Stones and the Dave Matthews Band. The John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, is where the University of Virginia basketball teams play their games. This new stadium is one of the largest in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not surprisingly, The University of Virginia has an active athletic rivalry with Virginia Tech. An even older rivalry (often referred to as "The South's Oldest Rivalry") exists between the Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels.
Horseracing fans can enjoy the exciting world of steeplechase racing, held every fall and spring at The Foxfield Races.