I have spent the last 12-15 days moving my 90 year old mother from a rest/nursing home to a place called an independent living facility.
"What is the difference?" you might ask. Well, about $3000 per month as it turns out.
The nursing/rest home is slightly less than $4000 a month and the independent living facility is just under $1000 per month (and the room in the ILF is wa-a-a-y bigger than the room in the nursing/rest home). But what is the real difference?
Seems to be about 1 meal per week--the independent living facility [ILF] does not serve a meal on Sunday evening.
I feel I am really not being fair to the nursing/rest home. There, physical vitals are checked every day (maybe twice or thrice for all I know). Medication is doled out as prescribed. Residents are checked-on several times per day to make sure the resident is OK generally. And the one where my mother was living treated her like a queen. They were good and gentle and frequently sat and talked with her (they were "interested"--something she accuses me of not being).
At the ILF, Mother must remember to take her medications herself--with a little help from me. I fill those lovely plastic pill thingies that are labeled for each day of the week and have room for pills in the a.m. and the p.m. But she must take them. I do not go twice each day to see that she takes her meds.
Both housing alternatives offer many planned activities. A resident in either can be as involved or alone as they want to be. Well, actually, the nursing home did spend a lot more time urging Mother to "come" to whatever activity was about to commence. The ILF prints and hands out planned activities on a monthly basis. However, the friends that Mother has there already and the new ones she is making help make sure she gets to the activities in which she has chosen to participate.
To my mind, the ILF offers one big advantage (besides the cost): going to see Mother in her room is a much more pleasant experience. You see, the residents in the ILF are more self-reliant and do not tend to be sitting around in wheelchairs with their heads drooping as they are in the nursing home.
Also, there is scheduled, structured physical activity/exercise at the ILF and not any (that I am aware of) at the nursing home unless the resident is in need of physical therapy. This seems to be helping Mother's physicality, balance, motion, stepping out in a confident manner.
All in all, if I can just get everything moved that Mother wants in her room, I think this is going to be a really good thing.
And now the disclaimer, this particular ILF is owned by the small, small town in which we live. There is no buy-in, entrance, nor endowment fee (that is never refunded). One just signs a simple rental agreement, pays a very reasonable "cleaning/refurbishment" fee, pays the first month's rent, moves in. So if the ILFs where you live are structured differently financially, then your experience may not be the same as mine.
Life. Ain't it a kick in the head?