San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging News: Assisted living continues to expand


By Kay Kaylor
SUN Columnist
At San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I have two main part-time roles. I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the region’s lead long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
With people living longer and the aging population increasing, designers of senior living options are expanding services while focusing on person-centered care. For example, assisted living residences try to achieve a more homelike environment, but can range in size from three to 200 bedrooms.
Assisted living homes attract people who need some support to remain safe and somewhat independent. Residents have their own bedroom and often bathroom, with a shared living room and communal dining area. Typical services include various levels of personal care, supervision, meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry, an exercise or therapy room, social activities and medication assistance. The average resident is older than age 80, staying for about two years.
Depending on location and type of care, costs might range from $4,000 to $7,000 or more monthly, so it is important to find out the pricing levels in a residence.
In Region 9, which includes five counties, 10 assisted living homes are licensed by the state of Colorado. Only a couple have some rooms for people who qualify for long-term-care Medicaid, with the majority requiring private pay. Medicare as a health plan does not cover living in long-term care homes, except for temporary medical rehabilitation. Specific insurance policies can cover such care.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call 264-0501 or send an email to