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If you're pondering whether to give assisted living facilities in Alaska (a.k.a. The Last Frontier) a chance at caring for your loved one, perhaps you should know that the state does have some great assisted living homes. While the weather might be a sticking point for some, there are more than a handful of reasons to make it the ideal location for elderly adults. This includes being a tax haven for residents, unique sights and friendly people. If you're quite the lively senior, you'll find that Alaska assisted living facilities offer you a chance to get acquainted with beautiful surroundings and other aspects of nature.
Types of Assisted Living in Alaska
Alaska offers some limited space for seniors who are relatively independent and require a place to live, with safety being the first concern, as well as assistance with daily activities. This may include assistance with dressing and bathing, for example. Alaska assisted living facilities can also be called adult foster care, residential care, and supportive living.
The assisted living homes in Alaska are small and offer some private rooms, suites and shared rooms. There’s a program that’s licensed by the state of Alaska called Pioneer Homes. This started in 1913 as a homestead for prospectors. Today, they can handle a capacity of 497 seniors at assisted living facilities.
Other than the above program, most spaces for Alaska assisted living units are private homes and small facilities, while there are a few larger assisted living communities in Anchorage with a capacity of up to 150. As compared to some other states, such as Washington that have separate licensing for senior foster care and assisted living, Alaska runs all facility types under the same umbrella as assisted living homes. Alaska assisted living homes and similar facilities have their licensing handled by the Alaska Department of Health.
Many seniors try out independent living in Alaska, which is a great choice if you're healthy and independent but prefer living with others who are in the same age-grade. For such care facilities in Alaska, there is on-site maintenance personnel to look after the housekeeping needs. This helps the seniors mind their health and well-being, as well as socialize with their new friends.
The Cost of Assisted Living in Alaska
At a whopping 48% higher than the national average of $4,050 per month, assisted living costs in Alaska come in first nationwide for being the most expensive, at $6,000 per month - and that doesn't even account for memory care. With smaller facilities and fewer choices, this can be a concern. The average retiree only collects a monthly income that’s fixed at $1,200 per month. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how much they need to cover the costs of assisted living in Alaska. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, somewhat, depending on whether they qualify for the programs we will discuss.
Fairbanks is at the top-end of the spectrum at $6,500 for assisted living communities in Alaska, with Juneu and Anchorage being comparable. The more isolated you are, the more the rates will fluctuate. Unfortunately, Alaska has unique characteristics that play a significant role in senior assisted living homes and their costs. So, if you're looking for the perfect assisted living facility in The Last Frontier, do proper research.
How You Can Pay for Assisted Living in Alaska
Once you’ve overcome the sticker-shock, you’ve got to figure out the most creative way to pay for your Alaska assisted living community.
Programs that help with paying for assisted living specifically include:
1. Alaskans Living Independently:
This program, known as (ALI), will pay for services other than assisted living, but it’s great for receiving care in senior assisted living homes. Some homes don’t offer full-time ADL care or care may be limited. Programs like this are aimed at helping you supplement the cost of assisted care in Alaska.
2. Alaska Senior Benefits Program:
The restriction on this program is that a recipient must not be living in a nursing home or a state-subsidized assisted living facility. Other than that, there’s no restriction on how you can use the cash allowance they provide.
3. Alaska Pioneer Homes:
As mentioned earlier, Alaska pioneer homes can be helpful for seniors who need assisted living care in Alaska.
Elderly Living Costs in Alaska
If you're looking to retire in Alaska or relocating there, you should know it's not as easy a proposition as other states. For one, the location is not as ideal and often, food has to be brought from long distances. Add to that the cost of utility seniors living in Alaska will have to put up with, which is one of the highest in the United States. Also, it's always very cold in Alaska, which means like others, your central heating will most likely be on 24/7. Having your central heating on most of the time only means one thing - more electricity bills than you can manage.
On the whole, senior living costs in Alaska are on the higher spectrum of things and markedly more than what you'd find in other states. Since you obviously need to eat, keep warm and do a host of other important things, it's best you look for areas with low senior living expenses in Alaska. One of such favorable places a senior can retire to is Fairbanks. It's rather light on the pockets since it's easy to get to for commuters and transported goods. Also, the cost of living in this Alaskan town is one of the lowest across the state.
Tips on Moving to an Assisted Living Facility in Alaska
Moving is never easy and stirs up different emotions. Observe these tips and moving to an assisted living facility in The Last Frontier won't prove quite as difficult as you imagined.
- Go over the materials before moving in. This includes paperwork, rules, and regulations.
- Get a list of permitted items and pack what's necessary.
- Socializing in Alaska assisted living facilities is important. Getting familiar with the activities schedule helps.
- Get acquainted with those in authority and other staff.
Assisted living communities in Alaska do pose a bit of a challenge; however, it’s not impossible to surmount. Begin with the resources here with a can-do attitude and you’ll have a better chance at landing the right assisted living community for your unique needs.