Wisconsin Assisted Living

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The legal licensing term for Assisted Living in the State of Wisconsin is Residential Care Apartment Complexes, Community-Based Residential Facilities and Adult Family Homes. The governing body that licenses Assisted Living and nursing home facilities in the State of Wisconsin is Bureau of Assisted Living through the Division of Quality Assurance. For the purposes of this document, we will refer to facilities in general as “assisted living facilities”, even though they may be licensed as residential care facilities or AFHs.

Overview of Assisted Living Facilities in Wisconsin

There are nearly 4,000 assisted living facilities in the Badger State, established taking care of the elderly. The residents in these communities can generally take care of themselves. They will only require a particular level of assistance that they need to flourish, such as healthcare, access to social events/opportunities, and attentive caregivers.

Residents of Wisconsin assisted living facilities will get help with meal prep, laundry, showering, 24-hour surveillance, housekeeping and more. Most residents usually live in a private living space – just like a condo or apartment – with a private kitchen and bathroom. Elderly couples are generally allowed to stay together.

Residents of assisted living facilities in Wisconsin can choose the level and type of senior care services they need help with. They also get to enjoy an excellent level of socialization and can participate in organized residential excursions and trips to the movies, museums, and the beautiful Wisconsin landmarks.

Unit Requirements & Regulations for Assisted Living in Wisconsin

First, all assisted living facilities in Wisconsin must comply with the regular building codes for the city they are in. That includes all ordinances and zoning requirements. They must also comply with the Wisconsin admin code chapter DHS 83 sub chapters 4, 5 and 6. These pertain to the safety and the physical environment and any additional requirements to keep senior care facility residents safe. The minimum number of beds allowed in a Wisconsin assisted living facility is 5. The minimum sleeping room size can hold a minimum of 60 and a maximum of 100 square feet, which depends on the licensing that a particular facility has in their classification.

There are three classifications for seniors who are residents at assisted living facilities in Wisconsin: 1) ambulatory is number one and that means that seniors can walk by themselves without use of ambulation equipment, which means walkers, wheelchairs and the like; 2) Semi ambulator, which means that the seniors do use ambulatory equipment like wheelchairs and walkers; and 3) Non-ambulatory, meaning that the seniors are wheelchair-bound.

The next consideration in assisted living licensing is determining whether the structure for the Wisconsin assisted living facility is new or old construction. Another question is, are the units private or shared occupancy? All the construction requirements including all the fire safety and all accessibility depend on the size of the facility and on the class of the facility. The class is defined by whether or not the residents of the senior care facility can evacuate on their own in an emergency, respond to fire alarms and act on their own without any verbal or physical prompting.

For the bathroom requirements, there must be one toilet one sink and either a tub or shower unit for every 10 residents.

Cost and Payment Options for Assisted Living in Wisconsin

Statewide, the cost for assisted living in Wisconsin is currently $4,300 monthly, and that is $300 over the national average which is $4,000. The cheapest assisted living facilities are in Lacrosse at $2,638 per month average cost, which is well below the national average. The costliest assisted living facilities are in Milwaukee at $4,264 average, Wausau at $4,644 and Sheboygan at $4,674. The city that hits the top at most expensive is Oshkosh at $5,000 average cost.

When you consider dementia and Alzheimer’s care, it will bring you to a range of $860 to $1,290 extra over the top of the above figures, bringing the most expensive city of Oshkosh to $6,000+ estimated monthly cost with memory and Alzheimer's care.

For seniors who are struggling to cover the high cost of senior living in Wisconsin, MAPC Medical Assistance Personal Care Program will cover assisted living personal care services only, but not room & board. The income cap for this program is $2,313. There may be a spend-down program by which you can lower the income amount to the amount that the state requires, if the senior’s income is only spent on medical bills.

Wisconsin can be an excellent retirement option for many seniors who prefer diverse landscapes, the great mix of small and large cities, as well as the overly friendly communities. The Great Lakes are also close to any part of the area, so elders who love the outdoors can visit from time to time.

The Difference Between Wisconsin Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes

Before you move your loved one to any retirement home in Wisconsin, you should understand the difference between assisted living and nursing homes.

The primary difference between these two senior care and living options is the level of medical attention that is provided to the elderly. The #1 priority of assisted living facilities is helping residents with activities of day-to-day living.

The level of everyday care in a nursing home is more medically focused than what prevails in Wisconsin assisted living facilities. Although assisted living facilities may support with chronic disease, pain, and medication management, assisted living facilities do not provide the rehabilitation services offered at nursing homes.

Nursing homes offer everything, from making use of the restroom to getting out of bed or getting dressed. They are perfect for seniors who need daily or regular medical care or attention. It is usually the option of choice for family caregivers who feel they are no longer competent enough to care for a senior in their keep.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Wisconsin have day-to-day activities lined up for their residents, and this includes craft classes, fitness, live performances from visiting musicians, and happy hour. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Wisconsin differ greatly, especially in terms of amenities, location, and types of care provided. What matters most – at the end of the day – is that your loved one should feel comfortable, safe, and happy.

The state of health of your loved one will determine whether you take them to a nursing home or an assisted living community in Wisconsin. It is also important to trust your instincts; if you can envision your loved one enjoying life to the fullest in a friendly community, then you may have found the right fit.

3,969 Assisted Living Facilities in Wisconsin

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