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About Assisted Living: What You Need to Know

As we age, simple tasks like showering or cooking a nutritious dinner can become more cumbersome. You may have noticed your parent or spouse (or even yourself) struggling to dress, get down the stairs, or take medication on time. As these worries build up, you and your family can benefit from senior living solutions that prioritize residents’ safety, well-being, and dignity. Advocating for your parent’s or spouse’s health starts by understanding your family’s options. To help you better navigate the world of senior care, The Cabana at Jensen Dunes has put together a comprehensive resource about assisted living. Explore how assisted living can positively impact your loved one’s health and happiness – while also putting your mind at ease as a caregiver.

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What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living supports senior residents by offering help with daily tasks that have become more difficult over time – including self-care needs such as bathing, toileting, dressing, and more. Assistance usually takes place at scheduled times during the day, giving residents the freedom to explore the community and pursue their interests. Today, about one million Americans live in some type of senior living community. Assisted living is a popular option for seniors who value their independence but can benefit from assistance with personal care and daily activities. Unlike stereotypical nursing homes, assisted living communities offer more than just health and medical care. Assisted living provides necessary support for seniors while also promoting an engaging lifestyle full of meaningful connections.  

Benefits of Assisted Living

Assisted living enhances the daily experience for residents, allowing them the freedom to design their own days. In many ways, assisted living services enable residents to stay as independent as possible. Here are some benefits of assisted living for residents and family caregivers alike:

For Residents:

Personalized Care & Support

Our expertly-trained staff has the compassion and know-how to provide the assisted living care that residents need.

Community Connection

Residents can connect with new neighbors through a calendar of social events and activities that make every day interesting.

Resort-Style Amenities

With assisted living, residents can make the most of their independent time to revel in deluxe amenities, such as restaurant-style dining, fitness center, pool and patio, art studio, library, game center, and lovely outdoor areas.

Convenient Services

Assisted living offers convenient services for residents, including health monitoring, transportation, family resources, utilities, home maintenance, and more.  

For Adult Child Caregivers:

Peace of Mind About Health & Safety

Assisted living provides on-site physician services, 24/7 health monitoring, and a holistic wellness focus. This emphasis on senior health and safety gives caregivers peace of mind knowing their loved one has everything necessary to thrive – all under one roof.

Ease of Visiting Loved Ones

In addition to educational seminars and support groups, assisted living also provides caregivers endless opportunities to visit their loved one. Familiar connections are significant for assisted living residents, so caregivers are always encouraged to visit and continue making memories with their loved one.  

Assisted Living vs. Other Senior Living Options

Assisted living is a good choice for individuals who require a higher level of care; however, there are other senior living options that may be suitable for your loved one’s needs.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

If you or your loved one live with memory impairments, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, memory care may be a better fit. Memory care communities are specifically designed to keep those living with memory impairments safe and supported. Memory care offers specialized staff, dementia-friendly safety features, and enrichment activities for cognitive, emotional, and social health. While assisted living supports every individual’s independence through help with daily tasks, memory care is a more involved type of care that supports the holistic well-being of dementia residents.

Access Memory Care at The Cabana at Jensen Dunes

Our memory care neighborhood centers on maximizing every individual’s abilities and well-being – right onsite at our senior living community. In case you require memory care now or in the future, our Valeo™ memory care program is available to meet your health needs.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

Independent living lets residents shed their chores and errands for a more carefree lifestyle that aligns with their retirement vision. For this reason, independent living focuses on providing key amenities and services that support their interests, such as pursuing wellness at a fitness center, meeting new friends at planned social events, or learning a new hobby at the onsite art studio. While healthcare isn’t provided at this stage, residents typically can transition to other levels of care in the same community.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

Do you or a loved one require round-the-clock medical care? Nursing homes offer 24/7 specialized medical care to help your parent recover from an illness or injury. While assisted living helps with daily tasks such as bathing or dressing, nursing care is a much more comprehensive type of care. In addition, nursing home residents don’t usually have the same level of independence and may struggle to get through the day without constant guidance.

Assisted Living vs. Home Care

Home care is a wide-encompassing term for care provided at home instead of a community residence. Home care may involve a variety of different types of care, including assisted living, rehabilitation, or specialized nursing care. For this reason, a home health aide may provide a similar suite of services as in assisted living. The main difference is that an assisted living community gives residents opportunities onsite to stay active and engage in new experiences. To learn more about assisted living, contact our Port St. Lucie senior care community, The Cabana at Jensen Dunes – give us a call at 772-332-1000 today.  

What to Expect at an Assisted Living Community

We all want to be there for our parent, spouse or loved one. If you find yourself frequently checking on mom or dad and worrying constantly about whether you’re providing the best possible care, assisted living might be the best option for everyone.  At assisted living communities, residents’ health and well-being are top priority. Each individual receives personalized assistance and can participate in daily community programs designed to promote socialization and engagement. Surrounded by deluxe amenities and like-minded peers, residents can live life to the fullest.

Personalized Care Plans

Residents will receive a care plan that’s tailored to their needs and desires. In addition to daily assistance, your parent or loved one may require medication management, individualized fitness instruction or a special diet.

Care Coordination

While some individuals may benefit from a few intervals of assistance during the day – such as showering and dressing in the morning – others may need a more involved schedule of care. Assisted living coordinates activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, eating and mobility – all according to each resident’s needs.

Security Monitoring

At an assisted living community, residents can get enhanced comfort and feel secure in their homes. At The Cabana of Jensen Dunes, we offer 24/7 health and security monitoring so that your loved one has peace of mind every step of the way.

Hassle-Free Living

Individuals can simplify their lifestyle by choosing assisted living. Here, your loved one can shed responsibilities such as cooking meals, housekeeping, laundry, home maintenance and more.

Personalized Nutrition

In assisted living, dining is personalized to each individual’s dietary requirements and preferences. Your loved one can savor chef-prepared, restaurant-style entrées that meet all nutritional guidelines.

Wellness Focus

Assisted living supports residents’ holistic well-being, from the physical and intellectual to the social and spiritual. Your parent or loved one can pursue fitness goals, lifelong learning or connections with other residents all under one roof.

Social Engagement

Loneliness and isolation are common in life’s later years. At an assisted living community like The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, residents have the opportunity to interact and connect in common spaces such as the coffee and cocktail bar, the pool house, gardens, the game center and more.

Flexible Living Spaces

Residents should have flexible living options to align with their preferences. At assisted living, individuals can choose from a range of floor plans that include kitchenettes and premium appliances. Safety features such as grab bars and non-slip floors are available, too.’  

Is Assisted Living Right for My Parent?

There is no single, definitive answer for whether assisted living is right for your parent or loved one. However, if you start to notice changes in your loved one’s daily life that might jeopardize their safety and well-being, that’s when assisted living options may be worth exploring.

Who Would Thrive in Assisted Living?

Assisted living can be beneficial for a variety of different care scenarios. Here are some examples of older adults who may thrive in an assisted living setting.

The Lonesome Social Butterfly

An individual who currently feels lonely at home may enjoy assisted living’s busy social calendar and opportunities to meet new friends and stay active in the community.

The Overburdened Free Spirit

This older adult values independence above all, but is overwhelmed by cooking, cleaning and other chores. Assisted living could free up time for this individual to pursue retirement living on his/her own terms.

The Pain Warrior

Assisted living is ideal for individuals requiring an extra hand with care management due to pain or discomfort. In addition, these warriors can pursue holistic well-being through a variety of amenities, such as a fitness center, yoga studio and spa.

The Worrywart

An older adult who feels anxious at home and worries about everything from security to a health emergency may enjoy moving to a community. Assisted living could calm nerves by offering emergency systems, wellness checks and opportunities to channel energy into recreational activities.

The Couple

Assisted living is also right for couples who want to simplify their lifestyle and enjoy the company of new friends, while also having their distinct care needs met. Communities give couples the ability to plan future care without uprooting their home life.  

What Are Assisted Living Requirements?

Assisted living residents should require some assistance with daily tasks or medication management, but not 24/7 constant care. Typically older adults with extensive medical needs or severe memory impairment won’t be a good match for assisted living. Some communities may require individuals to take a wellness assessment and undergo a medical history review before entry. Other forms and waivers may also be part of the entry process depending on the community’s specific guidelines.  

Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living

One of the questions that families ask most frequently is “How do you know when someone is really ready for assisted living?” Here are five signs to watch for if you think your parent, spouse or loved one may have new care needs:

Difficulty Managing the Day-to-Day

You may notice tasks that were once easy to manage are becoming a burden: appointments are being missed, bill payments are forgotten, and overall quality of life is on the decline. When these things begin to happen, it’s time to seek help. At The Cabana of Jensen Dunes, we provide comprehensive solutions, including transportation to appointments and shopping, housekeeping and linen service, assistance with personal hygiene and grooming and more.

Frequent Calls to Family or 911

If your loved one is calling you for help several times a week – or worse, if they’ve had to dial 911 in non-emergency situations – it can put an enormous strain on family relationships. In that case, consider assisted living, where experienced professionals handle the caregiving and reduce the stress, so that family members can truly enjoy the time they spend together.

Difficulty Preparing Meals

When you see a marked change in the ability to prepare and cook meals – or a general lack of interest in food – it’s time to take action. Communities like The Cabana at Jensen Dunes provide three nutritious, chef-prepared meals daily for our residents. No cooking or clean up required!

Slow Movements

When walking becomes slower and more difficult, this could signal an impending fall. If that happens – and your loved one lives alone – they could be injured and remain helpless for days. Making the move to assisted living means round-the-clock care, so that you no longer have to worry about accidents waiting to happen.

Medication Mishaps

Prescription labels with small printing and hard-to-open lids can be problematic for seniors – and even life-threatening when medications are not taken properly. At The Cabana of Jensen Dunes, we have an on-site nurse available 24/7 to make sure residents get their meds on schedule.  

The Cost of Assisted Living

The cost of assisted living is a key factor for families making care decisions. The overall price is determined by the location, the apartment size, the level of care and the community’s offered amenities. At The Cabana of Jensen Dunes, for example, assisted living packages range from $4,389 and $6,240, depending on the floor plan and wellness add-ons.

What’s Included in the Cost of Assisted Living?

Assisted living enriches the lives of residents through convenient services and premium amenities that make every day meaningful. At The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, the monthly fee for assisted living includes personalized assistance with daily tasks, as well as:
  • All-Day Dining: Chef-prepared, restaurant-style entrées
  • Outdoor Entertainment: Beautiful outdoor spaces, pool with pool house, outdoor grill and television, covered patio for outdoor dining, courtyards, gardens, putting green and Bocce ball court
  • Indoor Entertainment: Art studio, library, game center, resident business center, fitness center, coffee and cocktail bar, private dining rooms, beauty and barber salon and spa service
  • Apartment Amenities: Private bathrooms with shower in all apartments, parking for personal vehicles, scheduled group transportation, heating and air conditioning for each apartment, cable and Wi-Fi, trash removal and all residential utilities (except phone)
  • Programs & Resources: Salus™ by Solvere wellness program and support for family members, including orientation sessions, educational seminars, sensitivity training and family support groups
  • Health Care: 24-hour health monitoring, on-site rehabilitation clinic (physical, speech and occupational therapy) and doctor’s office and exam rooms for private visits with a physician

The Benefits of a Simplified Monthly Bill

Joining an assisted living community can also give your family peace of mind financially. With just one consolidated monthly bill, you don’t have to worry about incoming bills or extra costs. All services and amenities are included in the pricing, so that you can stay in control of your senior living budget. At the same time, your loved one can enjoy great value with a simplified monthly bill, as pricing includes a suite of amenities that he/she may not otherwise be able to access. In this way, bundled pricing can enhance your parent or spouse’s daily quality of life.

The Cost of Changing Care Needs

In addition to your loved one’s current costs, you should also factor in potential future expenses. It’s common for older adults’ health needs to evolve over time. To meet these needs, your family may have to pay for new care providers, medications and home renovations/modifications.  For example, the average cost of hiring a home health aide in Port St. Lucie, Florida is a whopping $4,767 per month (without any other services included). Instead, your family can better plan for future costs by choosing a community where a variety of care levels are offered. Instead of unrooting your parent or spouse to receive new care when needed, you can simply upgrade to a different care plan – all from the same community campus.

Weigh the Value of Assisted Living vs. Aging-in-Place

Nearly 8 out of 10 older adults wish to age in place, but the reality may not allow for a high quality of living. Individuals who choose to live in their family homes may feel isolated from their peers and unable to take advantage of opportunities to socialize and pursue retirement goals. In addition, the financial cost of aging-in-place may be much higher than you think. Though a monthly mortgage may be more affordable than a community monthly fee, your family will have to pay for other bills including:
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Housekeeping
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation
These expenses can quickly add up and may come out to the same price as a monthly community fee. However, at an assisted living community, your loved one will get so much more out of their budget. In addition to health support services, individuals have premium access to amenities, including dining, fitness programming, housekeeping, transportation and more.

How to Pay for Assisted Living

Planning the senior living budget for your parent, spouse or loved one can be difficult. As you research your options for paying for assisted living, here are some popular methods to keep in mind:
  • Long-Term Care Insurance or Life Insurance: If you have it, long-term care insurance can take care of housing and medical costs for adults with chronic illnesses. Some life insurance policies will also include a “long-term illness rider” that can be applied to pay for care in certain situations.
  • Equity Solutions: Your family may be able to raise funds by selling or renting a home, getting a reverse mortgage or applying for a bridge loan. Overall, reverse mortgages and bridge loans can be risky because real estate is the guarantee behind your loan.
  • Veterans Benefits: If your loved one is a veteran, he/she may qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, which offer a stipend to cover assisted living needs.
  • Medicare & Medicaid: Medicare will typically cover medically necessary care for older adults, but not room/board and other amenities. On the other hand, Medicaid may cover some assisted living costs if seniors meet the financial and medical requirements.
  • State-Run Programs: You should check your loved one’s state of residence to see if they offer eldercare programs, such as PACE.
  • Personal Funds: Finally, if you’ve exhausted the options above, your family may have to use personal funds in order to cover care. Be sure to talk with your community’s financial team to ensure there are no other options available to pay for care.

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

The decision to move to an assisted living or memory support community can be a difficult one. To make sure it’s the right fit, it’s important to do your research, ask a lot of questions and – above all – visit in person. When you do, here are a few things to look for:

Attentive Staff

Ask to meet staff members and caregivers and observe them with residents. Are they attentive, compassionate and empathetic? Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions of staff and management. For example: “What will you do in case of an emergency?” “What certifications do you have?” and “What’s the best way to get in touch with you if I have a question?”

Engaged Residents

Staying active, both physically and mentally, is vital for older adults at all stages of their lives. When you tour a community, observe a program or class in progress. Make sure that both residents and staff are interacting and engaged. Visit the fitness center – is it properly equipped and run by a qualified professional? Ask to see the events calendar – are the activities meaningful and rewarding?

Community Cleanliness

From the moment you enter the front door, the community should look, smell and feel clean – not only in the common areas, but also in the individual rooms and suites. That level of neatness and cleanliness also extends to the residents. Take note that they are clean and well groomed. Ask to see the kitchen and be sure the food looks and smells appetizing.

Community Location

Your loved one may flourish in areas close to family, grandkids and friends. Take a look at the community’s location, including whether it’s near a major airport. Choosing assisted living in an easy-to-visit locale can benefit your loved one in the long term.  

Talking to Parents About Moving to Assisted Living

It can be challenging for a parent, spouse or loved one to accept that they need help. Some families move their loved one into an assisted living community out of immediate need – which can create stress and tension. Starting the conversation before they need a higher level of care is crucial, and it’s important for all parties to be involved in the decision. Here are some tips to talk to your parent or loved one about moving to assisted living:
  • Remember the talk about assisted living is a process. It may take time for your parent to get on board. Start the conversation slowly and be patient. You may need to follow up multiple times to reach a care decision together.
  • Get your family involved. It’s important to have your siblings and other family members on the same page, so that you don’t send mixed messages. In addition, you may need to leverage other family’s voices to guide your parent in the right direction.
  • Let your parent lead the way. Ultimately, your parent has the final say in care decisions. Make your parent feel in control by asking about his/her concerns, offering multiple options and encouraging feedback at every step in the decision-making process.
  • Opt for friendly care language and tone. As you go through the process of moving to assisted living, you will likely encounter doubts and circumstances that you can’t predict. No matter what happens, try to keep a positive tone. You can also make the transition easier by describing assisted living with friendly language such as “community” instead of “facility.”
  • Schedule tours to assisted living communities. One of the hardest parts of the transition is the unfamiliarity of a different environment and new people. Schedule tours to a handful of assisted living communities so your parent can get acquainted with residents and staff. Building those relationships early is key, as it will aid in establishing trust and help your loved one feel secure.

Transitioning to Assisted Living

Moving your parent, spouse or loved one from their home to an assisted living community can be an emotionally charged and challenging process. A home is a place of security, comfort, memories – and your loved one may be reluctant to leave those things behind. While some residents welcome the new experience, others are more cautious and approach it one step at a time. Below are a few ways to make the transition as seamless as possible.


The downsizing process can take time. Start sorting early so that you and your loved one don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t allow a “maybe” pile and instead organize items into “save, give, donate or toss.” In addition, it’s useful to know the apartment size and floor plan in advance so that you can select personal items that fit well with the space. Check about furniture too, as most communities will have rooms pre-furnished so that you only need to pack personal, entertainment and decorative items

Moving Help

Planning a move can be stressful. Be sure to contact your community to ask if any moving stipend or help is offered. You might also benefit from hiring a senior move manager to coordinate efforts. On moving day, keep your parent or loved one far from the excitement. Ideally, you should move and unpack your loved one’s items before arrival, so that it looks like home from the moment he/she walks in.

Personalizing the Apartment

Every resident deserves to feel at home in their apartment. Set up your loved one’s favorite personal items so that it looks welcoming. You might even paint the walls or add decor that your parent is fond of.

Supporting Your Parent Before & After the Move

The transition to assisted living can take time. Be supportive from day one by staying optimistic and encouraging your parent to participate in community activities. You might also want to check in more frequently during the first few weeks of the move, so that you can address any concerns and ensure your parent is integrating well.  

Assisted Living at The Cabana at Jensen Dunes

At The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, we believe in a holistic philosophy of empowerment and support that gives residents the opportunity for growth, personal development and enrichment. While we understand that transitioning to an assisted living or memory support community isn’t always “easy,” we do believe that it can be the beginning of a new and exciting adventure! As your family considers assisted living for a parent, spouse or loved one, feel free to connect with us online or call us at 772-332-1000 with any questions.