Assisted Living Residence FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is assisted living?

There are different kinds of assisted living residences. They range from small personal care homes with just a few residents (3 or more) to large continuing care retirement communities where people can move from complete independence to higher levels of service and care as they age in place. Assisted Living Residences are licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and they receive regular assessments of levels of safety, care and services.

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How much do they cost?

Most assisted living residences charge a monthly fee. There may be additional costs for special services. Monthly fees range from $2,250 to $5,000 depending on the level of care and accommodations provided. Assisted living is typically paid for by the resident or the family. In Colorado, Medicaid Waivers are also available to help with the costs for those who qualify.

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Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

No, Medicare does not pay for assisted living services.  Assisted Living is most often paid for privately by the resident or family, or by the Colorado Medicaid Waiver Program. Long term care policies are becoming more common and may help pay for assisted living. Residents who qualify for Medicaid are responsible for a portion of the room and board payment. Medicaid is a state program for those residents who qualify both financially and functionally. See the Guide to Get Help from Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living located on the Senior Housing Options website under the resource center tab for more information.


Is Veteran’s Assistance available?

Veteran’s Assistance may be available for veterans and their spouses living in an assisted living community. To qualify, a resident must have been honorably discharged and served 90 days on active duty with at least one of those days served during wartime. Call the Veterans Hotline at 1-800-252-8387, or look under the Resource Center tab of our website – under Resources for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities for more information on VA benefits.

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What is included in the monthly rent payment?

This will vary according to the residence you choose – some bundle services for a monthly rate, while others have an “a-la-carte” menu of services.  In all SHO assisted living communities, basic support services include 24-hour staff oversight and emergency response, home-cooked meals, snacks, housekeeping, laundry and activity programming.  Medication administration, reminders for meals and activities, and assistance with dressing, grooming and showers is provided according to individual need.  Residents must be independently mobile.  Charges can vary based on the services provided so make sure you review the financial agreement and house rules prior to making a decision.

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What kinds of additional support services are offered?

For your convenience, additional support services may be provided in our communities by external service providers.  These might include physicians, laboratory services, dental services, foot care, home health nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and hospice services.  The resident and resident’s physician determine which services are appropriate, and whether resources are available to pay for them.   External service providers work as needed in cooperation with assisted living staff according to the care plan developed for each individual.

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What types of accommodations are available?

Room size and arrangements vary, but many assisted livings offer both companion and private rooms. Common areas should be available for socialization and visiting with family and friends.

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Can I have my personal phone installed?

This will vary depending on the community you choose. At minimum, private space should be available to allow for free local phone calls.

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What types of activities are offered?

There should be a variety of activities and social programming to meet your individual needs and interests. Make sure to review the activity calendar to see what is offered.

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Are any of my expenses tax deductible?

Some or all of your personal care expenses or assisted living expenses may be tax deductible as medical expenses if you and/or your family meet certain criteria. For more information, see IRS publication 502 available at or by calling 1-800-829-3676.

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May I bring my own furniture?

Most assisted living residences require you to provide your own furniture and personal belongings according to house rules. Those accepting Medicaid are called Alternative Care Facilities and must, if requested by the resident, provide bedroom furnishings – including a bed, bed and bath linens, a lamp, chair and dresser and a way to secure personal articles.

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May I come and go as I please?

Yes. All residences should have a process in place that usually consists of signing out when you leave and when you return.  Some ALRs have a secured environment where access is restricted for the safety of the resident.

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What is a secured environment?

A secured environment is intended for individuals whose safety cannot be assured in an environment that allows unrestricted egress. The residence must disclose to residents and families that they are a secured environment. Only those residents who need a secured environment, as determined by assessment and by an evaluation of less restrictive alternatives prior to admission may be admitted.

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What are house rules?

House rules are established by each residence for the mutual benefit of everyone in the community and address such issues as smoking, cooking, protection of valuables, visitors, telephone usage, usage of common areas including the T.V. and radio, dress and consumption of alcohol.  As a resident, you must follow these rules or you may be subject to involuntary discharge.

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When are meal times and can I have guests?

These will vary depending on the residence you choose. At least three nutritionally balanced meals should be provided and snacks should be available between meals.  Guest meals may be provided for a charge.  Overnight guests may be allowed depending on the house rules.

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Can I get help with medication administration?

In Colorado, Qualified Medication Administration Personnel (QMAPs) may administer or assist the resident in administration of medication according to doctor’s orders. All QMAP staff pass a Colorado State required training program prior to providing medication administration or assistance.  QMAPs are not nurses and some restrictions apply to their scope of practice.  They are not allowed to administer injections, for instance.

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Do you have a beauty shop?

A wide variety of amenities are available in assisted living residences. Make sure to ask about these additional services and fees.

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Do you provide transportation?

Some residences do provide transportation or arrange transportation when needed. There may be an additional charge for these services.

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Probably the most frequently asked question:

What criteria are used to determine a prospective resident’s eligibility?

This is a very important question to ask. This will vary depending on the residence. Because assisted living residences are not nursing homes, a certain level of independence is necessary. Discuss with residences your current and future needs and desires for care and services. Finding a good fit is what it is all about. You have many choices in assisted living and it all is up to you.

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How do I find a list of licensed assisted living residences and alternative care facilities?

Go to the Colorado Department of Health website below

You will also find inspection and occurrence findings, a directory, licensing and Medicaid certification regulations and additional consumer resources such as how to choose an assisted living.

Or go to the Department of Human Services website below to find out about services by county, and apply for benefits on line.

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