Known for its southern hospitality and sunny weather most of the year, Georgia is the perfect retirement destination for many seniors. The state itself has no shortage of quaint small towns and world-class cities, with Atlanta being the next major Hollywood hotspot for film production. If you currently live in the Peach State or are looking to head that way sometime in the future, you might find that an assisted living community offers amenities, services, and peace of mind that you can enjoy for years to come.
If you’ve ever wondered about assisted living in Georgia, we have compiled the answers to the most commonly asked questions. The more you educate yourself about your assisted living options, the more easily you will be able to navigate the senior living landscape throughout the state. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
What is assisted living in Georgia?
There are multiple types of senior living communities throughout the state of Georgia. Most communities fall under one of these types: independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. Each type of community provides the support and assistance the residents who live there need.
Independent living communities give residents the opportunity to live a maintenance-free lifestyle, not bogged down by the tasks and chores associated with homeownership. Residents enjoy living in spacious apartments, villas, or townhomes and have easy access to luxury amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, putting greens, and more. Often, residents are also given a dining program to eat meals in the community’s dining room or on-site restaurants. Residents are typically quite independent and looking to socialize with others while keeping up with their wellness goals.
Assisted living communities offer many of the same luxury amenities as independent living communities, but they have the additional benefit of around-the-clock assistance from caregivers. Residents thrive in these communities because they have the peace of mind that comes with knowing a caregiver is always available to help them out with daily personal care tasks or in case of an emergency. Residents also enjoy three meals per day prepared by a team of chefs and a busy social calendar full of interesting events, activities, and trips.
Memory care communities are specially designed for adults who have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. These communities operate under an assisted living license but have specially trained staff who receive extensive education about the dementia process and best practices for care.
Finally, skilled nursing facilities are more clinical in nature, offering around-the-clock nursing care for residents who need complex pain or disease management. Some residents live in skilled nursing facilities on a short-term basis only to recover from a surgery, procedure, or extended hospital stay. These residents receive care and inpatient therapy so they can confidently and safely return home. Other residents live there long-term because they need clinical interventions often.
How are assisted living facilities different from communities in Georgia?
The senior living industry has come a long way over the past few decades. Today, older adults have multiple options for where they can live and thrive throughout retirement. However, just a few decades ago, this was not the case — which is why some people (maybe you included) have outdated views of what it means to live in a senior living community.
The word facility is no longer typically used when talking about senior living. Twenty years ago, though, the word was used often. At some point, older adults, professionals, and family members decided that a facility sounds too much like a hospital or a warehouse. Senior living is nothing like a hospital or warehouse, so the push for new terminology began.
Today, it is more common to hear the word community because that is what senior living communities truly are. Residents become neighbors and friends while forming meaningful relationships with one another and the team members who work there.
The only time you might run across the word facility is when researching skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). However, it is not uncommon for even skilled nursing facilities to refer to themselves as communities.
What is the difference between assisted living and personal care in Georgia?
Most states in America offer the traditional four types of senior living solutions — independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing — but Georgia is one of the few that also offer a fifth option. Personal care homes are similar to assisted living communities, but with a few noteworthy differences.
Let’s start with the similarities between personal care and assisted living in Georgia. First, both offer additional assistance from caregivers as well as socialization, meals, and amenities. However, there are some differences to note. For example, caregivers in personal care homes are not allowed to help with certain tasks such as extensive transfers, ambulation assistance, or catheter care. Residents who need these services may need to pay for additional home care help in order to receive these services or choose to transfer to assisted living where caregivers on staff can assist.
Who regulates senior independent living facilities in Georgia?
Independent living communities are not heavily regulated in Georgia, or any other state for that matter. These communities operate more like apartment buildings as residents are independent and do not require extensive assistance.
In contrast, assisted living, personal care, and skilled nursing are regulated by the Georgia Department of Community Health. More specifically, a designated division of the Department called the Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR) is responsible for ensuring senior living communities are following guidance and adhering to all state regulations.
Senior living communities regulated by the state need to pass annual survey visits in order to retain their license. The state will also follow up on any complaints received in order to thoroughly investigate.
Where are the most senior living facilities in Georgia?
Senior living communities are everywhere throughout the state of Georgia. In fact, you can find beautiful communities in small, rural towns or in busy cities. This is wonderful because it means that adults can likely find a community that suits their budget, preferences, and needs in the town or neighborhood of their choice.
However, as with all real estate, there will often be more choices in larger cities. This means that Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs have more senior living communities than very rural parts of the state. Living in or near a large city like Atlanta gives you access to everything the city has to offer, including museums, shopping, dining, and outstanding medical care. Even if you would not consider yourself a city dweller, you should still consider touring communities within the city and its suburbs. Thanks to their design, senior living communities feel like small neighborhoods no matter where they are located.
Now that you have a bit more information about assisted living in Georgia, you are ready to move on to the next steps of your research process. In order to make the most of your community tours, download our free guide, “Finding a Safe & Comfortable Senior Living Community.” You’ll learn even more about the differences between senior living options as well as what questions to ask as you take personalized tours of communities in your desired location.