Dear Carol: My mother has lived in a very nice assisted living facility for several years, though she’s been quite independent. It’s a 300 mile drive for me to visit her, so I can only visit occasionally. I have a sister who lives within 25 miles and visits once a week. Mom seems to enjoy her friends and this facility is home to her. However, my sister says that now Mom really should have help bathing and someone should monitor her medications. Even dressing is getting to be a chore because of severe arthritis. The problem is that the facility wants to charge more to provide these services. I thought this kind of care is what assisted living is about. - Greg
Dear Greg: The terms that describe senior living situations change with the times and can be quite different depending on where people live. In some parts of the country, your mom’s current living situation would be considered independent living, with her increasing needs requiring that she transition to assisted living. The monthly fee increases with the added care services.