Assisted Living in Alberta

Overview of Assisted Living in Alberta

Assisted Living in the province of Alberta is also referred to as Supportive Living (Levels 3 & 4) or Supportive Housing and is part of the Continuing Care System. Assisted Living meets the needs of many Alberta seniors by offering housing, support services and personal care to individuals that are able to live semi-independently with assistance close at hand when they need it.Assisted Living in Alberta

In addition to hospitality services (such as meals, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and social activities) and 24-hour emergency response system, Assisted Living residences in AB, offer professional health and personal care services and assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing and personal grooming. Seniors select the services they require from options made available by the operator of the residence. Additional services may be purchased from the operator or from an outside provider. Professional and personal care services may also be provided through the Alberta Health Services.

Other terms used for Assisted Living in Alberta are:

Alberta Seniors Lodges are Assisted Living facilities in Alberta that are designed to provide room and board for seniors who are semi-independent and who may or may not utilize community-based services. Senior Lodges in Alberta operate under the Alberta Housing Act.

Alberta Designated Assisted Living (DAL) also called Designated Supportive Living Level 3(SL3). DAL residences are the same as any other assisted living facilities in Alberta. They are referred to as “designated”, simply because such facilities are operated in partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS). Therefore, operators of these facilities provide publicly funded health and support services and must consult regional Health Authorities when making decisions regarding admission and discharge. These residences provide 24/7 access to Health Care Aid as well as continued skilled care via local Home Care Program. In order to access this type of designated Supportive Living in Alberta seniors need to be assessed by a Home Care Registered Nurse. For eligible seniors, the nurse creates an assessment plan that covers which health and personal care services will be provided and covered by AHS.

Alberta Enhanced Assisted Living also referred to Enhanced Lodges or Alberta Designated Supportive Living Level 4 (SL4). AHS controls access to a certain number of units according to the contract between the operator of the facility and AHS. These Alberta Supportive Living residences offer 24-hour scheduled and unscheduled professional, personal care and support services provided by Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Health Care Aides. Alberta Health Services administers case management services, professional health services including 24-hour on-call RN services.

Enhanced Assisted Living Dementia Care Sites or Designated Supportive Living Level 4 Dementia (SL4-D). Assisted living for Alberta seniors living with cognitive impairments (such as Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia) who require safe and secure living accommodation in a therapeutic environment.

Cost of Assisted Living in Alberta

Assisted Living residences in Alberta can be owned by either for-profit or non-profit organizations.

Private – These for-profit senior living companies are owned and operated by an individual or a corporation. Operators of private Alberta Assisted Living set accommodation rates at market rate and charge additional fees for health care services and nursing care. The residence operator also determines fees for services and generally offers a basic package with lists of additional ‘personal choice’ services and costs, that tenants may request.

The provincial Supportive Living Accommodation Standards state that rental and service agreements must include basic accommodation costs as well as service costs and that it is the responsibility of the tenant to understand all fees including fees for additional and optional services.

Before signing a tenants or residency agreement, seniors are encouraged to meet with the operator along with a family member or trusted advisor to be sure all fees are clearly explained and understood.

Non-profit AB Assisted Living residences are typically owned and operated by voluntary, religious or non-religious organization, or government bodies such as Alberta Health Services (AHS) or the Government of Alberta.

Government Programs and Subsidies for Assisted Living in Alberta

Under the Continuing Care Strategy, the provincial government provides funding to assist in the development of new and affordable Supportive Living for seniors. Grants for the Seniors Lodge Program and the Seniors Self-contained Housing Program, allowed senior housing operators to maintain affordable rates for individuals with modest incomes. Through this funding more than 20,000 Alberta seniors have received assistance.

Albertans with low and modest incomes are able to receive assistance through a variety of programs put in place by the Alberta government and Alberta Health Services. Healthcare, personal support and care services are available to Assisted Living residents through the Alberta Health Services Home Care program.

Alberta Health Services administers access to Assisted Living accommodations and health services where the residence’s operator has a contract with AHS. Case managers will assess applicants to determine the need for assistance through AHS Home Care program. Alberta seniors do not pay for publicly funded health care or personal care services (that have been approved by a Case Manager) provided in a designated assisted living facility or by AHS Home Care program. However seniors are responsible for arranging and paying for any additional services that they might need. Alberta seniors residing in Assisted Living homes may also purchase care services from a private provider.

Provincial legislation governs operation of Seniors Lodges. Under this legislation protecting low to modest income seniors, operators of Seniors Lodges may charge a monthly rate that leaves the tenant with at minimum o $265 per month for personal expenses. Operators of assisted living residences that receive capital grant funding from the province of Alberta have a cap on the maximum amount of rent they may charge their residents. The fee may not exceed the equivalent to a maximum fee for a private room in a long-term care facility.

Regulations of Assisted Living in Alberta

Operators of Alberta Assisted Living residences must comply with provincial legislation that includes Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act and Regulations, Supportive Living Accommodation Standards, as well as other applicable legislation, regulations, bylaws and rules established by municipalities and the federal and provincial governments.

The Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act requires Supportive Housing facilities to be licensed if they provide accommodation to four or more seniors, and offer or arrange for services (related to safety and security), and at a minimum of one meal per day or housekeeping services.

Operators of publicly funded facilities are also responsible for complying with the Continuing Care Health Service Standards.

The government of Alberta sets the standards for assisted living accommodations, to ensure residents safety, security and quality of life. Alberta Health ensures that operators of supportive living residence adhere to those standards by inspecting the residences at least once each year. The Accommodation Standards apply not only to accommodations themselves but also to related services such as meals, housekeeping, building maintenance and other areas that affect resident’s safety and security. AHC also oversees that service providers are in compliance with:

  • Supportive Living and Long-term Care Accommodation standards
  • Continuing Care Health Services Standards
  • Infection Control standards

Any complaints regarding non-compliance with legislation as to accommodation standards are investigated by the government.

The Alberta Senior Citizens' Housing Association ASCSHA is a voluntary not-for-profit organization that represents about 60% of senior living residences, including publicly funded and private assisted living, throughout the province of Alberta. ASCSHA acts as an advocate and a representative for senior housing in Alberta.

Protection for Persons in Care Act

The Alberta government is committed to ensuring the safety and security of vulnerable adults. The Protection for Persons in Care Act is in place to promote the safety and well being of Alberta adults receiving care or support in a publicly funded residence or care facility. The Act allows the province to investigate suspected abuse of elderly who receive government funding for care services.

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