No Strings Attached: Trying Out Short-Term Assisted Living


Moving to an assisted living community is a big decision. Many seniors hesitate to make the move out of fear of the unknown. But today, more communities are making it easier for older adults to test the waters and see firsthand if assisted living is right for them. Short-term assisted living stays are a “no strings attached” approach where potential residents can move in temporarily — for a day, a week, or a full month or two — and try out all that assisted living has to offer before making a permanent commitment.

Explore how short-term assisted living opportunities benefit both seniors and their caregivers, what services and amenities are offered during a temporary stay, and how much it costs.

How month-to-month stays benefit seniors and caregivers

Assisted living offers seniors personalized care and meal services, an exciting range of social and wellness activities, and a comforting sense of community. Temporary assisted living stays will give your loved one the chance to get a feel for what day-to-day life is like in the community, which includes getting to know the other residents and the staff. Seniors can also book a temporary stay to recover from an illness or injury, or to provide their caregivers with respite so they can decompress.

What’s included in short-term assisted living?

Trial programs allow potential residents to see that the stereotypical institutional settings of the past have given way to apartment-style living, gourmet food, on-site spas, and more activities and amenities than most people have access to at home. In short, today’s assisted living communities are more like active retirement neighborhoods. While senior living has changed, it’s understandable that potential residents may still hesitate to make this major life change. That’s what makes short-term stays so beneficial.

As a temporary assisted living resident, your loved one will have access to:

  • Personalized care support. This includes health care options that long-term residents receive, including medication management, assistance with activities of daily living, and transportation to off-site appointments.
  • Meals, housekeeping, and laundry services. They’ll be able to enjoy the worry-free lifestyle, where chores and meal preparation are taken care of each day. Apartments are kept clean and tidy, so there’s more time to relax.
  • Social activities and outings. Programming options are scheduled daily and are often based on residents’ interests and passions. From yoga classes and local day trips to game nights and pet therapy, all are sure to find an exciting option to pursue.
  • Amenities galore. Different communities offer unique amenities, so seek out the options that fit your parent’s lifestyle. Some complexes feature movie theaters, communal gardens, beauty salons and barber shops, pools or spas, and more.

How do short-term stays benefit caregivers?

Temporary assisted living options are an excellent compromise for families and caregivers who need to seek outside help or additional support. Adult children often recognize their loved ones’ growing needs and encourage a move to senior living before it becomes too disruptive. However, aging parents can be notoriously stubborn when it comes to staying put in their homes.

A one- or two-month stay in an assisted living community is the perfect middle ground for both parties, and it can be a valuable learning experience that helps everyone involved make an informed decision about long-term care.

Short-term assisted living and respite stays offer family caregivers the time to:

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Weigh the costs of short-term assisted living

Of course, the luxury of modern-day assisted living communities doesn’t come cheap. Prices for temporary stays range from $99 to more than $250 per day, depending on the level of care the community offers, the size of the apartment, and the location. Month-to-month assisted living pay plans allow for some flexibility in case your parent discovers they aren’t quite ready for the shift yet.

Some communities charge extra for add-ons like meal plans, housekeeping services, or certain utilities. In most cases, temporary stays are “private pay,” meaning that seniors and their families are responsible for all costs because Medicare and Medicaid are not accepted.

But, for caregivers who are struggling to convince Mom or Dad to give assisted living a try, the cost of a trial run could be worth every penny.

How to arrange a temporary assisted living stay

Now that you know the benefits and costs of short-term assisted living, what’s the next step to setting up a trial run?

  • Create a care plan. Start by determining what kind of care services your parent needs, and filter search results by the services and amenities that are top priorities.
  • Research assisted living communities. Determine a location or area for your search, then find out which facilities offer month-to-month assisted living plans or respite stays.
  • Create a list of questions you have for each community. Do they serve three meals a day? What kinds of on-site activities do they offer? How long is a short-term trial period? Because this will be a big shift for your parent, ask them what questions and concerns they have. Involving them in this process is only fair and will help ensure their stay is a pleasant one.
  • Tour any assisted living facility you’re considering. To get a feel for the environment and find out if it would be a good fit, set up an in-person or virtual tour. Visiting with current residents, assessing the cleanliness of the community, observing the staff, and even enjoying a meal in the dining room will give you and your loved one a better idea of what it’s like to live there.
  • Prepare for the upcoming move. A short-term stay could result in your parent returning to their home, unhappy with the temporary arrangement. It could also lead to a permanent, long-term stay if they enjoy their time. Work together and with other trusted family members to set expectations for what the move will look like and how long the trial will last, and keep discussions going throughout the process.

Understand that transitions take time

Moving to assisted living, even if it’s only for a short time, will be a huge change for everyone involved. Give yourself space to process any emotions that come up. Adult children often have to face overcoming the guilt of moving a parent to assisted living, while seniors struggle with leaving their longtime home that’s full of cherished memories.

Temporary assisted living for seniors offers a no-risk option that allows your loved one to experience the community lifestyle before making a longer commitment. All assisted living communities vary in their layout, offerings, and services, so be sure to do your research beforehand to make sure your loved one will experience the best version of short-term care.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal, or financial advice or to create a professional relationship between AgingCare and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney, or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; AgingCare does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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