Many seniors who struggle to remain independent choose to move into an assisted living facility. These facilities offer various levels of care to help seniors live as independently as possible. There are more than 6,000 assisted living communities across the United States ranging from upscale retirement communities and smaller cottages in the suburbs to large apartment buildings in urban areas.
What Is an Assisted Living Facility?
An assisted living facility is an alternative form of housing for seniors who may require assistance with basic daily tasks like eating, dressing, and toileting but do not require the higher level of care that is provided in a nursing home. Assisted living facilities come in many forms, including standalone facilities, senior housing complexes, retirement communities, and as part of a nursing home. Residents typically have their own apartment, condo, or unit in an assisted living facility.
What Services Are Provided in Assisted Living?
An assisted living facility provides a broad range of support services, although there is no standard for the types of services that can be offered. A basic assisted living community may offer just meals, light housekeeping, and assistance with daily living activities like dressing and eating. Some facilities offer a full range of services.
Common services that may be offered in assisted living include:
- Medication reminders and assistance with taking medication
- Transportation to shopping and doctor's appointments
- Assistance with daily living activities like bathing
- Health care management and health monitoring
- Laundry and housekeeping services
- Recreational and social activities
- Exercise programs
- Pet services to help care for pets. This usually includes feeding and walking.
Seniors who are mobile and mostly independent but need assistance with daily living activities can benefit from assisted living. People who need 24-hour help with all activities of daily living, those who are bedridden, and people who have health conditions that require careful monitoring and 24-hour care are not good candidates for assisted living.
Cost of Assisted Living
An assisted living facility can be expensive, although the cost is significantly lower than the type of care provided in a nursing home. Depending on the location, type of facility, and level of services provided, the cost of an assisted living facility can range from $25,000 per year to over $50,000 per year.
In most cases, seniors and families pay for assisted living. There are some long-term care insurance policies and health insurance policies cover some costs of assisted living. Some facilities also offer financial assistance. Medicare does not pay for any of the costs of assisted living. Depending on the state, Medicaid offers limited coverage for assisted living.
Top 5 Routes for “What are Assisted Living Facilities?”
- A Place for Mom - This article explores little-known facts about assisted living options. A Place for Mom helps families and seniors find quality senior living options. A Place for Mom offers advice and resources for assisted living as well as memory care and nursing homes.
- Eldercare Locator - This resource is offered through the Department of Human and Health Services. It offers advice for choosing a facility and information on how to pay for the cost of care.
- National Caregivers Library - The National Caregivers Library covers the basics of assisted living as well as the rights that residents enjoy. It also offers a good overview of what seniors and families should look for in a quality assisted living facility.
- National Center for Assisted Living - The NCAL serves the community through national and state advocacy for quality assisted living. The organization has developed the Guiding Principles as a resource to help facilities and family members strive for the best level of care.
- AARP - This resource from the AARP helps seniors and family members find a facility, compare options, and understand the cost of assisted living.