What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a residence settlement (housing arrangement) for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living. These can include meal preparation, memory care, housekeeping, bathing, eating, getting dressed, taking their medicine on time, transporting, cleaning and help with other essential tasks. Assisted living is for people who don’t need skilled nursing care. In some states, financial assistance is offered to help individuals afford assisted living facilities.
At most assisted living communities, you can expect to see private or semiprivate rooms within a complex. These communities also provide meals, shared dining spaces, kitchenettes, places to socialize, specific activities, help with transportation, Alzheimer’s care, and more. Communities typically consist of apartments of 25 to 120 units, ranging from single rooms to full apartments.
Some houses provide personal spaces with live-in staff. Some non-profit companies operate them, but many are also provided by for-profit companies. Assisted living also provides (at extra cost) housekeeping, health services when needed, care for people with Alzheimer’s, personal staff for specific needs, day-and-night security, hot-lines for emergency calls, exercise programs, medication management, personal laundry service, and social and recreational activities.
Nursing home care is a step above assisted living in terms of the level of care provided. In these communities, you should feel like you’re independent and have peace of mind, feel safer because of 24-hour security, and know that your specific daily needs are met. This type of care is suitable for seniors who want to keep their habits and ways of living.
Often assisted living is appropriate for seniors who are at least 85 years old, but younger individuals may also choose it if they have a mental disorder or mental incapacity, a substance abuse problem or a major physical problem. That is the reason why there are so many assisted living facilities with different setups and specialists who are suitable for particular people with various needs.
Assisted Living Care, Services and Amenities
A wide variety of services and conveniences are offered today for senior assisted living residents. Often less expensive than skilled nursing facilities or in-home care, most assisted living communities have a full, round-the-clock staff trained to assist residents with a variety of activities, including residential care, adult congregate care, boarding home domiciliary care, bathing and dressing, medication management, toileting and help with incontinence. Many assisted living centers also provide specialized care facilities for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In different states, assisted living goes by various names, such as assisted living residence, assisted living facility (ALF), or retirement home, and licensing requirements are specific. Here in our assisted living directory, you’ll find assisted living providers, homes for specific care, board and care homes, and special facilities for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Also, there’s a wide range of sizes and spots of facilities, from a small residential house for one person up to very large facilities providing services to hundreds of residents. Perfect size is unrequired; every residence has its own design, style, size, and location. Most assisted living facilities also provide individual needs, including housekeeping, three daily meals plus snacks, scheduled transportation, health and exercise programs, and a host of organized health activities and events that keep the body and mind at the optimum level.
Many assisted living communities have sports or health facilities to keep their guests satisfied – you will often see gyms, swimming pools, common areas for socializing, beauty salons, pharmacies, libraries, tennis courts, pet areas, and more in order to provide the best atmosphere for relaxation and health. It is hard to make a decision for which atmosphere or style is appropriate, and how well a particular facility may be able to manage and care for specific conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or stroke. There are communities that can’t offer more than very basic services, such as bath, laundry, meals, and helping with the simplest of daily activities, such as dressing and eating. These communities are often for people who have advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or other serious conditions.
On the other hand, there are facilities that offer just about anything that you can imagine in terms of amenities, activities, services and extras. They offer assisted facilities of every kind in high level and are better than just a housing option. These facilities rival some of the top resorts in the world, providing world-class chefs and menus, concierge services, putting greens, spa and salon services, full-time activities directors and rooms that would please the most elite of the rich and famous. Naturally, the level of care, services and amenities will be a significant determining factor when it’s time to pay fees.
Assisted living is different in its own way in every state. Each state has its own laws, specific assisted living regulations, and standards when it comes to senior care and assisted living, so what may be officially defined as assisted living in one state may be quite different in another state. In fact, some cities don’t even officially recognize the term ‘assisted living’ – instead, they may use terms like ‘supportive living’ (in Abilene, Austin, Brenham, Corpus Christi, Denton, El Paso, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mexia, Richmond, Rio Grande, San Angelo and San Antonio, in Texas) or ‘adult foster care” in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
After all, assisted living facilities allow individuals to remain independent as long as possible in an environment that maximizes the person’s autonomy, dignity, privacy, and safety, while also empathizing with family and community involvement. This means that in cases of temporary incapacity, the care recipient should be allowed to remain in the facility or should be readmitted after needed outside services have been provided. Even in cases when death is close, the facility allows the patient to remain as long as the facility can provide any necessary services. In general, resident rights in assisted living facilities include being treated with dignity and respect, continued practice of or abstinence from religion, freedom from neglect or abuse, freedom to interact with individuals inside and outside of the facility, privacy, receipt of all evaluations of medical needs and health-related services, representation in residential councils, retention and use of personal possessions, and self-control of personal finances.