Assisted living is a long-term care option for seniors. When the medical care provided by a nursing home is more than is needed, but the resources in a retirement community are not enough, a person can opt for assisted living. Assisted living is a combination of housing, personalized support services, and healthcare designed to provide 24-hour assistance and supervision if needed.
Because each resident’s needs are different, assisted living residences provide a variety of services with varying levels of assistance for seniors. Services offered may include:
The residential setting of an assisted living facility can range from an apartment complex to a renovated brownstone to a converted school. The units are typically either studios or one-bedrooms that are furnished or unfurnished and include a private or shared bathroom and a kitchen. Regulations and licensing requirements vary from state to state.
The cost of assisted living varies according to the room size and types of services needed, and is highly variable across regions. For a one-bedroom apartment it may cost around $2,575 per month based on research from senior living organizations. This can vary greatly though depending on the location and level of service you get. You can learn more about costs and financial assistance by visiting the Assisted Living Federation of America website.
The Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL) offers the following general steps for selecting an assisted living facility on their website:
If you want to continue to live independently but require assistance with some activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, managing medications, and housekeeping, assisted living may be right for you. Assisted living can provide security and independence, privacy and companionship, and physical and social well-being.
Assisted Living Federation of America
Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living
National Center for Assisted Living
Office of the Assisted Living Registrar—British Columbia
Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA). Consumer checklist. ALFA website. Available at: http://www.alfa.org/alfa/Default.asp. Accessed December 31, 2003.
Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA). Sources for seinior living. ALFA website. Available at: http://www.alfa.org/alfa/Assessing_Cost.asp?SnID=368998439#Average . Accessed July 2, 2010.
Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA). What is assisted living? ALFA website. Available at: http://www.alfa.org/public/articles/details.cfm?id=96. Accessed December 31, 2003.
Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL). Steps for choosing an assisted living facility. CCAL website. Available at: http://www.ccal.org/steps_for_choosing_an_assisted_living_facility.htm. Accessed January 17, 2004.
Mollica R and the National Academy for State Health Policy. State Assisted Living Policy 2000. Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Resource Network website. Available at: http://www.hcbs.org/resources/four/al/state_assisted_living_policy_200.htm. Accessed January 17, 2004.
National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). Assisted living: independence, choice and dignity. NCAL website. Available at: http://www.ncal.org/about/alicd.pdf. Accessed December 31, 2003.
Last reviewed July 2010 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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