What is Assisted Living? Assisted Living Facilities are types of Senior Living that provide non-medical care. These Facilities provide supervision and assistance to older adults who do not need 24 hour medical help. Care is provided in either large Assisted Living Communities or small, Residential Care Homes.
Most Assisted Living Facilities are suited for seniors who want to live independently, but need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming and minor house chores.
Generally, doctors and nurses are not present in Assisted Living Facilities, but they are on call when residents need their assistance. For most of the 50 states, caregivers are required by state licensing to be present at all times at the facility to supervise and assist their residents.
Benefits of Assisted Living Facilities
Safety and Security: “Peace of Mind” that trained staff are on-call, onsite and ensuring that your Love One is well.
Socialization: Being around other residents for a social interaction.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Bathing, Dressing, Medication, Toileting, Transferring, Grooming, and Transportation, to name a few.
Maintenance-Free Living: Assisted Living Facilities include daily prepared meals (up to three meals), laundry services, housekeeping and more.
Activities and Amenities: Amenities that include art, music, entertainment, exercise, dancing to name a few
Assisted Living Facilities Residents
Assisted Living Facilities are suited for seniors who want to live independently but need help with activities of daily living like eating, toileting, bathing, dressing up, grooming, and other minor house chores. Assisted Living Facilities are the right senior care option for seniors who do not need 24-hour medical assistance and supervision.
Activities and programs for seniors may vary depending on the actual size of the facility or community. Usually, Communities can offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more residents and more staff. Typically, Large Communities have 25 or more senior residents while small, Residential Care Homes have fewer residents with an average of 4-6 seniors per care home.
Assisted Living Services
Types of Assisted Living Services and Amenities Offered
Most Assisted Living services include meal service, personal care assistance, housekeeping, transportation service, social activities and pleasure trips. Basic medical services such as medication assistance, medical records maintenance and monthly wellness check-ups may also be available.
Assisted Living services in these facilities may vary depending on the actual size of the facility. Usually, large communities offer a wider range of senior activities and programs as they have more senior participants.
General Care Services
Three complete meals a day including snack and drinks.
Housekeeping and Laundry Services
24-hour Emergency Call Systems for each room
Assistance with Activities of Daily Living for Seniors like eating, toileting, bathing, dressing up and walking, if needed.
Transportation to Medical Appointments
Exercise and Wellness programs to help keep seniors physically and mentally active.
Daily Meals, Housekeeping, and Laundry Services
The food service is an important factor for seniors. Assisted Living services include a wide range of healthy and nutritious menu selection. Three complete balanced meals are provided daily as well as snacks and drinks throughout the day. Special diet accommodations may be available upon request.
Usually, Residential Care Homes offer a casual family dinning style, while Large Communities may offer a wider range, from casual dinning to fine dinning. Housekeeping and laundry services are available as well.
Activities and Programs
Assisted living services include a variety of activities and programs to entertain seniors and enhance quality of life. Activities such as daily exercise, gardening and board games help keep seniors mentally and physically active for a healthy lifestyle.
The following additional activities and programs may be available to meet seniors’ needs and interests:
Scheduled Outings (trip to the movies, theme parks, concerts, etc)
Barber and Beautician services
Money Management/Banking Services
Computer and Internet Services
Assisted Living services include basic medical assistance such as:
Maintaining Medical Records
Monthly Wellness Check-up
The following health-related services may be available to seniors as well:
24-Hour Nurse Assistance
Memory Care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients
These health-related services may be performed in the Residential Care Home or Large community, but could be provided by an outside third party.
How Assisted Living Care Facilities are Different
How Does Assisted Living Care Facilities Differ From Independent Living and Memory Care?
Assisted Living Care Facilities offer assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) that include eating, bathing, showering, dressing, getting out of bed and more. Most assisted living communities are non medical facilities for active and alert seniors who want to maintain independence for as long as possible but may need help with one of the activities of daily living.
Independent Living Communities are non medical facilities for healthy, alert and active seniors that don’t want to worry about household chores and maintenance. Older adults in Independent Living want socialization with other residents and frequent activities and entertainment. Independent Living communities are similar to a hotel or resort-style living with private apartments and a private bathroom for aging adults.
Memory Care Communities provide special care to those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. These special services include structured Memory Care Programs such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other board games to help stimulate the brain. Caregivers will undergo special and extensive training to ensure the proper care is given to their residents.
How Do Assisted Living Care Facilities Differ From Nursing Homes?
Nursing Homes, or Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), are for seniors who require nursing assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week due to the higher level of care needed. Nursing Homes offer rehabilitation services and skilled nursing care for their residents that require ongoing medical attention. Aging adults usually stay at Nursing Homes for a short term period.
How Do Assisted Living Care Facilities Differ From In-Home Care?
In-Home Care is different from Assisted Living Care Facilities. In-Home Care is performed by a caregiver in the comfort of the individual’s own home or even at a family-member or friend’s home. In-Home Caregivers can stay 24-7 in the home or perform help and care during hours specified by the individual or family. This is usually one-on-one care with the caregiver directly helping and giving full attention to the individual. Since in-home care is one-on-one in the convenience of the individual’s home, it is also typically more expensive.
The difference with an Assisted Living Care Facilities is that care is performed in a facility away from home or family. Residents have moved away from their home and into either a Large Community or Care Home. This is also known as a board and care home, residential facility, or elderly care home. Help and Care at a Facility is performed by Caregivers employed or hired by the Facility owner.
Usually in a Care Home, there are usually 2 caregivers in the home taking care of 6 residents. In larger facilities, there are more caregivers present in order to help all the residents which can span up to 200 or more residents.
Types of Assisted Living Care Facilities
A) Large Communities – “Resort-Style Living”
In large Assisted Living Care Facilities, there can be anywhere from 30 to 200 residents and typically a 1:6 to 1:12 caregiver-to-resident ratio. Large communities also provide a high level of socialization among their residents, frequent activities throughout the day, pet and music therapy, daily prepared meals, transportation to mass service or doctor appointments, and assistance with bathing, dressing, walking and medication management.
Some of these care facilities also have secure, locked-down memory wings for residents that are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and have tendencies to wander.
Assisted Living Communities Sample
Brookdale Senior Living, Santa Barbara, Cape Coral, FL
Belmont Village Cardiff by the Sea, Cardiff by the Sea, Encinitas, CA
In small Assisted Living Care Facilities, also known as a residential care home, there are typically anywhere from 6 to 10 residents in the home. For most of the 50 states, state licensing also requires at least one caregiver on site at all times to supervise and assist the residents.
Seniors also prefer these types of assisted living care facilities because they provide care in a “home-like” environment similar to what they are used to at home. Also, they do provide the same services as the large care communities except for the high level of social interaction and frequency of daily activities.
Most residents in a residential care facility prefer a more intimate and quiet environment for the most part. The caregiver-to-resident ratio is typically 1 caregiver per every 2 or 3 residents in the care home. In terms of cost comparisons, smaller residential care homes can in general be a little more affordable than the costs of rent and care at a large community.
Assisted Living Care Facilities will have pros and cons and it will come down to your Loved One’s care needs, budget and location. Please ensure to do your thorough research and consult with a family care advisor who can give you care options that are a match to help you save time.
Assisted Living Residential Care Home Sample
Pleasant Home Assisted Living, Laguna Niguel, CA
Assisted Living Costs
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
Assisted Living costs can range from $3,500 per month to as much as $6,978 per month. Costs will depend on a variety of factors but they typically start at $2,800 per month. This will include care needs of your loved one, desired services and amenities, private or shared bedroom and bathroom, location of the care facility, years they have been in business, staff experience as well as other services. (source: Genworth Financial Survey 2021)
Assisted Living costs may vary depending on the location, level of care needs and size of the facility or community. Care and Rent can be very expensive, that’s why it is important to plan and prepare for your aging loved ones future.
Factors that Influence Assisted Living Costs
1) Location, Location, Location
Just like real estate prices, location always influences the cost of labor, property value, services, etc. If you need to save on Assisted Living costs and are working with a budget, you might want to consider areas a little further out from your desired location. A Senior Care Advisor should be knowledgeable with costs in a specific area and can give you a variety of options based on budget requirements.
2) Care Needs
Just like anything in life, the higher the care needs, the more expensive it gets. If certain residents require special attention from highly trained professional staff, Assisted Living costs are usually higher. Again, being able to compare a few communities and having options is ideal as one facility may charge a little less for the same provided care. A Senior Care advisor can make the search much easier and give you free options to compare.
Large Communities usually charge based on different levels of care while Small, Residential Homes typically have all-inclusive rate. These are factors that families will want to consider when looking for Senior Living.
While Assisted Living costs will vary by community, it is wise to ask what’s included so you can determine what is essential and what is not really required. Assisted Living Facilities with more amenities and services will typically have higher Assisted Living costs.
How to Pay for Assisted Living Costs
1) Long Term Care Insurance
Typically, seniors and families use private funds (or “out of pocket”) to pay for Assisted Living costs. However, some facilities accept long-term care insurance. Check your senior loved one’s long-term care insurance policy to see if this type of care is covered.
2) Veterans Aid and Attendance
This special pension is called VA Aid and Attendance Pension Program. If the senior is a war veteran and/or a spouse of war veteran, he or she might be able to get pension from the Veterans Administration to help pay for Assisted Living costs. In order to be eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance Program, the Veteran or spouse will need help with at least two Activities of Daily Living.
To qualify for the VA Aid and Assistance program, a Veteran must:
Have served in the Armed Forces on active duty for at least 90 days
Have served at least one day of active duty during time of war
Have received an honorable discharge
Require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, dressing and walking (or the qualifying Veteran’s spouse must require such assistance)
The Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver was created for older adults and disabled residents that need Nursing Home care. However, the ALW gives these residents the ability to pay for Assisted Living costs rather than nursing care.
Generally, Medicaid does not pay for Assisted Living costs but in some states, Medicaid may pay for a limited stay in the facility. Keep in mind though that you will have to qualify since Medicaid has very strict guidelines. Contact your local Medicaid office to learn more about your state’s Medicaid program. You can also contact Medicaid directly at Medicaid or 877-267-2323.
How to Find Assisted Facility Living
Where Can I Easily Find Assisted Facility Living?
Senior Care Homes provides free Assisted Facility Living Options to help seniors and families find the best-matched facilities based on budget, location and care needs. The process for finding the right care home or community can be overwhelming and daunting. Senior Care Homes helps make the journey much easier for all of the families we’ve helped since 2007.
So you’re set and ready to tour Senior Assisted Living Communities or Care Homes. The biggest mistake we see families make is not having enough options to compare. We highly recommend touring at least 2-3 facilities so that you can choose the right home for your loved one. When touring, it is important to ask the right questions and spot any red flags. Here are some important questions you should be asking when you’re touring Senior Assisted Living Communities:
Does the Senior Assisted Living Facility offer personal care services and amenities that cater to my needs?
Is the facility located nearby for family members & loved ones to visit?
Is the facility located in a safe neighborhood?
Is the facility within my budget?
Is the entire Senior Assisted Living Facility accessible to walkers and wheelchairs?
Are there grab bars & non-skid floors in the bathrooms?
Is there a door alarm system if a resident wanders?
Are call buttons located throughout the facility?
Is there a readily-available doctor or nurse, or a nearby hospital in case of health emergencies or accidents?
Do they offer nutritionally-balanced meals 7 days/week?
Can the Senior Assisted Living Facility accommodate special diets/meal requests?
Does the facility offer organized activities? Does it follow a daily schedule of activities?
Are there exercise or health programs available?
Does the facility offer transportation services if seniors need to go to the bank, church, grocery, etc.?
Does the Senior Assisted Living Facility provide families updates regarding the resident’s status and condition regularly or if necessary?
Does the facility offer arrangements for delivery of prescriptions or other medical supplies, if necessary?
Are there enough staff/caregivers? Are they readily available 24/7 to assist seniors if necessary?
Does the facility do a background check of their staff?
Senior Assisted Living is regulated by the Department of Social Services and inspected by state officials. Every state has its own policies and guidelines. If the quality standards are not met, the state will not issue a license to the facility or for existing care facilities, the license will be revoked. This helps ensure the quality of senior care services in all Senior Assisted Living Facilities.
FAQs on Assisted Living for Seniors
What is Assisted Living for Seniors?
Assisted Living for Seniors is non-medical care that provides older adults assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
What Assisted Living for Seniors services and personal care are typically offered?
Assisted Living for Seniors Services that are provided include dressing, bathing, grooming, transferring, eating, medication, and toileting.
How is Assisted Living for Seniors different from a nursing home or independent living community?
Many seniors that need Assisted Living do not need 24 hour medical supervision (as found in a nursing home) but have caregivers that can help with their Activities of Daily Living (unlike independent living communities).
Do you have any tips for moving into an Assisted Living for Seniors facility?
Absolutely. We have tips and articles from making the movie easier, to making new friends in the care home or community, etc.
What if my loved one’s needs change after moving into an Assisted Living for Seniors facility?
The nurse in a large facility does a regular assessment plus the caregivers are required to report any changes in the residents’ care needs. If you’re Loved One is in a large community, contact the head nurse or staff. If they are in a small care home, contact the care home owner.
Can family members or I visit my loved one in Assisted Living for Seniors?
Family members can visit their loved ones in an Assisted Living for Seniors Facility throughout the day. Contact the community or care home to determine the visiting hours.
Catharine “Kate” is a Certified Administrator for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) and an Expert Senior Care Advisor. Kate’s grandmother battled Alzheimer’s Disease and Kate personally understands what millions of families are going through. Kate and her team are very passionate in empowering Seniors and their families by providing them with the Best Available Senior Care Options based on Senior’s care needs, preferred location and family’s budget.