What is an Assisted Living Facility?
An assisted living facility is a senior living option for those who are in need of some assistance with daily living yet aim to live as independently as possible. There are many defined types of senior living, and assisted living would fall between an independent living community and a nursing home. A typical assisted living home might offer 24-hour monitoring of its residents and various support services such as medication administration or bathing, while providing the resident with more freedom and privacy than a nursing home.
No federal standard for assisted living facilities exist, so each state defines an assisted living residence differently. There are some federal laws that exist that impact assisted living communities but most oversight occurs at the state level. Many states are moving towards defining their assisted living facilities as such, but others use different terms such as residential care facilities or personal care homes. Two thirds of states use the term assisted living. It is also important to note that some licensed assisted living facilities may care for other residents besides seniors, such as mentally challenged and those with special needs. While the term “Assisted Living Facility” covers a wide range of facility types and care types, AssistedLivingFacilities.org is geared toward offering information for seniors.
Physical Characteristics of an Assisted Living Facility
The physical characteristics of an assisted living residence can range from a house or small building with just a few beds to a large senior living campus with multiple buildings and hundreds of beds. When possible, in our facilities list, we try to state the number of beds, giving you an idea as to the size of the facility. Each state is different, and has different licensing requirements, so it is important to know what type of care facility the resident would prefer. Residents of assisted living care facilities may have meals provided as the facilities provide centralized kitchens that can prepare three meals a day. In addition, typically there are large areas for socializing and activities for the residents.
Most modern assisted living facilities offer residents with a high level of privacy. Despite the availability of 24-hour trained staff, residents will have nearly the same amount of privacy as they would within a standard apartment complex. Rooms are usually decorated and arranged in such a way as to give residents the comforting feeling of home. Since there is no need for nursing home type equipment, assisted living care homes offer more of a community type atmosphere, with the added comfort of assistance from trained staff within the facility.
Assisted Living Residents
Typically, residents of assisted living facilities are senior citizens who need some assistance with everyday life but do not need intensive care as offered in nursing homes. As such, residents will be capable of living on their own and in decent health. However, as mentioned above, since states differ on their requirements as to the type of care, some licensed facilities cater to mentally handicapped persons or persons with special needs. Read our article Who lives in an Assisted Living Facilities for more details about the typical resident.
Along with the comforts of home and companionship, the most valuable service assisted living communities offer its residents is the medical assistance from trained staff. Assisted living facilities offer a wide range of assistance to their residents and employ qualified staff. If residents are partially incapacitated from illness or injury, then the staff at the facility can assist the resident with needed care, while allowing the resident to enjoy and maintain a normal social lifestyle. Assisted living is a great option for senior citizens in need of a bit more care than independent living, but not wanting the confines of a nursing home.