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Bathrooms in Assisted Living
Facilities may offer private or shared bathrooms.

When a person moves from their family home or apartment to a facility where they receive assistive services, a state government perspective and regulatory requirements take control. Policy makers and regulators focus on the organization providing the services and the credentials of the direct care staff, and on the building itself apart from the local and state building and fire codes.

An older adult can live at home with skilled nursing needs but when she moves to an assisted living facility or setting, regulations change the types of provided services. Today, state regulations focus on the person's conditions and service needs, the source of care and the source of payment. Licensed facilities cannot deliver skilled nursing services but the resident may receive the very same care from an outside agency.

Bathroom Requirements are Regulated by the State

The same is true for accommodations - they too are state regulated.

Assisted living room types and sizes vary with all facilities. There are studio apartments and one, two or three bedroom apartments. Each resident has her own "living unit," consisting of "a private bathroom, living and bedroom space, kitchen capacity, which may mean electrical outlets to have small appliances such as a microwave and refrigerator, closets and adequate space for storage and a door with a lock, except where a lock or appliances in a unit under special care designation would pose a risk or be unsafe."

Private or Shared Bathrooms

Are Bathrooms Private or Shared?
Are Bathrooms Private or Shared?

Some apartments and rooms have private bathrooms and some offer shared bathrooms. It's best to check with the facility to learn more about living quarters.

Shared bathrooms and resident rooms may have common toilets, lavatories, and bathing facilities. When shared, it's required to have at least the following: one bathtub or shower for eight residents; one lavatory for six residents; and one toilet for six residents, depending on your state regulations for assisted living facilities.

In construction projects after 1995, assisted living and residential care facilities must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. It requires that all public use and common use areas and at least 50% of the rooms, areas, and spaces be accessible to individuals with disabilities. this includes showers in rooms, apartments and individual living units. 50% must have roll-in showers that measure 3 feet by 5 feet and have no greater that a 1/2 inch lip.

Before 1995, licensed residential care facilities must have private bathing areas in at least 20 percent of the individual living units in each section.

Statistics on Bathrooms in Assisted Living

A survey of Residential Care Facilities conducted by The Center for Disease Control in 2010, to learn what bathroom amenities offered nationally, CDC discovered:

60 percent of rooms or apartments in facilities have a full bathroom within or between the rooms or apartments, while 40 percent do not.

Percent of rooms or apartments that have a full bathroom within or between the rooms or apartments
Responses of don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Facility Responses)

30 percent of assisted living facility rooms have a half-bath within or between rooms, while 70% do not.

Percent of rooms or apartments that have a half-bath within or between the rooms or apartments
Responses of don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Facility Responses)
Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.