Services Offered by Assisted Living Communities
When an older adult lives with a chronic illness or a disability, they're in need of support and care for daily help with meals, personal care, and other activities. The needs may not require an intensive level of care like that of a nursing home, but a higher level than what's received at home.
Assisted living is part of a continuum of long-term care services that offers services, in combination, with housing, personal care services, and health care that help residents in need of assistance with daily activities in a way that promotes maximum independence.
Most states have departments or agencies that register, license or certify, assisted living residences.
A resident receives a tailored care plan that helps each function safely within the assisted living facility. When the resident moves in, the staff develops a coordinated plan specifically aligned with each resident's needs. The agreement, which includes an assessment the resident's physical and psychosocial needs, reviewed and updated regularly by the staff, and as the resident's condition changes. The resident and family members play an active role in the service plan.
A resident care coordinator oversees the process of developing, implementing, and evaluating the progress of the service plan. The resident and family members receive copies of the service plan, if requested.
Assisted living provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living (ADL's); coordination of services by outside health care providers or nursing care; short-term respite care, lodging, transportation, and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure one's health, safety, and well-being.
Assistance by a Trained Staff
The assisted living residence hires and trains the staff employed directly by them. Typical staff includes:
- Administrators or directors, who manage the residence;
- Nurses, who assist residents with health care services according to state regulations;
- Medication assistants who help residents with their medications;
- Personal care staff, who assist residents with personal needs, such as bathing, eating, and dressing;
- Marketing/Admissions personnel, who market the residence and assist with the move-in process;
- Food service personnel, who prepare and serve nutritional meals to residents;
- Activities coordinators, who organize recreational activities and spiritual programs for residents; and
- Maintenance personnel; and
- Housekeeping personnel.
When asked if privately hired nurses, aides, or private duty nurses permitted to provide services to residents, 82% of the Residential Care Facilities reported Yes.
Here is a list of the regular services offered by facilities:
- Activities of Daily Living help
- Medication Management
- Supervision & Assistance
- Resident Activities
- Nursing/Health Care
Additional Services Offered By Some Facilities
Short-term respite care
There are several reasons that older adults take advantage of short-term respite care from an assisted living facility.
- You're recovering from a hospital or nursing home stay and need some extra help to ease into the transition to returning home
- You're thinking about moving into a senior living community and want to fully experience the lifestyle before making a final decision.
- You're a caregiver going on vacation or just needing a break to meet the demands of life.
In a study conducted by The Center for Disease Control in 2010, 73% of Residential Care Facilities reported that they do not provide short-term respite care services, while 27% of the facilities do offer short-term respite care.
Adult Day Care Services
Adult Day Care Centers provide care and companionship for seniors needing assistance or supervision during the day. It offers relief to family members or caregivers that give them a much-needed break, to go to work, handle personal affairs or simply to relax.
- Evening care
- Day trips
- Respite care
- Medication Management
In a study conducted by The Center for Disease Control in 2010, 89% of Residential Care Facilities reported that they do not provide adult day care services.
Skilled nursing is a type of nursing home care that offers long or short-term care for people needing rehabilitation or who suffer from serious health issues. A nurse or team of medical care staff cares for the resident.
- Registered nurses,
- Licensed practical and vocational nurses,
- Physical and occupational therapists,
- Speech-language pathologists, and
- Assessment and evaluations
- Pre- and post-operative care
- Skilled nursing assessment with monitoring vitals
- Catheter care/change
- Diabetic care
- Infusion therapies
- Lab draws/injections/IV therapies
- Wound care/dressing change
- Wound vac competent care
- Tube feeding, G-tube care, and teaching
- Orthopedic care
- Pulmonary care
- Medication management and administration
In the CDC survey, 39% of the Residential Care Facilities provide skilled nursing services. Skilled nursing services performed by a registered nurse (RN), or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and are medical in nature.
Occupational therapists (OTRs) help residents enjoy as much autonomy and independence as possible, depending upon their unique strengths and limitations.
Occupational Therapist helps residents with:
- Learn to use aids like "reachers," or long sticks with hooks at the end to pick up small items without bending
- Learn to use dressing sticks to help residents with limited motion or grasping capabilities to dress themselves
- Learn to use sock aids and long shoe horns for those who have trouble grasping socks or bending over to slip on their shoes.
- Learn to use raised toilet seats and different types of bathtub benches that help with safe toileting and bathing
- Recommend different types of larger equipment like wheelchairs and walkers.
- Recommend and train other aides to use equipment designed for residents with higher levels of need.
In the CDC survey, 40% of the Residential Care Facilities provide occupational therapy, but only 14% of the people performing the occupational therapy are employees of the facility.
Physical therapy helps residents maintain or improve their level of functioning that increases their activity and independence. Senior housing communities partner with healthcare providers who bring their expertise directly to the residents.
Physical therapy restores function for individuals who have neuromuscular or skeletal dysfunction. Individualized treatment includes:
- Training in mobility, gait stability, posture and positioning
- Exercise programs to increase muscle function, coordination and endurance
- Joint and soft tissue mobilization to increase range-of-motion
- Wound care
- Pain management
In the CDC survey, 44% of the Residential Care Facilities provide physical therapy for residents, but only 17% of the people performing physical therapy are employees of the facility.
The health monitoring of residents offered by assisted living include:
- Healthcare alerts to notify caregivers of emergency medical needs
- Electronic health monitoring and medication prompts
- Remote vital-sign monitoring systems
96% of the Residential Care Facilities surveyed by The Center for Disease Control in 2010, provides basic health monitoring, such as blood pressure and weight checks and 85% of the facilities' that provide health monitoring use staff perform these checks.
Social Services Counseling
65% of assisted living facilities do not offer social services counseling services to residents. Social services counseling is counseling related to obtaining and keeping benefits provided by programs such as Supplemental Security income, Social Security, and Medicaid.
Effectively caring for residents is complex. A monthly case management program for residents monitors both clinical and social outcomes.
An organized approach of regular assessment of residents avoids crisis management, and improves the quality of the resident's experience in the senior living facility.
Case management tracks:
- Weight changes
- Falls and injuries
- Doctor and ER visits
- Pain assessment
- Medication changes
- Activities of Daily Living
- Behavior changes
- Social engagement
57% of facilities provide case management services.
It's a good idea to visit the assisted living facility during mealtime. The staff welcomes you to eat with the residents to see whether the food is good and fresh, and to evaluate the dining room service. Questions ask about meals:
- Are the menus reviewed or designed by nutritionists?
- Do the meals look and taste homemade?
- Is the food tasty and nutritious?
- Are regional foods integrated into the menu plan?
- How many meals served and snacks offered each day?
- Can I receive my meal in my room?
- Are meals served at convenient and flexible times?
- What is the menu like?
- Are special meals or diets available, if needed?
- What are the food choices?
- If you have special dietary needs, how will they be handled?
In a study conducted by The Center for Disease Control in 2010, 93% of Residential Care Facilities provide special diets for residents.
In the same Center for Disease Control survey, 87% of the facilities that provide special diets receive meals from the paid facility employees.
More Information on Meals
How many meals included in the monthly base rate? 98% of the facilities includes 3 meals a day in the monthly rate.
Are residents required to eat at a scheduled time? 58% reported Yes.
Does the facility serve meals in a specific location? 64% reported Yes.
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.
- What is Assisted Living?
- Who Lives in Assisted Living?
- Services Provided
- Staff and Administration
- Quiz: What type of care is right for me?
- Talking to a Parent
- Assisted Living Costs
- Ways to Pay for Assisted Living
- Putting Together a Financial Plan
- If You Can't Afford Assisted Living
- Planning Your Social Security to Better Pay for Retirement
- Prescription Drug Assistance
- Choosing an Assisted Living Facility
- Moving Out of the Family Home
- Moving Into an Assisted Living Community
- Resident Activities
- Resident Health
- Medication Management and Adherence Education
- How Tech Advanced are Facilities?