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How Assisted Living Facilities and Adult Family Homes Serve Disabled Persons

Assisting living residences provide individuals, living with a form of disability, the security and assistance they need to live like a person who is not disabled. Most assisted living communities provide on-site care, while some contract with outside agencies.

Amenities vary from facility to facility. Some may offer things like fitness centers, beauty salons and transportation services. Costs vary depending upon room size and level of care required.

Group Homes

Services for Disabled Residents
Services for Disabled Residents

Group homes or adult family homes for the disabled are another option for persons needing specialized care. A group home provides housing and meals, and may provide other activities to residents, such as field trips, sports activities, and transportation services to medical appointments, shopping and entertainment activities.

Each adult home and assisted living facility is different, depending upon state and local regulations, and their options vary.

1. An assisted living facility, licensed by the state, provides housing and care services to seven or more people in a home or facility in a residential neighborhood.

2. An adult family or group home, licensed by the state, provides housing and care services for up to six adults in a regular house in a residential neighborhood.

Some residential care facilities provide specialized care to people living with developmental disabilities, dementia, or mental illness. While smaller ones operate by a family, a single person or business partners, it's set up for profit or not for profit.

Both residential care homes and facilities provide housing and meals (room and board) and assume general responsibility for the safety and care of the resident.

What to Look for

When searching for a home or facility for a disabled loved one, especially if the person is young, look for a place that offers full care and training for residents with special needs.

These types of homes focus on building a community where people can grow, learn and age in place.

Disabled residents and families gain security knowing they'll have fulfilling lives and experiences. Communities like these are a great alternative to assisted living that houses older residents. The level of care is different, supportive and guided.

The charge of a residential home serving disabled people encourages their residents to grow and meet their potential. Care plans arrange for residents, the staff, and family to create goals. They'll include therapy, skills, activities, and employment.

Residents are given control in the plan. They choose what they want to accomplish but always under the review of staff and family.

Training and Skills

Skills the residents learn the range from grooming to a variety of life-skill-based training.



Money management,

Weight management

Healthy eating

These specialized skills enable residents to reach the highest level of personal independence in daily routines.

Activities for Healthy Lifestyle

Care Plan
Care Plan

Activity directors help residents decide the types of activity needs that are best for health and interests. With the care plan in hand, they design a schedule that keeps each resident moving toward their goals.

Off-campus activities

Residents enjoy a variety of supervised activities in the larger community:

  • Watching athletic events
  • Making trips for dining, shopping for personal items
  • Enjoying music concerts, arts, and food festivals
  • Attending weekly religious services at local churches or synagogues
  • Visiting performing arts and museums
  • Sightseeing
  • Taking vacations

Whether its walking, biking, gardening or playing sports, the goal is to encourage residents to use activity to improve health, vitality and enjoyment of life.

Additional services

Varying levels of assistance with personal care

  • Intermittent nursing care (a nurse available on a part-time basis)
  • Resident Evaluations
  • Resident health services
  • Medication and treatment systems
  • Change of conditions and monitoring
  • Nutritious meals with snacks
  • Personal and other laundry services;
  • Assistance with mobility, including one-person transfers
  • Assistance with bathing and personal hygiene
  • Intermittent intervention, supervision and staff support for residents who exhibit behavioral symptoms
  • Medication reminders
  • Transportation for medical and social purposes

How to Choose

When choosing the best home for a person with a disability there are many things to consider like potential problems and negligence and abuse. It's important to discuss at length your expectations and needs before committing to a facility and the administrator.

Do not rush the decision or the interview process. Talk with other residents and their family members. Continue to probe the administrator until you feel comfortable.

What to look for in a visit

Choosing a Suitable Home
Choosing a Suitable Home
  • Is the facility clean and odorless?
  • Look at the furniture in the building and inspect a resident room. Is carpeting worn and dingy?
  • Do the residents look well-groomed?
  • Is the kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, guest rooms clean?
  • Do they employee caregivers to meet the special needs of residents?
  • Who administers medicine and attend to urgent medical needs?
  • Are family members and residents encouraged to stay connected?
  • How does the home facilitate family communication?
  • Are caregivers and employees engaged with the residents?
  • What is the employment process? Are they checked for criminal activity? How often?
  • What types of training do employees receive and how long is the training?

Once you've chosen a facility, it is important to visit it as frequently as possible so that you may spot potential problems or abuses.

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.