What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a residence settlement (housing arrangement) for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, memory care, housekeeping and bathing, eating, getting dressed, taking their medicine on time, transporting, cleaning and help with other essential tasks that are individually needed. Assisted living is for people who don't need skilled Nursing care. In some states financial assistance is offered to help individuals who are in need in order to afford assisted living facilities.
At most assisted living communities, you can expect to see private or semiprivate rooms within a complex along with meals, shared dining, kitchenettes, places where people can socialize, specific activities, help with transportation, care for individuals who have Alzheimer, and more. Communities typically consist of apartments of 25 to 120 units from single rooms to full apartments.
Some houses provide personal places with live-instaff. Some non-profit companies operate them, but there are many provided by for-profit companies. Assisted living also provide (at extra cost) housekeeping, health services when needed, care for people with Alzheimer’s, personal staff for specific needs, day-and-night security, hot-line for emergency calls, exercise programs, medication management, personal laundry service, and social and recreational activities.
Nursing home is step above assisted living terms of the level care provided. In these communities, you should feel like you’re independent and have the peace of mind, feel safety because of the 24-hour security, knowing that your specific daily needs are met that’s way they are suitable for seniors who want to keep their habits and way of living.
Often assisted living is appropriate for seniors who are at least 85 years old, but younger individuals may also choose it if they have a mental disorder or mental incapacity, a substance abuse problem or a major physical problem. That is the reason why there are so many assisted living facilities with different setup and specialists who are suitable for particular people with various needs.
Assisted Living Care, Services and Amenities
Wide variety of services and conveniences are offered today by senior assisted living residents. Oftentimes less expensive than skilled nursing facilities or in-home care, most assisted living communities have a full, round-the-clock staff trained to assist residents with a variety of activities like residential care, adult congregate care, boarding home domiciliary care, bathing and dressing to medication management, toileting and help with incontinence. Many assisted living centers also provide specialized care facility for residents with dementia or Alzheimer disease.
In different states assisted living goes by various names like assisted living residence, assisted living facility (ALF) or retirement home and licensing requirements are specific. Here in our assisted living directory, you'll find assisted living providers, homes for specific care, board and care homes, and special facilities for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Also, there’s wide range of sizes and spots of facilities-from a small residential house for one resident up to very large facilities providing services to hundreds of residents, which may make a confusion surrounding assisted living. Perfect size is unrequired, every residence has its own design, style, size and location - or, an assisted living facility may look more like a high-rise building in a big city, housing several hundred residents. Most assisted living facilities also provide individual needed things like housekeeping, three daily meals plus snacks, scheduled transportation, health and exercise programs, and a host of organized health activities and events that keep your body and mind at the optimum level.
Many assisted living communities have sports facilities or health facilities to keep their guests satisfied – you can see gyms, swimming pools, common areas for socializing, beauty salons, pharmacies, libraries, tennis courts,pets and more in order to provide the best atmosphere for relax and to keep you healthy at the same time. It is hard to take a decision for which atmosphere or style is appropriate, and how well a particular facility may be able to manage and care for specific conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or stroke. There are communities that can’t offer more very basic services, such as bath, laundry, meals, and helping with the simplest of daily activities, such as dressing and eating. These communities could not be in help for people who have the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, or another serious condition.
On the other hand, there are facilities that offer just about anything that you can imagine in terms of amenities, activities, services and extras. They offer assisted facilities of every kind in high level and are better than just a housing option. These facilities rival some of the top resorts in the world – facilities that provide world-class chefs and menus; concierge services; putting greens; spa and salon services; full-time activities directors and rooms that would please the most elite of the rich and famous. Naturally, the level of care, services and amenities will be a significant determining factor when it’s time to pay fees. One more reason is that assisted living is so difficult to define in absolute terms is that it is different in its own way in every state. Each state has its own laws, specific assisted living regulations, and standards when it comes to senior care and assisted living, so what may be officially defined as assisted living in one state may be quite different in another state. In fact, some cities don’t even officially recognize the term ‘assisted living’ – instead, they may use terms like ‘supportive living’ (in Abilene, Austin, Brenham, Corpus Christi, Denton, El Paso, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mexia, Richmond, Rio Grande, San Angelo and San Antonio, in Texas) or ‘adult foster care” in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
After all, assisted living facilities allow individuals to remain independent as long as possible in an environment that maximizes the person’s autonomy, dignity, privacy, and safety, as well as emphasizes family and community involvement. This means that in cases of temporary incapacity, the care recipient should be allowed to remain in the facility or should be readmitted after needed outside services have been provided. Even in cases when the death is close for sure, the facility allows the patient to remain as long as the facility can provide any necessary services. In general, resident rights in assisted living facilities include being treated with dignity and respect, continued practice of or abstinence from religion, freedom from neglect or abuse, freedom to interact with individuals inside and outside of the facility, privacy, receipt of all evaluations of medical needs and health-related services, representation in residential councils, retention and use of personal possessions, self-control of personal finances.
Additionally, most assisted living facilities continue to allow residents to use tobacco and consume alcohol, to keep small pets or to interact with facility-owned pets, to allow visitors at any time during the day, and to allow overnight guests at the discretion of the resident. Although assisted living facilities differ by state, services offered can include assistance with daily living activities (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, etc.) central dining programs that include three meals a day, educational activities, emergency call systems in private and common areas, exercise activities, health services and medication administration, housekeeping and maintenance, organized recreational activities, personal and/or nonpersonal laundry services, social services and religious activities, transportation arrangements, wellness programs, 24-hour security. The majority of assisted living facilities also contract with home health agencies to provide skilled nursing care and with hospice providers for hospice services.
Regardless, the care recipient and his or her family should receive an initial orientation of the services provided. Additionally, an assisted living service coordinator should make an initial evaluation to determine which services your loved one needs. Your loved one should also be reevaluated on a regular basis and modifications should be made to his or her service program to reflect any services no longer needed or any additional services required. The care recipient should have access to these evaluations at all times and should be given a copy of each evaluation for his or her own records.