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A 2023 Guide to Assisted Living

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What Is Assisted Living?

Looking for a long-term senior care solution? Assisted living might just be the answer you've been searching for! These communities cater to seniors who require assistance with daily activities, while still providing a sense of independence. With personalized care, basic health services, 24-hour security, and fun group activities, residents can enjoy their golden years to the fullest. Plus, accommodations like housekeeping, laundry, and meals make life easier and more enjoyable. Give your loved one the care and comfort they deserve with assisted living!

Discover a new living environment that offers more than just care. Assisted living communities are not your typical nursing homes - they provide a warm and welcoming community that ensures safety while still providing independence. Forget about the 24/7 medical attention, with assisted living, residents are encouraged to live life as they please. Join a community that values happiness and well-being.

Are you looking for the perfect living arrangements for your loved one or yourself? Look no further! Navigating the assisted living community can be overwhelming, but fear not. I have prepared a comprehensive guide to help you understand how it works, what services are provided, and how to identify the best home that caters to your needs. Welcome to a world of limitless possibilities and exceptional elderly care!

FYI: Looking for senior housing options beyond traditional assisted living? You're in luck! There are some amazing alternatives out there that are definitely worth exploring. These innovative approaches to elderly care can provide a range of benefits and opportunities for your loved one. So why not take a closer look and see what options might be best suited to your family's unique needs and preferences? We're here to help guide you every step of the way!

Are There Different Levels of Assisted Living?

Discover the diverse world of assisted living facilities! From facilities tailored to specific cultures to those with a range of care options, there are many choices available to suit your needs. Get the personalized care you deserve with the sliding scale of services provided by most facilities. Don't settle for just any assisted living option - find one that fits your unique lifestyle and preferences.

Are you or a loved one struggling to maintain independence while wrestling with daily tasks? Assisted living may be the solution you need. By providing tailored help in the areas where it's needed most, assisted living allows residents to maintain autonomy and quality of life. One example is a former caregiving client who struggled with cooking nutritious meals and dealing with isolation. He found the perfect solution in an assisted living facility offering prepared meals and a shared dining space, allowing him to eat and socialize with others. Discover how assisted living can improve overall well-being and provide much-needed support to seniors and their families.

Are you someone who values their independence but needs a little help with managing medications and bathing? Consider an assisted living facility where you can live your life as usual while receiving these extra services. Instead of feeling like a burden, embrace the added interactions with caregivers who will remind you to take your meds and assist you with bathing. Live your best life with ease and support at an assisted living facility.

Do I Qualify for Assisted Living?

Here are some of the criteria that qualify your loved ones for assisted living:

  • Assistance: Say goodbye to the dull and impersonal atmosphere of nursing homes! With assisted living facilities, you'll receive all the nonmedical services you need, from dressing to bathing, all in a friendly and supportive environment. These communities are perfect for anyone who needs a little extra help with daily tasks, making them the ideal choice for those seeking an engaged and fulfilling lifestyle. Join us and experience the care and attention you deserve!
  • Mobility: Assisted living communities are designed to provide seniors with the support they need while maintaining a sense of independence. To be eligible for these communities, seniors should be able to get around with relative ease either by walking or using a scooter or wheelchair independently. It's important to ensure that seniors can enjoy their golden years to the fullest and that means giving them the freedom to move around on their own terms.
  • Self-Efficiency: Assisted living facilities offer a wonderful option for those who desire some level of independence, but need assistance with daily activities. Living in your own comfortable apartment, help is always there when needed. So, come and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with assisted living!
  • Health Stability: Looking for a new home? We've got you covered! Our community is perfect for those who want to maintain their independence while still receiving top-notch care. We understand that everyone's medical needs are different, that's why we make sure our residents don't require ongoing medical attention. If you have a chronic condition, don't worry - you'll be able to manage it on your own with ease. Embrace a worry-free lifestyle with us!
  • In these financially challenging times, the price of everyday essentials has skyrocketed. This has led to a lot of families, especially ones on fixed incomes, having to think outside the box when it comes to managing their money.

    What Is the Average Length of Stay in Assisted Living?

    Did you know that, on average, people stay in assisted living facilities for 2 1/2 to three years? However, there are certain factors that may lead them to leave. The top two reasons are typically a decline in their health and the need for more intense medical care. It's important to keep in mind that assisted living communities are designed to provide comfort and support, but as people's needs change, so too must their living arrangements.

    What Does Assisted Living Provide?

    Looking for an assisted living residence and not sure which level of care you need? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Most facilities offer various levels of care, each with its own pricing structure. While the services and amenities will vary from one residence to another, you can typically expect to receive certain basic services. Here are some of the most common services you'll find available:

    • Assistance with personal care (bathing, dressing, eating)
    • Three cooked meals a day
    • Housekeeping
    • Laundry
    • Help with medication administration
    • Health monitoring and management (not skilled nursing)
    • 24-hour security
    • 24-hour supervision
    • Recreational activities
    • Senior transportation
    • Social service help
    • Religious activities
    • Educational activities

    Does Assisted Living Help with Toileting?

    Assisted living communities may not offer medical attention like nursing homes, but they definitely lend a helping hand to their residents when it comes to personal care. From bathing to using the bathroom, they make sure their residents are assisted and comfortable.

    Does Assisted Living Include Meals?

    Good news! You won't have to worry about cooking three meals a day at many senior living communities as they include them in the base price. Although some may charge extra for special dietary needs, the majority of facilities have got you covered with their delicious meal services. Enjoy your retirement worry-free!

    Pro Tip: Looking for the perfect community can be overwhelming, but fear not! A helpful tip to make things a tad easier is to ask for each community's list of available services. This way, you can compare and contrast each one when decision time rolls around. Always remember to ask nicely and you'll be pleasantly surprised how willing people are to help!

    Did you know that in the US alone, there are approximately 30,000 assisted living communities? That's nearly one million licensed beds available for those who need it. It's interesting to note that the average assisted living community has 33 licensed beds, but some communities offer more than 100. With so many options available, we can find the perfect match for our loved ones who need extra assistance and care.

    Looking for your perfect home in an assisted living community? Look no further! You'll find a range of private studio, one-bedroom, and even dorm-style apartments, each offering a unique living experience. Most units come with a private restroom, along with a cozy space for food storage or cooking. And if you love to cook, you may be in luck - some communities even feature full-sized kitchens. Plus, you can choose from fully furnished or unfurnished options, meaning you can truly make your new space your own. Come find your dream home today!

    Can a Spouse Live in Assisted Living?

    Did you know that assisted living communities often allow couples to move in together? It's true! And what's even better is that when spouses make the transition together, they tend to have a more pleasant and comfortable experience. So if you're looking for a senior living option for you and your significant other, consider assisted living communities that offer different room sizes for both of you. It could be a wonderful new chapter in your lives.

    Are Pets Allowed in Assisted Living Facilities?

    Did you know that most assisted living communities are pet-friendly? That's right! Your furry friend can come along with you. However, it's important to note that each community might have specific rules regarding pets. For instance, some exotic animals might not be allowed, and certain breeds or sizes of dogs might be restricted. Don't worry though, just make sure to ask the facility about their specific rules and regulations, including any additional pet fees. Your furry friend is welcome, and we want to make sure they're happy and safe too!

    Can You Drink Alcohol in Assisted Living?

    Did you know that assisted living communities have different policies when it comes to alcohol consumption? While some places offer it with meals, others require written approval from a doctor. If alcohol is important to you, it's important to inquire about each community's individual policy. Stay informed and find the right community that aligns with your lifestyle.

    Assisted Living Versus Nursing Homes

    Have you ever wondered what the difference is between living in an assisted living center versus a nursing home? It's a common confusion, but the truth is that these two senior living options have distinct differences. While on-site staff can help with certain tasks in assisted living, it's still a very different lifestyle than a nursing home. Let's explore some of the key differences together.

    • Medical Care: The primary difference between nursing homes and assisted living is that assisted living strives to provide a truly home-like experience, while nursing homes exist to provide higher levels of medical care, requiring a more clinical setting. On average, a resident of assisted living receives about 12 minutes of nursing care and about two hours of personal care per day. The average nursing home resident receives between 1.2 and 2.7 hours of skilled nursing care each day. While assisted living facilities may help you with medication, nursing homes provide many medical services. Licensed physicians supervise each patient’s care, skilled nurses are present 24/7, and other services like physical, occupational, and speech therapy are also common.
    • Expenses: In most states, nursing homes commonly cost more than assisted living, as around-the-clock nursing is required. The cost difference can be quite significant, reaching as high as several thousand dollars per month in certain states.
    • Mobility: Assisted living residents usually maintain some level of mobility, while nursing home patients are frequently bedridden. If a person has severe mobility limitations, an assisted living facility likely won’t admit them.
    • Rooms vs. Apartments: Assisted living facilities provide one-bedroom or studio apartments. Nursing homes offer single or semi-private rooms without kitchens or separate living spaces.
    • Safety: Nursing homes have trained medical staff available at all hours, whereas these professionals usually visit assisted living facilities during certain hours. The level of care is lower in assisted living facilities since they generally have healthier residents.

    When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

    Are you or a loved one considering a move to assisted living? It's a big decision and not to be taken lightly. But for those who cannot age in place, it can offer increased independence and a sense of community. Wondering if it's the right choice for you? Check out our list below to get a better idea. Whether you're a senior or caregiver, we wish you all the best in making this important decision.

    Did you know that planning a conversation about assisted living before your loved one needs to move can be a game-changer? Here's why: many facilities have wait-lists and if you wait until there's a crisis, your options may be limited. By starting the conversation early, you give yourself and your loved one more time to explore different options and find the best fit. Remember, a little planning goes a long way towards peace of mind for both you and your loved one.

    If your loved one is experiencing struggles with daily tasks or has started to feel lonely and isolated, it may be time to start considering assisted living. By providing additional support, assisted living facilities can offer residents a comfortable and safe environment, as well as the opportunity to engage with others and enjoy a variety of activities. So, if you're concerned about their well-being or want to explore new options for their care, take the time to have an open and honest conversation with your loved one about assisted living.

    • Are you or your loved one experiencing more frequent accidents, such as falls or small house fires? As our bodies age, moving around becomes more difficult, and serious falls become more common. Many of my clients often leave appliances on such as the oven, leading to potentially hazardous fires.
    • Have household tasks, such as laundry and dishes, become exceedingly difficult? Do you notice your loved one leaving chores undone that they would normally do?
    • Has caring for your loved one become detrimental to your own health/quality of life? Does providing adequate care feel like a task beyond your capabilities, either in terms of time or specialized skills? Caregiver burnout is when you are emotionally or physically fatigued, leading to exhaustion and illness.
    • Are sundowning incidents becoming more intense and difficult to handle? Do you often fear for your or your loved one’s safety?
    • Has your loved one lost weight because of a lack of food or gained weight from too much fast food? Are they eating the same thing every day? Does their blood work point to malnutrition?
    • Has your loved one been pulled over for erratic driving? Are there dents in their car or garage door? Do they go on long walks and forget how to get home?
    • Do they sometimes have accidents because it takes too long to get to the toilet? Is it becoming difficult or dangerous for them to bathe themselves?
    • Does your loved one see people regularly? Do they keep in touch with friends and family members? Do they leave the house regularly for any activities or hobbies?

    How to Research Assisted Living Facilities

    Are you struggling to find the perfect assisted living community for your loved one? Don't worry, you're not alone! With so many options out there, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But fear not, for there is a solution! One way to make the search easier is by making a list. I've used this list to help many of my caregiving clients find their ideal facilities, and now I'm sharing it with you. Trust me, with a little bit of planning and organization, finding the perfect community for your loved one is well within reach!

    Factors to Consider When Choosing an Assisted Living Community

    • The distance of the facility from loved ones (walking and driving)
    • The distance from emergency medical care/hospital
    • Range of services available with the community (housekeeping, laundry, bathing, etc.)
    • Services included in the base plan
    • Types of food offered for meals
    • Religious services and affiliations
    • Social and recreational activities offered
    • Levels and types of training staff members receive
    • Parking and transportation
    • Staff attitude and demeanor
    • Fitness facilities
    • Pet rules
    • Online reviews
    • Recent complaints filed against the community with the local Better Business Bureau
    • Unique aspects about the community, such as an on-site Starbucks
    • Results of state or federal inspections

    Discovering the right assisted living facility can be a tiresome process, but don't worry, we've got you covered! Once you have a few sites in mind, plan to visit them- a couple of times if possible! No appointment? No problem! Simply drop in for a quick tour. While you're there, take a moment to speak with other residents about their positive experiences and pose questions to the staff. We're confident that by the end of your visits, you'll find the place that suits you best!

    • How do payments work?
    • How, when, and by whom are care needs evaluated? If my needs change, will my monthly cost increase?
    • Is there a deposit? If so, is it refundable?
    • How often do they ask residents to leave? What are the criteria for requiring a resident to move to a higher level of care?

    Pro Tip: Moving can be hectic, but don't forget to give your medication some extra attention! Keep those important pills close by, so they don't wander off during the chaos. Trust us, you don't want to be searching for some Tylenol in the middle of all those boxes! Make sure to take care of yourself and your health during this busy time.

    Transitioning to Assisted Living

    Upon your loved one's arrival at their new home, a friendly and warm representative will be eagerly anticipating your arrival to give you a guided tour around the facility. Don't forget to pick up a copy of the Resident's Bill of Rights and your contract if you haven't already received them. We want to ensure that you have all the information you need to feel comfortable and secure in this new environment.

    Before moving out:

    • Take time to say goodbye. A home is a big part of your loved one’s life. Recognize that they may go through a mourning period, and that’s okay. For my clients, I like to plan a dinner with family members and friends. This is a great way to honor one’s space and create a final positive memory.
    • Plan future visits. Leaving one’s home is scary, regardless of age. Many older adults often feel like they’ll be abandoned in care facilities. To assuage these fears, start making plans with them. Perhaps set aside a day or two for regular visits. You could even plan for regular activities out of the center such as trips to a house of worship.

    When you get there:

    • Make it look like home. Decorate their new place with personal items that make their apartment feel special. Photo albums and family heirlooms are a great way to accomplish this.
    • Get involved. Ask an employee for a list of activities in the assisted living facility, and figure out which ones will interest your loved one. Most places will offer cultural, exercise, culinary, and craft clubs that meet regularly. Many of these groups even allow guests, so you could join in.
    • Dine with other residents. Living in assisted living can often be defined by the other residents. To help your loved one get adjusted, consider accompanying them to a meal to help them branch out.

    When to Move From Assisted Living to a Nursing Home

    As we age, our needs change - this is no secret. And while assisted living communities provide fantastic support that can make daily living much easier for older adults, there may come a point where even they can't provide the level of care an individual needs. It's important to remember that everyone's needs are different, and each community has different capabilities and rules. But fear not - there are other options available to ensure that our loved ones get the best possible care as they continue to age.

    Has your loved one been in assisted living for a while now? Maybe it's time to consider a change. There are many options available, such as memory care communities or smaller adult care homes. If your loved one is struggling with dementia, wandering, or exit-seeking, memory care may be a more appropriate choice. Nursing homes are also an option, and they often have on-site physicians who can provide more attentive care for complex medical needs. Don't hesitate to explore these options if you think a change is needed – there are many great choices available to help your loved one get the care they need.

    Can Residents Periodically Leave Assisted Living?

    Did you know that one of the perks of assisted living is the freedom residents have to come and go as they please? As long as their health allows it and they give notice, they can venture out and explore the world. It's a great way for them to maintain their independence and enjoy their golden years to the fullest. So, don't hesitate to encourage your loved one to take a trip or have an adventure – they deserve it!

    Can Assisted Living Kick Out Residents?

    Did you know that assisted living facilities have the legal right to evict residents, even if they're unable to care for themselves due to a debilitating illness? It's true! Unlike nursing homes, assisted living policies vary from state to state, meaning there are fewer restrictions on evictions. While this may seem harsh, it's important to understand the laws surrounding assisted living so we can make informed decisions about our loved ones' care.

    Did you know that facilities are able to evict residents if they can't provide the necessary level of care? Sadly, I've seen firsthand residents being asked to leave due to their worsening Alzheimer's which puts their safety at risk. However, it's important to note that every situation is unique and it's vital for both the facility and resident to work together to find the best possible solution.


    Making the transition to assisted living is a big change, but for older adults who need just a bit of extra help, it can be a great solution. Sure, the price tag can be a bit daunting, but with so many funding and finance options available and a variety of activities like fitness classes and social events, it's definitely worth considering. And based on what I've seen, both older adults and caregivers experience less stress once the move is made. So if you're trying to decide on the best next step for your family member, give assisted living a second look - it could be just the thing they need to live their best life.

    To learn more about assisted living, read our guide to 
    assisted living costs.

    Additionally, be sure to check out our guides to different types of communities.

    To learn more about assisted living, read our guide to 
    assisted living costs.

    Additionally, be sure to check out our guides to different types of communities:

    • Christian Assisted Living
    • Jewish Assisted Living
    • Quaker Assisted Living
    • Adventist Assisted Living
    • Baptist Assisted Living
    • Presbyterian Assisted Living
    • Catholic Assisted Living
    • Methodist Assisted Living
    • Lutheran Assisted Living

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Family members are almost always allowed as overnight guests at assisted living communities. After all, it is the resident’s apartment. Even communities that lock their doors at night will often buzz in family members who want to stay with loved ones but arrive after regular visiting hours.

    Most assisted living facilities include transportation services in their fees. These services can range from rides to and from doctor appointments to group transport for a shopping trip at the mall.

    Some assisted living apartments are furnished. Others are not. It depends on the facility. Even in furnished apartments, residents are encouraged to bring in some personal items to help make the place their own.

    While requirements for assisted living residence vary, most communities insist residents be at least 60 years of age. Certain facilities have other rules such as “residents must be mobile enough to escape on their own or with little aid in the event of an emergency.”

    Written By

    Amie Clark

    Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here