What Are Assisted Living Homes?

Assisted living homes, more widely known as assisted living facilities, are for seniors who need help with only a few, limited daily activities, but are still able to live independently. This level of care is ideal for seniors who might have some issues with memory, periods of confusion, or limited range of physical activity. Locations that support this form of care can be as small as single family homes with a handful of people, to large retirement communities with hundreds of residents.

Services assisted living facilities provide might include cooking and meal preparation, bathing, dressing, household chores, ambulating, and the monitoring or regulating of medications. In general, assisted living facilities create a personalized health plan for each resident so every person receives exactly the services he or she needs while still being able to maintain his or her independence. The services and level of care available can vary depending on the location, as this part of the healthcare sector is not entirely regulated by the federal government. As a result, each state sets its own licensing requirements, regulations and inspection procedures.

Assisted living facilities whether large or small, generally include apartments or living spaces, a dining room, common areas and activity rooms, and sometimes even a medical center and/or outdoor recreation areas. The facilities also generally provide some or all the following: transportation; laundry and housekeeping services; recreational activities; and 24 hour support and supervision for residents. Some facilities provide specialized services which can incorporate care for conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, hospice, or interim care.1 Also, some locations of assisted living facilities are part of larger retirement communities that include both independent living and nursing home properties in order to promote easy transitions through continuing care as needs change.

  1 Accessed December 9, 2008. http://www.helpguide.org/elder/assisted_living_facilities.htm#types