Assisted Living Care
What You Should Know About Assisted Living Care
What is assisted living?
An assisted-living community provides communal living, often with planned activities, housekeeping and laundry, transportation, meals, exercise and wellness programs, opportunities to socialize with other residents, assistance with activities of daily living, and some medical care.
An assisted-living community could be an apartment building, a campus-like setting, or even a large converted house. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), most have between 24 and 120 units that vary in size from a single room to a full apartment. Residents generally have a lot of freedom in terms of what they do and when they do it, but they should also get plenty of support from trained caregivers.
Assisted living is regulated (and defined) by each state rather than by the federal government, so you can expect a wide variation in what each community offers. Make sure you know exactly what the one you've selected provides before the person in your care moves in.
Who's a good candidate for an assisted-living community?
Assisted living falls somewhere between an independent living community and a skilled nursing facility in terms of the level of care provided. If the person in your care is beginning to need help with the basic activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, managing medications, toileting, and eating) -- or expects to need that help down the line -- she may find this support at a good assisted-living community. If an older adult has a serious medical condition that requires specialized care, assisted living may not be the right choice, although some assisted-living communities do have specialized wings that provide skilled nursing or Alzheimer's care.
How can we find a good assisted living community?
Caring.com has a searchable nationwide database of senior care of all types, including assisted living. Your local Area Agency on Aging can also help you find communities in your area, and your state or regional long-term care ombudsman may also be able to help. You can also consult with an expert in transitioning, such as a geriatric care manager or a senior move manager, who will be familiar with communities in your area.