Can Anyone Live in Assisted Living?

Not everyone can live in assisted living. Individual facilities set their admission criteria, and state regulations limit offered services. Assisted living facilities can’t admit or retain residents requiring 24 hour monitoring and intensive care. 

State Regulations

Although no national legislation governs assisted living, each state has comprehensive rules and regulations regarding services, staffing and building layouts. State laws prevent assisted living communities from accepting residents whose needs fall beyond their scope of care.

For example, assisted living facilities can’t provide intensive medical care. Individuals requiring skilled nursing or around-the-clock monitoring usually find nursing homes more appropriate. Rules also cover medication administration and management. Some states allow assisted living communities to offer such services.

Admission Criteria

Each facility has admission criteria that must comply with anti-discrimination legislation. Communities often have lower age limits, typically ranging from 55 to 65. Move-in criteria also relates to care needs and service requirements. Most communities offer three to six levels of care, supporting seniors with diverse needs. These range from little or no practical assistance to full support. Individuals requiring more attention than what the highest level of care provides must consider other long-term care options.

Additionally, many assisted living communities conduct credit checks on prospective residents, and individuals must have the means to pay their monthly fees. Some also perform background checks and ensure people don’t appear on sex offender registries.

Leaving Assisted Living

Assisted living communities work with families to ensure seniors’ well-being. However, existing residents must leave a facility in some cases. Changing care needs often requires relocating to a more suitable setting, such as a specialized memory care neighborhood or nursing home. Facilities can also evict residents for antisocial behavior toward staff members or other residents, illegal activity or nonpayment of fees.