Is Assisted Living an Intermediate Care Facility?

Assisted living is not an intermediate care facility. Assisted living facilities primarily assist with activities of daily living (ADLs), whereas intermediate care facilities offer more extensive medical services.

What Qualifies as Assisted Living?

As living on one’s own becomes unsafe or unmanageable, assisted living facilities (ALFs) provide seniors with long-term residential care to support their day-to-day activities. This residence typically includes assistance with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming and personal hygiene, as well as medication management.

Approximately 30,600 assisted living communities exist in the United States, according to the National Center for Assisted Living. Assisted living offers seniors a safe and social environment where they receive personalized assistance while maintaining a high level of independence and autonomy. The national median cost for assisted living is $5,350 per month, as reported by Genworth’s 2024 Cost of Care Survey. Facility fees vary based on location, services, amenities and room types.

Assisted Living vs. Intermediate Care: Understanding the Differences

The difference between assisted living and intermediate care primarily lies in the scope of services provided. However, the distinction between these two types of facilities varies by state regulations and individual policies. Assisted living facilities offer a range of services to help seniors with daily activities while enhancing their quality of life. In addition to personal care, support includes services such as meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry, transportation and organized social activities. While some assisted living communities have licensed nurses or other medical staff available, they don’t provide skilled medical care.

Intermediate care facilities, on the other hand, bridge the gap between assisted living and nursing facilities by offering a higher level of medical care and supervision. These settings cater to individuals who require more medical-focused attention than assisted living provides but don’t require the intensive, round-the-clock care of a nursing home. Services include medical supervision, rehabilitative therapies and assistance with chronic health conditions and disabilities.

Considerations for Exploring Long-Term Care Options

When considering senior care, safety and comfort top the list of priorities. Elderly individuals and their families must carefully assess their needs when considering long-term care options. Consulting with a healthcare professional or elder care manager can help you better understand your loved one’s care needs. This guidance also helps them find a safe and comfortable environment for the highest quality of life. When exploring assisted living options, families should consider factors such as the facility’s staff-to-resident ratio, the range of services available, care costs and the community’s atmosphere and environment. For more information about assisted living and other long-term care options, contact your local Area Agency on Aging and speak with a trained professional who can offer guidance and referrals.