What Are the Different Types of Assisted Living?

Author: Tiffany Stockton

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

The different types of assisted living are based on the services and housing provided. Seniors or individuals with disabilities may need help with activities of daily living (ADLs) but don’t require the level of medical care that exists in nursing homes.

Assisted living includes:

  • Subsidized housing
  • Board and care
  • Residential care
  • Respite
  • Memory care
  • Hospice

Understanding Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities provide supportive housing for seniors or individuals with disabilities. These facilities offer residents a balance between independence and support, standing in the gap when individuals can no longer care for themselves at home but don’t need skilled nursing. Standard assisted living services offer help with bathing, dressing, medication management, meal preparation and transportation. Laundry and housekeeping services are often available as well.

The environment’s structure promotes a sense of community and engagement, with shared spaces, social activities and on-site amenities. As the aging population continues to grow, the demand for diverse assisted living options has led to the development of specialized facilities.

The Varied Assisted Living Environments

Assisted living facilities can range in size from 8 to 100 or more residents, and all offer similar foundational care, including:

  • Subsidized housing programs offer affordable care and housing to seniors on low incomes.
  • Board and care homes offer private rooms and cozy communities of fewer than 20 individuals, with staff available around the clock but no medical care.
  • Residential or continuing care communities include single-family homes, condos, townhouses or apartments. Seniors can move from one area to another as their needs change, and staff offers 24/7 support and assistance.
  • For specialized short-term care, seniors can look to a respite option that provides support following surgery or after an injury. 
  • When health conditions escalate to include forms of dementia, residents might require memory care as a more specialized service.
  • Should further decline in health or medical needs occur, senior residents may need hospice to help ease discomfort and offer end-of-life care.

All of these can take place within an assisted living facility and provide alternatives to nursing home care.