Assisted living communities are designed to provide seniors with a safe, supportive environment that gives residents the ideal mix of independence and 24/7 nonmedical care. It’s common for seniors to need different types of care at various points in their lives, and that’s why many assisted living facilities offer anywhere from three to five levels of care

Type of Care Provided in Assisted Living Facilities

As with all types of residential care for seniors, assisted living facilities are licensed and regulated by each state, so care levels will vary throughout the country. A three-level needs classification system is the most commonly used system. 

Level 1 Assisted Living Care

Residents who only need occasional help with their activities of daily living (ADLs) usually require the lowest level of assisted living care, often referred to as Level 1. These residents can usually manage their own personal hygiene, but they might need assistance when getting in or out of the bathtub, doing their laundry or with remembering to take their medications. 

Level 2 Assisted Living Care

Seniors who need help with some ADLs such as getting dressed, shaving or transferring on and off the toilet may need a moderate level of care. This is often referred to as Level 2 in states with three levels of assisted living care. This level of care usually includes more one-on-one support from caregivers than what’s provided at Level 1, and care costs are adjusted to reflect the additional staffing that’s needed by Level 2 residents. 

Level 3 Assisted Living Care

Level 3 assisted living care, sometimes referred to as enhanced assisted living, is typically the highest level of care available in an assisted living facility. 

This level of care includes extensive hands-on assistance with multiple ADLs throughout the day, such as toileting, bathing and communicating. Residents who need this level of care often have multiple physical impairments, and they may be living with mild to moderate memory loss. 

Choosing the Right Level of Assisted Living Care

Prior to joining an assisted living community, prospective residents undergo a noninvasive needs assessment conducted by staff at the facility. This assessment is designed to ensure that each new resident receives the level of care they need, while also identifying those who may be best served in a different type of facility, such as a nursing home or memory care community. 

The needs assessment usually involves a point-based ranking of the senior’s ability to safely perform various ADLs. The assessor will also interview the senior to see what type of care they’d like, and family members are encouraged to participate in the assessment process as well.