Assisted living is a type of long-term residential senior care designed for older adults who need help with their everyday personal needs, like bathing and dressing, and other tasks, such as laundry and transportation.

Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs) do not provide skilled medical care. Rather, ALFs offer residents daily support, a social environment, and around-the-clock staff available for emergency support. Care is catered to each individual, so residents can remain as independent as possible. This makes assisted living a good fit for many seniors who are beginning to have challenges with their day-to-day tasks but do not need ongoing medical care. 

Key Points

  • Assisted living is a type of senior living that provides residents with assistance with their daily tasks but does not offer regular skilled medical care
  • Assisted living is a good fit for seniors who need help performing their daily activities but do not need regular medical care
  • As of 2023, assisted living costs an average of $4,459 per month in the United States
  • Medicare does not cover assisted living, but many states’ Medicaid waiver programs and some VA benefits provide some financial assistance

Is Assisted Living Right for You?

Assisted living is a good fit for people who need assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing and dressing, want to have around-the-clock help available, and seek opportunities to socialize with other people in the same life stage. 

To meet those needs, some of the services you’ll find in assisted living include:

  • Help with ADLs
  • Medication management 
  • Prepared meals 
  • Housekeeping and laundry services 
  • Interior and exterior home maintenance 
  • Planned group activities, events and outings 
  • Transportation 
  • Physical and occupational therapy services (sometimes off-site)

Some of the amenities you’ll typically find in assisted living include:

  • On-site fitness center 
  • Activity room and other shared spaces such as a library or art studio 
  • Salon or barbershop
  • Worship room
  • Group dining areas
Continue Reading: See common activities you can expect to find in assisted living communities

Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living 

When trying to determine if it’s time for you or your loved one to move to assisted living, focus on indicators that it’s becoming difficult to complete ADLs, — and that living on one’s own has become unmanageable or unsafe. 

Some of these behaviors include: 

  • Noticeable weight loss or increased frailty 
  • Changes in one’s appearance, such as stained clothing or unkempt hair
  • Recent accidents in the home (such as a fall) or while driving 
  • Loneliness due to lack of companionship
  • Bills and loans going unpaid and mail from creditors going unopened 
  • Stale or expired foods in the pantry and refrigerator
  • Broken appliances that your loved one used to use regularly 
  • Signs of lax housekeeping such as a dirty bathroom or lots of clutter around the home 

If it does sound like it’s time for you or your loved one to move to assisted living, you can call (800) 558-0653 for free, personalized assistance finding the right community from one of our trained Family Advisors. 

Continue Reading: Find out more about how to know when it’s time for assisted living in our Answers Center

Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Senior Care

If you’re unsure if assisted living is right for you, one of the other types of senior care may be a better fit. See how they compare below. 

Care Type

Shared Spaces + Group Activities

Offers housekeeping

Offers Assistance with ADLs*

Offers skilled nursing services

Assistance available 24/7

Assisted Living



*Activities of Daily Living. Learn More About ADLs.

**Regular skilled nursing care is sometimes, but not always, offered in assisted living and memory care communities. 

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

As of 2023, the national average cost of assisted living is $4,459 per month. This can vary drastically depending on several factors: 

  • Location: Costs vary significantly in different areas of the country. If you live in a high-cost-of-living area, expect to pay on the high end for assisted living. 
  • Type of Community: While all assisted living communities provide assistance with ADLs, the “extras” can vary significantly. Luxury assisted living communities will have upgraded amenities and services like on-demand concierge or on-site golf courses, while affordable senior living communities will have fewer lifestyle services and may have older construction. Both can offer a great assisted living experience; it just depends on what your budget and priorities are. 
  • Individual Services Needed: Some communities charge an extra fee for services that go beyond help with ADLs, such as physical and occupational therapy. 
  • Cost Structure: Some ALFs charge an all-inclusive monthly fee, while others may charge for things like therapy services, group outings, or food, drinks or snacks eaten outside of mealtimes. Be sure to review a community’s cost structure in detail to understand the total cost.’s Cost Methodology
The average monthly cost of assisted living figure cited above is from’s proprietary calculation, which is based on costs from over 75,000 senior living providers. 
Learn More About’s Cost Data Methodology 

How to Pay for Assisted Living 

Because assisted living communities are not medical facilities, they are not covered by Medicare. Likewise, assisted living is not one of the covered services under standard Medicaid. However, many states offer Medicaid waivers, add-ons to standard Medicaid, that can help seniors pay for assisted living. Additionally, there are other ways to make assisted living more affordable, including: 

  • Veteran benefits
  • Long-term care insurance 
  • Annuities
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Life insurance payouts 
Continue Reading: Learn more about the different ways you can pay for assisted living

How to Find Assisted Living 

If you’re looking for an assisted living community for yourself or a loved one, we can help.’s expert Family Advisors provide no-cost, personalized advice and recommendations for care seekers like you. Call (800) 558-0653 to speak with an advisor and start the process of finding the right assisted living community for you. 

For guidance on what to look for in an assisted living community for yourself or a loved one, you can read our guide to How to Choose an Assisted Living Community

Or, if you’d like to start your search independently, you can use the module below to get started. 

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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