Assisted Living Communities
Many seniors are faced with a difficult decision: having to leave a home they’ve lived in for years in order to get inclusive care and assistance with daily needs. Assisted living communities offer 24/7 support to seniors who may not be fully dependent on care.
Basic facts about assisted living
According to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), there are currently 28,900 communities in the United States housing 811,500 residents. More than half of assisted living residents are ages 85 and older, whereas almost a third are aged 75-84.
The median time spent in assisted living is 22 months. Residents often need assistance in the following areas:
- Bathing – 64%
- Walking – 57%
- Dressing – 48%
- Toileting – 40%
- Bed transfer – 29%
- Eating 19%
Although residents are afforded some independence, they typically need medical help for:
- High blood pressure – 52%
- Arthritis – 42%
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – 42%
- Heart disease – 34%
- Depression – 31%
Most assisted living communities (40.8%) are in the western US, with 28% in the South, 22.6% in the Midwest, and 8.6% in the Northeast.
Roughly 56% of assisted living communities are chain-affiliated, whereas 42% are independently owned. They employ about 298,800 full-time nurses and social workers.
Before considering assisted living either for yourself or your loved one, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.
Difference between assisted living and nursing home facilities
The definition of an assisted living community can vary by state. Generally speaking, however, unlike nursing home facilities, assisted living communities offer home-like living spaces for seniors who may not be fully dependent on around-the-clock care. In addition, assisted living communities often are simply housing programs that offer comprehensive care, whereas nursing homes are institutional care facilities that offer room and board.
There is some overlap among the contrasting programs, but similarities include:
- 24/7 supervision and security
- Three meals per day
- Assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, walking, and other daily tasks
- Social and recreational activities
- On-site support and medical services
- Exercise and wellness activities
Assisted living communities differ from nursing homes, due to:
- Increased privacy
- Laundry and housekeeping
- Own apartment or suite, usually
Assisted living cost and financing
Assisted living residents often finance their services either through long term care insurance or personal finances, but financing options are available for low-income individuals.
On average, assisted living communities cost $4,000 per month and $48,000 per year, according to the NCAL. Nearly one in six residents use Medicaid to cover the cost of home and community-based services, but room and board costs are not covered.
If you or your loved one is transitioning into assisted living, it’s important to review the terms of your state’s Medicaid coverage.
Find an assisted living facility near you
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