Senior living has four general levels: independent living, congregate housing, assisted living and skilled nursing homes. Assisted living is an apartment community that includes help with “activities of daily living” such as bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing and dining. Most assisted living facilities provide meals, housekeeping, laundry, social activities, transportation and some personal care.
People moving into assisted living, generally seniors age 75 and above, do so for a number of reasons. The predominant reasons are (1) inability to live safely or independently at home any longer; (2) feelings of isolation and the need for socialization; or (3) the need for assistance with one or more of the activities of daily living.
Although assisted living facilities are private pay, residents still enjoy the benefits of Medicare and other age-qualified medical or social programs that would be available in their own home. The level of medical care found in nursing homes is not offered by assisted living facilities, but many additional services are available through outside agencies such as visiting nurses and medical supply companies. Assisted living facilities usually have 24-hour personal care staff, but the presence of licensed nursing staff can vary from eight hours to 24 hours per day.
Once admitted to a facility, a resident will receive an individualized care plan developed by an RN in collaboration with social workers and activities personnel. Some facilities have a secured section dedicated to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related impairments.