Assisted Living FAQ

Assisted Living Frequently Asked Questions

You can download a free and very detailed document that covers all topics you should consider by completing the form to the right. See its table of contents in our assisted living essential decision guide blog post.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a long-term care option for seniors needing a higher level of assistance than a retirement community, but not as extensive as a hospital or nursing home. Assisted living facilities have customized independent services.
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How is Assisted Living different from other options and care levels?

Assisted living offers unique combinations of independent care and living. Nursing homes and other medical facilities don’t allow residents the independence that assisted living offers. The social community enhances their experience and provides assistance and peace of mind from a professional support team.
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Who are the Best Candidates for Assisted Living?

Ideal assisted living residents are those needing daily assistance, including meal preparation, home maintenance, transportation, managing medication and hygiene assistance. Assisted living facilities are great options for residents with challenges like incontinence, Alzheimers, mobility limitations or other common senior conditions.
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How are Assisted Living Communities Licensed?

Assisted living facilities licensing requirements and regulations for vary from state to state according to ALFA (The Assisted Living Federation of America). Do your research to see if your state requires licensed assisted living facilities. If it does then make sure the facilities you are interested in are in compliance. Many states also require administrators to be licensed or certified themselves, so be sure to ask to see credentials.
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What Are Typical Assisted Living Accommodations Sizes?

According to a 2000 National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) survey, typical assisted living residences have 30 beds and 23 residents. There are wide ranges in size and design across different facilities, but most assisted living residences comply with federal, state and local regulations.
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Please Describe Living Accommodations and Options

Assisted living facilities vary in accommodations, size and design. According to ALFA, assisted living residences range from converted homes to high-rise apartment complexes, from a full apartment to a single room studio, from semi-private to private units. The NCAL survey reported 19 percent with full kitchens and 25 percent of residences had kitchenettes.
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What are Typical Amenities?

Assisted living amenities may include access to health care and medical services, personal care assistance (bathing, eating, dressing, toileting), on-site spiritual and social activities, wellness programs, recreation and exercise facilities, laundry service, 24-hour security, transportation arrangements, and housekeeping.
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What Does Assisted Living Typically Cost?

A 2006 MetLife Market Survey of Assisted Living Costs indicated assisted living costs averaged $35,616 yearly which is $2,968 per month. That’s up 17.6% from 2004 and 2.2% or $63 from 2005. NCAL indicates Assisted Living costs vary depending mostly on unit size, location, and services offered. The MetLife reports also shows that rates vary considerably by region, the Bridgewater, New Jersey area the highest ($5,197 monthly) and North Dakota the lowest ($1,742 monthly). Many long-term care insurance policies do offset part of the costs, but NCAL reports that most Assisted Living costs are covered resident families, since most seniors do not have such long-term coverage. Assisted Living is not covered by Medicare, but some local and state governments offer rent or service subsidies for income-eligible seniors under certain circumstances, according to ALFA. Supplement Security Income (SSI) may also help hedge some of the cost, while some residences take advantage of grant programs, Medicaid, or other forms of assistance.
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Should I Know a Facilities Philosophy of Care?

Yes. ALFA experts say it should be an integral part of your decision-making process. It is important to be informed since this is a major life decision. As a resident you’ll have religious freedom, respect, privacy, maintenance of your personal finances, control over health care decisions, and the right to voice grievances should they arise. You also need to inquire about the facilities regulations with regard to alcohol, pets, smoking, and other quality of life issues to make sure they meet your personal requirements.
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How Can I Be Sure To Make the Right Decision?

Selecting the most appropriate assisted living facility should take a lot of research. It’s important to compare services offered, unit availability, and overall philosophy of care and cost of multiple residences. Tour multiple facilities and observe their residents to get a sense of the atmosphere, how they treat their residents, and most important, to make sure your individual needs will be met.
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