What is Assisted Living?

April 28, 2015

LS_image-special_pricing-1It’s come to this: Your mom is in need of daily help with tasks that she used to handle with ease. Arthritic hands hamper her ability to cook. Cataracts obscure her eyes, making it difficult for her to see and to drive. Her hearing is gradually declining, which impacts not only her ability to drive but to do other things such as talk on the telephone or even hear the doorbell ring. And other challenges are bound to surface.

You and your siblings could take turns helping her, but there is no guarantee that you will have the time or energy to be there as needed. You could hire helpers to attend to her personal hygiene, meal preparation, driving, and other needs – but that could be chaotic, costly, and time-consuming.

If you have decided that it is time to get help, the best option for everyone could be assisted living in a community dedicated to seniors. But just what is assisted living?

One of the fastest-growing alternatives for seniors in need of long-term care, assisted living addresses a multitude of daily needs, such as bathing and dressing, meal preparation, medication management and transportation

History of assisted living

An article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information divides the history of assisted living into four periods:

  • 1979-85: Distaste for nursing facilities grows.

  • 1986-93: Assisted living categories develop.

  • 1994-2000: Industry expands rapidly.

  • 2000-present: Industry regroups, reexamines its standards, and evolves.

Types of assisted living

A home-like setting is generally the norm for assisted living. From an architectural design standpoint, residences may be from high-rise buildings to campuses that span multiple acres. Living spaces can be divided into individual rooms, apartments or shared quarters – all with a goal of preserving residents’ ability to function independently.

Services offered

Services at assisted-living facilities continue to expand. The range of services at any one facility may include:

  • Delivery of individually designed health care and medical services

  • Help with daily activities such as meals, bathing, dressing and walking

  • 24-hour emergency call systems

  • Three daily meals, and housekeeping and laundry services

  • Transportation in the form of shuttle buses and other means

  • Programs that provide exercise and wellness options

Costs for assisted living

As you might expect, charges for assisted living can vary. Factors include the geographic region in which the community is located, apartment size, and the services that a senior needs. Basic rates (monthly or long-term) may be all-inclusive, or there could be additional charges for special services.

In the United States, nearly 1 million seniors are part of assisted living communities, and this senior-care option consists of more than 31,000 communities, says assistedlivingfacilities.org.

With many residential options, you’re bound to find the community that meets the needs of the beloved, aging senior in your life.


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