Assisted Living

Assisted living is growing. In the next few years, the population of people 85 and older is expected to grow by 33.2%. These seniors also have more money; the net worth of Americans over 80 is increasing, too, meaning that more people can afford to move to assisted living facilities. More older people are living alone, too, which is another reason for the increase in demand. Women tend to outlive men, but many people live alone for other reasons like divorce, or just that they’ve chosen not to marry. People who live alone often choose to figure out if they qualify for assisted living as their daily needs change.

Assisted living is for people who need assistance with daily care and activities, but don’t need as much medical care as nursing home residents. Assisted living residents receive help with meals, housekeeping, medication, and laundry. The residents may need help with walking, but don’t require a wheelchair at all times. Sometimes residents with different levels of needs will live in the same facility, but those who need higher levels of care will pay higher fees.

Different From a Nursing Home

Federal government rules do not regulate assisted living facilities, unlike nursing homes. The facilities also don’t have standard entry requirements or assessments. Most assisted living facilities have rules about how much medical care can be provided to residents. Most facilities are allowed to provide only “limited health care services.” This sets them apart from skilled nursing facilities, which provide around-the-clock medical care. Assisted living facilities provide services like medication assistance, insulin administration, and glucose monitoring, but are not allowed to provide 24/7 medical care. In most states, this limit on medical care works as a “cutoff point” for assisted living care. When a resident needs more skilled nursing care than the assisted living facility can provide, it is time for the resident to move to a nursing home instead.

While assisted living facilities don’t have strict qualifications or requirements for admission, here are a few general guidelines. If your loved one needs daily assistance with any of the following, assisted living may be the right choice.

Help With ADLs

Activities of daily living (ADLs) include personal care like hygiene and bathing, preparing meals, mobility, and medication administration. If your loved one needs help with ADLs, assisted living facilities can provide that daily help they need.

Limited Medical Needs

If your loved one needs infrequent professional medical assistance, assisted living might be the right choice. Most assisted living residents don’t need the whole scope of care provided by a skilled nursing facility, but are not able to live independently because of medical needs. Assisted living residents need access to medical care, but want to retain their independence and privacy for as long as possible.

Nutritional Needs

Many people become concerned that their loved ones living alone aren’t eating properly. Assisted living facilities make sure that residents are getting the nutrition they need. Most assisted living facilities provide three meals a day. Some communities feature small kitchen facilities in independent living apartments.

Dementia Care

Some assisted living facilities provide around-the-clock security for residents with dementia. Many dementia and Alzheimer’s patients tend to wander, and assisted living can provide the security and supervision they need.

If your loved one’s needs go beyond these general guidelines, they may not qualify for assisted living. Older adults who depend on a wheelchair for mobility; or whose needs include complex or involved medical needs; may qualify for a skilled nursing facility instead.


To find out more, visit our Assisted Living page!