Assisted Living is for older adults needing some help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), or one’s daily self-care activities. These activities can range from assistance with bathing and dressing, to housework and medication reminders. Seniors living in an assisted living community can require a small amount of assistance to a larger amount of time and assistance needed. Assistance time is usually counted in minutes of care needed, and range from being included in the monthly rent, or require an additional fee. Assisted living is also for individuals seeking more socialization, as assisted living communities are full of one’s peers and offer many opportunities for conversations and friendships. Someone seeking a day filled with more activity, to include exercise, mentally-stimulating games, outings to local attractions and more. Assisted living communities usually have an activity department who work with the residents to build calendars to their liking. A family may seek assisted living for someone they care about if the individual is no longer eating a well-balanced diet. Assisted living communities can offer all meals and snacks throughout the day. Chefs in the community work with residents and their healthcare team to provide meals catered to their specific diet (low sodium, low sugar, dairy-free, gluten-free and more.)

Assisted living community costs vary depending on the community type. Many are a monthly fee, with a one-time community fee. Costs will vary depending on the size of the apartment. Another added cost can be if there is a second person living in the apartment. There is often a base level of care included in the monthly cost. This can vary across various providers. The more time an individual needs help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), the more likely a new fee for care will be assessed. Some communities charge for amenities such as programming, meals, parking, and more. Always ask to see what is included.

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An individual needs assisted living when they need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), cooking or eating a healthy diet. Some seniors feel isolated either after a spouse passes or if relatives are not living nearby. Assisted living can provide more socialization in their lives, as well as entertainment and enriching activities throughout the day.


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Paying for assisted living can vary on the state, and the community’s acceptable payments. Payment can be through personal funds like the sale of a home, through Medicaid, or other various insurance policies such as Long Term Care. Discounts and vouchers can be accessed by working with a Case Manager or the local Veterans affairs department.

Read more in our blog, How to Pay for Assisted Living.

A misconception about assisted living is that the community is the same as a nursing home. Many assisted living communities pride themselves on being a social-model rather than a medical-model. An assisted living community can provide much more independence than a nursing home, while still addressing healthcare needs.

Living at an assisted living community can provide more social opportunities, where living at home, many individuals feel isolated. Living at an assisted living community can provide better nutrition to a senior, where living at home the senior may not have access to healthy ingredients or the ability to make a well-rounded meal.

Living at an assisted living community can provide transportation for seniors to local health appointments, shopping, dining, and more. Living at home, many seniors are reliant on town transportation or a relative, otherwise the senior may drive their own car, which may not be safe.

Living at an assisted living community can provide all the maintenance and housework duties for the senior. Maintenance teams work year-round on tasks like lawn maintenance and snow removal. Housekeeping teams can visit a senior’s apartment daily or weekly to vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, and more. Living at home, a senior would need to upkeep their living space, or pay for a housekeeper to visit.

Living at home allows the senior to remain in their familiar environment, while assisted living requires the senior to get to know a new setting and often, downsize to an apartment.

Learn about the differences between in-home care and community care in our blog post.

Couples can live together in an assisted living community. Most communities offer a few apartment sizes, providing more space for two people. Some couples may experience one individual needing memory care, and assisted living communities can accommodate this as well. The couple can choose whether living together or in separate apartments is more suitable for their situation.

It depends. Many communities will allow pets, up to a certain size and after meeting the pet to determine their temperament.