How Would You Describe Assisted Living?

If you are the adult child of an older parent, the time may have arrived at which you are considering different living options for your mother or father. One option that might be on your list is an assisted living community. With that in mind, you may want to know how to describe assisted living.

Definition of Assisted Living

A concise definition of assisted living provided by such agencies as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is:

An assisted living facility is a senior living option for those with minimal needs for assistance with daily living and care. Its purpose is to help adults live independently in a safe environment.

While it is true that most older adults want to remain in their own homes, what is known as “aging in place” is not always an option for them. There can come a point in time when older people are not able to tend to all of the various tasks of daily living in an effective manner. In other words, they cannot do everything for themselves any longer. This includes activities like dressing, bathing, cooking, shopping, paying bills, and taking medications.

Primary Features of Assisted Living

In describing an assisted living community, a look at some of the primary features of these options is fundamental. The primary features of assisted living include

  • Provision of a healthy lifestyle for residents
  • Social engagement for residents
  • Assistance with dressing
  • Assistance with grooming
  • Housekeeping
  • Meals
  • Laundry
  • Transportation services
  • Social programs 
  • Fitness or exercise programs
  • Enrichment programs
  • Entertainment
  • Staff availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Some medication management assistance

What Assisted Living Is Not

Assisted living sometimes gets confused with nursing home care. Assisted living is not a nursing home. Assisted living is not designed to provide residents with significant medical care or assistance. The services of assisted living have been outlined a moment ago and specifically do not include assistance with the healthcare needs of residents beyond assisting with making sure medications are properly utilized in some cases. 

Physical Description of Assisted Living Community

There can be some variations between the physical nature of one assisted living facility and another. For example, some communities are large while others are small, almost family life in their presentation.

All assisted living facilities have a combination of living spaces for residents combined with community areas for activities of different types. Private areas can be apartments or rooms, depending on the nature and design of a particular facility. Community rooms are used for a full spectrum of activities from meals to socializing more generally to other types of events and activities.

Typical Assisted Living Resident

The National Center for Assisted Living has compiled data on the typical resident of an assisted living community:

  • The typical resident is a woman of about 87 years of age.
  • 54 percent of all assisted living residents in the United States are 85 or older
  • 7 percent are between the ages of 75 and 84
  • 9 percent of residents of assisted living communities are 65 to 74 years of age
  • 11 percent are younger than the age of 65
  • The typical resident is generally mobile.
  • The typical resident needs assistance with, on average, two to three activities of daily living
  • The typical residence has two to three chronic conditions (among the 10 most common chronic conditions experienced by older Americans)
  • 74 percent of assisted living residents are women
  • 26 percent of assisted living residents are men
  • More than 730,000 people in the United States live in assisted living communities at this juncture in time

Assisted living facilities strive to include homelike qualities. Studies show that two factors affect the older adult to successfully adjust to a new surroundings:

1. Their personal needs get met

2. The previous home and the new surrounding has similar characteristics and environmental connections.

The more autonomy and choice a resident is given, the less health complications than facilities where choices were less frequent.

The physical characteristics range from a house or small building with just a few beds to a large senior living campus with multiple buildings and hundreds of beds.

In our facility directory, we state the number of beds, giving you an idea as to the size of the facility. Each state is different with a number of licensing requirements, so it is important to know what type of care facility you prefer.

Most senior living facilities offer a high level of privacy. Despite the 24-hour trained staff, residents find the same amount of privacy as they would within a standard apartment complex. Decorated and personally arranged rooms give residents the comfort of home. Since there is no need for nursing home type equipment, assisted living care homes offer more of a community type atmosphere, with the added comfort of assistance from trained staff within the facility.