What Are the Disadvantages of Assisted Living?

There are many advantages to assisted living. As is the case with many things in life, there can also be some disadvantages associated with a particular assisted living community in some instances. 

The most commonly discussed disadvantages of assisted living include:

  • Lack of immediately accessible medical care
  • Costs associated with these communities
  • Some lack of freedom
  • Living with others
  • Risk of neglect or abuse

Lack of Immediately Accessible Medical Care

Assisted living communities do not provide access to immediate medical care. These centers are not designed for people in need of ongoing medical care and treatment. (A nursing home would be an example of such a facility.) 

The lack of immediately accessible medical care can be addressed through the engagement of a home healthcare aide. A resident can enjoy the relative independence of life in an assisted living community and still access the type of healthcare support that might be needed. 

Costs Associated With These Communities

Assisted living facilities do come with what many consider to be pretty big price tags. There are price differences from one assisted living community to another. Therefore, it does behoove a person to shop around and do some price comparisons before selecting a center.

Bear in mind that the cost associated with an assisted living facility does include a number of important services:

  • An assisted living facility provides shelter, typically in the form of an apartment, single person room, or shared room – depending on the facility.
  • Meals are included in the costs associated with an assisted living facility.
  • Facilities come with an array of different amenities that are included in the price.
  • Activities of different types are included in the monthly fee associated with assisted living.
  • Aid and assistance with a variety of tasks are also included in the overall fee associated with an assisted living facility. 

Some Lack of Freedom

For some residents in some assisted living communities, there is some lack of freedom. In theory, when a person lives in her own residence, she technically is free to come and go as she pleases. She theoretically can do whatever she desires.

Bear in mind that this is theoretical. The reality is that a reason a woman enters an assisted living facility is because she can’t effectively tend to all activities of daily living. In other words, she actually cannot do whatever she pleases. 

In the end, there may be some lack of freedom in an assisted living setting. However, when contrasted with limitations on life that likely had existed when a resident of an assisted living community had been living at home, whatever limitations that might exist at an assisted living facility prove to be an acceptable tradeoff. 

Living With Others

In many cases, people are drawn to the idea of living in an assisted living community because of the ability to connect with other residents, to live with other people. Of course, living in a congregate or group setting is not always a positive endeavor. In fact, for some women and men who move into an assisted living facility, living with others can (at least initially) prove to be challenging. 

In most instances, the negative aspects of living in a congregate setting to dissipate over time. In other words, what begins as something negatively weighted becomes something that residents of assisted living communities find generally positive and even beneficial. 

Risk of Neglect or Abuse

In considering the potential disadvantages of living in an assisted living community, there are occasions in which residents have experienced neglect or abuse. It is important to note that neglect and abuse involving an old person is not something confined to an assisted living facility. It can occur in other types of senior living centers, medical centers, and so forth. Older people can be more vulnerable to this type of risk than are others. 

The fact that neglect or abuse is a possibility when it comes to our older family members reminds us of the necessity for other family members to stay on top of what is going on in the lives of our older loved ones who are living in some kind of communal facility – assisted living, retirement community, nursing home, and so forth. 

The reality is that the risk of the potential for neglect or abuse is lessened – and usually dramatically so – when family members are in contact with and pay attention to loved ones who reside in assisted living or other types of residential centers designed for older people. In addition, adult children of older people thinking about residing in an assisted living community should work together in evaluating possible options as part of comprehensive due diligence. This includes reviewing state agency records of any reports of neglect or abuse lodged against a particular assisted living community, nursing home, or other type of residential center for older women and men.