What Are the Three Principles of Assisted Living?

Assisted living provides specialized care to largely independent and mobile older Americans. Despite being significantly mobile and capable to tending to many activities of daily living, older people who reside in an assisted living community are classified as being at least somewhat vulnerable adults. As a consequence, special attention must be paid to the manner in which these women and men are treated. Among the strategies used to ensure that people receive the very best care in an assisted living community is adherence to what are known as the three principles of assisted living.

The three principles of assisted living are:

  • Person-centered care
  • Practice ethics at all times
  • Mission statement

Person-Centered Care

As mentioned a moment ago, residents of assisted living communities do tend to be largely independent. They are able to engage in many different activities of daily living without assistance. The fact is that each individual resident of an assisted living community has his or her own needs.

Person-centered care is one of the three principles of assisted living. Person-centered care means that a resident of assisted living can also rely upon receiving the specific type of care needed. Care provided by an assisted living community is centered on the specific needs of an individual resident. There is never a so-called one size fits all approach to providing care and assistance to a resident of an assisted living community. 

Care provided to a person living in an assisted living community is to be best suited to that individual. It is not a matter of weighing and balancing the needs of others or of the majority. The first principle is to be followed at all times in regard to residents of assisted living communities. 

Practice Ethics at All Times

Ethics must be at the very heart of how assisted living facilities operate.  Ethics go hand-in-hand with the first principle, which was discussed a moment ago. The connection between the first and second principles ensure that all people who reside in an assisted living community are treated with the same high standard of care.

An assisted living community must be mindful of a variety of ethical consideration in regard to its residents:

  • A community must be operated on a foundation of trust
  • A community must always be transparent with residents
  • Residents must be treated with respect

While each resident has unique needs that need to be addressed in an assisted living center, more broadly speaking, all people who live at an assisted living facility need to be treated fairly and equitably.

Mission Statement

Every assisted living community should have a mission statement. The mission statement should focus on a number of key elements:

  • An assisted living community should focus on the care of every resident
  • An assisted living community should create an environment that advances the needs, goals, and objectives of each resident
  • A community’s goals and values should be communicated to residents and other stakeholders (including family members)
  • There should be a consistent commitment to improve facility operations whenever possible
  • Every staff member should practice the three principles in their work at an assisted living community

Wide Adoption of Principles of Assisted Living

In recent times there has been a fairly broad adoption of the principles of assisted living. In other words, an ever-growing number of assisted living communities are incorporating the principles of assisted living into their operations.

The principles of assisted living center on ensuring that residents in a particular facility will appropriately be treated and cared for in all ways. Assisted living communities by definition should be committed to these principles even in the absence of having them explicitly stated as part of their operational objectives. 

Adoption Doesn’t Mean Practice

Unfortunately, there are some assisted living facilities in the United States, including in California, that technically have adopted the principles of assisted living but that have not put these guidelines into practice. Simply put, adoption does not mean practice.

If it doesn’t appear that a particular assisted living facility has adopted the three principles, that community may have adopted some other similar set of guidelines. The ultimate objective is a facility that is committed to person-centered care, ethical care, and a mission statement that recognizes the concepts associated with the three principles. 

Due Diligence and the Principles of Assisted Living

If you are looking for an assisted living community for yourself, if you are the adult child of a parent interested in moving to an assisted living facility, you should include identifying facilities that have adopted and utilize the principles of assisted living. In many instances, an assisted living facility that has adopted and does apply the principles of assisted living will publicly post that fact. They want their staff, residents, residents’ families, and others to understand that these principles are practiced.