Assisted Living

Assisted living residence(ALR) or assisted living facility (ALF) is a type of housing which provides aid for people with special needs, especially the elders with their daily tasks like taking a bath, dressing up, using the bathroom, eating and taking medications. These everyday tasks are also known as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). The ability or inability to do these ADLs measures the functional status of a person to determine what type of health care services the person might need.

There is no national standard definition of assisted living in the United States and assisted living facilities are licensed at state level, hence, each state licensing agency has their own definition of the concept of assisted living. Some of the terms used to refer to assisted living are residential care home, assisted care living facilities, and personal care homes.

Assisted living facilities can vary in terms of size and capacity to accommodate residents. ALFs can either be suited for only a few number or residents or a huge facility which can cater to hundreds of residents. A resident usually lives in a private apartment type of residence. There is no apparent medical monitoring equipment in ALFs and nursing staff may not be available at all times; however, trained staff are usually around the premises to provide services as needed. Moreover, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are reachable by phone or e-mail to guarantee the competency of the staff training of the ALFs.

A typical assisted living resident needs support averaging three ADLs. On the site, common household chores are performed for the residents. These include changing of sheets, doing the laundry, washing the dishes and cooking and serving of food for the residents. There is usually a common room or area where the residents can socialize with one another and common kitchen and dining area for preparing and eating meals. Personal living spaces normally resemble a dormitory or hotel room where the sleeping area is personal with a shared bathroom.

The residence may lend a hand in arranging suitable health, medical and dental care for each resident in which the resident can choose his/her own medical and dental services. However, since ALFs are generally only a link between living at home and living at a nursing home, ALFs don’t provide the same continuous and meticulous nursing care that nursing homes and hospitals offer.

The idea of assisted living can be observed in another type of retirement facility which is the continuing care community. A continuing care community is a type of community that is a combination of assisted living, independent living and nursing home care. Furthermore, assisted living is similar to nursing home care, although medical assistance is not as thorough in assisted living as compared to the constantly trained nursing care provided in nursing homes. Assisted living is almost similar to independent living as well; the only difference is that independent living promotes the residents’ free will to do their own tasks as opposed to one characteristic of assisted living, where household chores are done by the staff for the residents.