Elderly woman talking to an assisted living employee.

10 Things You Need to Know About Assisted Living

If you are the caregiver for an older relative or loved one you know that this is a time consuming, sometimes frustrating, and rewarding job.

Most people feel overwhelmed when they start looking into options. Assisted living facilities are a popular choice because they provide meals and activities for residents but they still maintain some freedom like having their own living quarters. Here are ten things you need to know about assisted living centers.

  1. Assisted living centers are a fairly new concept.
    They have gained popularity in the last 25 years. There was a need for a place between living alone and a nursing home, and that's how they began. Assisted living facilities do exactly as their name sounds, they provide assistance to their residents that need extra help.
  2. Services provided vary between each facility.
    Just because you’ve visited one assisted living center does not mean that you've seen them all. Each center provides residents with different amenities, level of care and on staff resources. It is important to visit each facility and discuss in detail what services they offer to their residents.
  3. There are basic services provided.
    Basic services typically include 24 hour supervision, laundry services, housekeeping, daily meals, social and exercise programs, and some form of transportation.
  4. Assisted living facilities are not cheap.
    There is a high cost associated with them because they do provide a large number of services and have to keep a large staff to provide these services. Sometimes it is best to visit with an elder care lawyer to help guide you in terms of how to best financially plan for this level of care.
  5. The medical monitoring provided is less than that of a nursing home.
    If your loved one needs an extensive amount of medical care then assisted living might not be the right choice for them. If these are temporary medical issues check into rehab facilities that could provide that care for a shorter period of time.
  6. You will have to move your loved one if health conditions worsen.
    If the facility barely covers the services needed by your loved one's needs now, if their condition worsens you’ll be forced to move them again to a new facility.
  7. Make sure you clearly understand the limits of the assisted living facilities contract.
    Typically there are clauses about the amount of medical attention one needs to receive that can disqualify him or her from living there. Some facilities do not allow patients with dementia or other issues to stay in the facility.
  8. Make yourself familiar with the activities schedule.
    A good activities director is a great asset to an assisted living center. Some places actually transport the residents to off center activities, which is a bonus.
  9. Visit with the other residents.
    They can give you a lot of insight about the care and level of quality in a facility. But don’t just talk to one person. Visit with several and compare their opinions. This will aid you in choosing the right facility for you family member.

If you are still having trouble choosing a facility you can consult the state licensing reports. This will give you clear information about how the facility is performing.

Last Updated: February 12, 2024