What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a type of residential community designed for people who need various levels of personal and medical care. Learn if it's the right decision for you.

Key Takeaways

Assisted living provides assistance with tasks of daily living like bathing, grooming and medication management.

The average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,500.

Over 22,000 assisted living communities can be found on Senior Care Finder.

Everyone ages. But not everyone will age at the same pace or in the same way. And since we can't predict the future and know how aging will impact us individually, it is best to have discussions about our future health needs and wishes before situations turn difficult. Living independently is one of the greatest gifts of the human experience. But, there may come a time when you can no longer safely care for yourself and need extra help to complete daily activities. 

Assisted living is a common retirement experience. But how do you know when it's time to move from living independently into an assisted living facility? Let's take a look at what "assisted living" means and when it might be the right decision for you.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a type of residential facility designed for people who need various levels of personal and medical care. Living spaces can range from independent apartments, rooms, or shared quarters. Facilities provide a home-like atmosphere and are designed to promote residents' independence. 

When is it Time for Assisted Living?

It can be challenging to accept that you can no longer complete daily tasks as efficiently as you used to. But you can continue to live happily and safely with some help. While there is no definite answer for when you could be ready to move into an assisted living facility, there are some general signs to watch for that indicate you need more help in your daily life:

  • Worsening of medical conditions and difficulty managing medication

  • Increase frequency of falls and general frailty

  • Difficulty managing your house and daily care

  • Difficulty managing finances

  • Depression or social isolation

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

The cost of assisted living can vary greatly depending location, level of care needed, size and type of unit as well as the amenities the community offers. According to Genworth Financial's 2023 report, the average cost of assisted living is around $4,500. Be sure to contact the community directly to understand their monthly costs.

Tips for getting an accurate cost estimate:

  • Inquire about their pricing structure and any additional fees, such as move-in fees or medication administration fees.

  • Ask about the level of care included in the base price and any additional services that may cost extra.

Assisted Living Services & Amenities

Assisted living communities offer a variety of services and amenities. These can vary depending on the specific facility, below are some of the common offerings. 

  • Assistance with tasks of daily living: This may include help with bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and medication management.

  • Meals: Residents typically have access to restaurant-style dining with prepared meals and assistance if needed.

  • Housekeeping and laundry services: These chores are taken care of by staff, freeing up residents' time for other activities.

  • Transportation services: Many communities offer transportation to appointments, shopping centers, or social events.

  • Security features: These may include gated entry, 24-hour security personnel, and emergency call systems in each unit.

  • Social and recreational activities: Communities often organize events and activities to promote socialization and resident engagement. This could include exercise classes, game nights, movie nights, or educational programs.

  • On-site amenities: Many communities offer amenities like fitness centers, beauty salons, libraries, or courtyards.

  • Limited medical care: Some assisted living facilities may have nurses on staff who can provide basic medical care, such as medication administration or monitoring vital signs.

Choosing the Right Community

Choosing the right community can feel like an overwhelming decision. Break it down into manageable components like location, cost, amenities and environment. Schedule tours of several different communities to get a feel for the atmosphere, talk to residents  and be sure to learn community policies on things like visitation and pet ownership. By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an assisted living community that provides the right level of care and support to help you live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Find Your Assisted Living Community

While assisted living facilities do not have a required quality rating system, you can still compare and evaluate the amenities and services offered by searching Senior Care Finder. Compare quality ratings, amenities, and services provided to help you narrow your list. Share your favorites with loved ones and contact providers directly. Search, compare, and find the best senior care.