What is an Assisted Living Community? A Complete Guide.

As your parents and loved ones get older, their living situation may get more complicated. They have too much risk of falling, or their dementia is worsening. Either way, they’re too independent to live in a nursing home.

How do you find a living situation that will meet all their needs while maintaining their freedom and independence?

An assisted living community is a place for people whose older loved ones are in that in-between stage of life. Read on to learn what your loved ones will need to qualify to live in an assisted living facility.

What Is An Assisted Living Community?

Before diving into the qualifications to live in assisted living, let’s talk some about what an assisted living community is.

An Assisted living community is a comfortable, dignified place for seniors who want to live out their golden years independently. They provide more care than a retirement community, but more freedom than a nursing home.

Assisted living communities can give seniors a social structure and organized activities to keep them engaged and mobile.

These facilities provide assistance with basic daily activities that may become harder as your loved one gets older.

This can provide a sense of peace and security for you without limiting your loved one’s wonderful last years.

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Services They Provide

Two elders playing a gameAssisted living communities provide many types of daily services for your loved one. Many will provide assistance with daily hygiene, such as bathing, as these can pose the greatest risk for falls.

They may also have memory care programs for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Assisted living communities also offer lots of social opportunities for their residents. They may host lecture series, run exercise classes, or have community get-togethers.

Around the holidays, they may also host religious services for various groups, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, and more.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

Assisted Living vs. Nursing HomeMany people may not be clear on the differences between an assisted living facility and a nursing home.

In a nursing home, patients receive round-the-clock care from trained medical professionals who can handle more demanding health situations.

Patients often live in single rooms with a roommate, and their freedom and mobility may be restricted.

An assisted living community is much more hands-off and is geared towards older adults who can still live mostly on their own.

Residents often have one-bedroom apartments with kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces instead of single rooms.

And while they get help during the day, it’s not the constant attention as nursing homes provide.

They Need Help

One of the first criteria for your loved one to live in an assisted living facility is that they need help.

These facilities are designed for older adults who can’t quite manage daily life on their own.

While this shouldn’t rise to the level of nursing home care, they will need to demonstrate the need for assistance.

If you have an older adult in your life who can still live independently?  If they don’t need daily assistance, retirement communities can be a fantastic option.

These still provide social opportunities and low-demand housing that assisted living facilities offer.

But your loved one won’t get a daily visit from a medical professional if they’re doing fine on their own.

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They’re Mobile

Elderly man with a caneOne of the other major requirements for assisted living facilities is that residents need to be mobile.

Assisted living facilities are not equipped to give patients who are wheelchair- or bed-bound the sort of care they need.

They are designed for adults who can move around on their own and may only be at occasional risk of falling.

Your loved one may or may not be accepted if they’re in a wheelchair, depending on the assisted living facility you talk to.

Ideally, they should be mobile on their own or with a cane or walker. If your loved one has more advanced mobility limitations, consider looking at a nursing home for them.

They Can Live Independently

In addition to being mobile, your loved one should be able to live mostly on their own in a small apartment.

Assisted living facilities will provide brief daily care, but they are not prepared to provide round-the-clock care.

Your loved one will need to be able to manage life in a one-bedroom apartment by themselves or with a spouse.

Depending on the community you choose, an assisted living facility may provide meals and cleaning services for your loved one.

They will help your loved one get bathed and get dressed each morning and evening.  And while they’ll need to be able to function on their own, they will not be totally on their own.

They’re in Stable Health

Assisted living communities are designed for adults living out their golden years.  They are not equipped to care for patients with severe medical conditions.

Your loved one must be in stable health before they enter one of these facilities. Some chronic conditions may be fine, but they should not require intensive medical care every day.

If your loved one is not in stable health, skilled nursing may be the best option for them. Depending on the nature of their condition, a hospice facility may also be a good fit.

Find Out if Assisted Living Is Right for You

Assisted living communities are a fantastic option for people who need a little help every day.

There are some requirements your loved one will need to meet in order to live in one of these communities.

They will need to be largely independent, in stable health, and in need of some daily help to qualify.

Brooking Park a not-for-profit, faith-based, life plan assisted living community. We are ranked five stars by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2020.

Schedule a tour to take the first steps in experiencing the best in premier assisted living care.

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In research mode? Download our free Assisted Living Resource Guide.

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