About Assisted Living
Assisted living fills a gap between home care and nursing homes. Years ago, before assisted living, a person needing professional care went to a nursing home even though the care didn't always merit the intensive supervision and control of a nursing home. The fairly new alternative of assisted living provides a more homelike environment for people needing or anticipating help with activities of daily living or incidental activities of daily living but for which 24-hour nursing care is not a necessity.
Instead of the hospital environment of a nursing home, newer assisted living facilities look more like apartment buildings with private rooms or suites and locked doors. Instead of a nurses desk, there is a help desk. And instead of a hospital-like lounge area and sterile cafeteria, assisted living has gathering areas with couches, fireplaces, gardens, atriums, etc. Central dining areas look more like banquet rooms and often offer entertainment during or after mealtimes. Meaningful activities and chats with neighbors in pleasant surroundings, keep residents active and stimulated. Frequent outings are also planned. And transportation is available to residents who can't drive.
Many assisted living facilities allow home health agencies to come in and offer services for residents. Some states may allow facilities to have a resident nurse or therapist to help with minor medical problems. And some states even allow variances for assisted living to offer limited nursing home services.
Some assisted living facilities specialize in the care of Alzheimer's patients. An Alzheimer's patient typically does not require a lot of medical attention but often requires supervision and confinement. Alzheimer's facilities have locked entrance doors to prevent residents from wandering.