Assisted Living Guide: What it is, Where to Find it |

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities generally promote independence while offering levels of personal assistance with daily activities, which may include meals, bathing, dressing and medication as needed. Note, however, that local laws may dictate the specifics. Transportation and social activities also may be available.

Assisted Living Accommodations

Assisted living facilities come in different shapes and sizes, from a converted single-family home, to apartment-style living, to a large high-rise senior community. Floor plan options vary depending on the community and range from studios to suites to one- or two-bedroom apartments or homes.

How Do You Pay for Assisted Living?

Most assisted living communities accept only "private pay” and don’t typically accept Medicare (unless they offer additional care services like skilled nursing).

Some facilities also may accept the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit, which is available to wartime veterans and their surviving spouses. This option can help offset a significant portion of the cost of assisted living.

Services Offered in Assisted Living

Often included (though services are highly dependent on the community):

  • Meals and snacks
  • Daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly housekeeping
  • Linen service or personal laundry
  • Transportation
  • Fitness and wellness and social programs
  • Recreational or educational activities

Often NOT included:

Typically, unless there is a skilled nursing component to the community, medical care of any sort will not be provided.

Some communities have a tiered program of services offered. Services will depend on what the resident needs. For example, some communities might offer daily wellness checks or assistance with incontinence or taking medications. These types of customized services are usually offered at an additional cost.

Some communities will allow outside services if the resident needs additional care and the community itself does not provide the services. These third-party services may include physical therapy, hospice care, podiatry or dentistry.