Assisted living is the most rapidly expanding type of senior housing. An assisted living facility is a form of senior housing that provides its residents with some assistance with everyday tasks, such as bathing and hygiene, dressing, mobility, and going to the bathroom. Some offer medication assistance as well, depending on state regulation. Residents are offered as much independence as possible based on individual circumstances. Housing is typically provided in a studio or one-bedroom apartment in a home-like environment. Some units may have kitchenettes, if it is safe for a resident to use one. Other names for assisted living facility are “personal care home,” “boarding care home,” “adult congregate care,” and “residential care facility.”

Typical services offered by an assisted living facility are as follows:

•          Monitoring of medical needs;

•          Minor medical care;

•          Assistance with activities of daily living, as required;

•          Housekeeping and laundry services;

•          Daily medication management;

•          Social and recreational activities;

•          24-hour security;

•          Transportation;

•          Three meals per day served in a common dining room;

•          Around the clock availability of trained staff while maintaining a high level of privacy; and

•          Health and exercise programs.


Assisted living costs vary widely depending on the type of housing and the services provided. Customization of care, as reflected in a resident’s individualized care plan, means that costs can vary from resident to resident in the same facility. Some assisted living rates are all inclusive, but many assisted living facilities charge a basic monthly rate with add-ons to cover the amount of care and services needed. Assisted living facilities usually do not charge entrance fees.

Assisted living facilities are regulated by the individual state rather than by the federal government. Each state has its own rules and regulations, licensing requirements, and inspection procedures. Therefore, the kinds of care and services that a facility must provide to meet state standards in order to be able to use the title “assisted living,” varies across the country.

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Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning