The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) defines an assisted living residence as "a continuum of long term care services that provides a combination of housing, personal care services, and health care designed to respond to individulas who need assistance with normal daily activities in a away that promotes maximum independence."
Assisted living facilities may be part of a retirement community, nursing home community, senior housing complex, or freestanding. Licensing requirements for assisted living facilities vary by state and can be known by as many as 26 different names including: residential care, board and care, congregate care, and personal care. They may be operated by non-profit or for-profit companies. Most facilities have between 25 and 120 units. There is no single blueprint, because consumers' preferences and needs vary widely. Units may vary in size from one room to a full apartment.
In most states, assisted living communities are registered, licensed or certified by an appropriate department or agency of the state that has a process for issuance of initial licenses and for renewing existing licenses.
This is in contrast to nursing homes which have federal oversight, as there is no federal oversight of quality standards for assisted living.
Services and Activites
The service and activities provided or arranged in an assisted living are designed to promote quality of life and independence for the residents. These services may include:
- Recreational and spiritual activities
- 24-hour supervision
- 3 meals a day and snacks
- Personal care services to assist with ADLs
- Exercise and wellness programs
- Laundry and linen service
- Medication management
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Arrangements for transportation, including MD visits