Everyone has a very individual concept of "assistance," so it may not be a surprise that "Assisted Living" has no one, clear definition.
Generally speaking though, Assisted Living refers to a special combination of housing, personalized services, and health-related care designed to meet to the individual needs of older adults.
Assisted Living sits between Independent Living — where only housing and (frequently) meals are provided, and Skilled Nursing — where medical professionals provide medical care under Doctor's orders.
Assisted Living is regulated by all 50 states. In California, to qualify as an RCFE (Residential Care Facility for the Elderly), both the Administrator (person) and the Facility (business) are licensed.
In the ever-changing world of insurance and benefits available to older adults it is important to know your options. These options to pay for assisted living or non-medical care vary from state to state and from insurance program to insurance program. Check with your insurance to find out if paying for this type of care is an option. At this time most medical insurance does not pay for Assisted Living or Non-Medical Care.
What are your options for paying for Assisted Living or Home Care?
Benefits that may be available in your area: Benefits Checkup
Assisted Living communities can range from enormous campuses that combine Independent Living and Skilled Nursing facilities and require up-front membership fees, to small neighborhood Care Homes serving small numbers of Residents.
Some Assisted Living facilities are quite specialized. Cultural or religious preferences are popular. There are gender-specific communities as well, and more recently, Assisted Living communities offering LBGT lifestyle living have emerged.
Levels of care are the most frequent type of specialization, along with focuses on Memory Care and Hospice or Palliative Care.
A Looking for Care® Guide can help you determine which local resources and choices are available in your area.