Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living is a general term that includes residential non-medical
facilities for those less able to live on their own. Not all facilities
are alike. Depending on the facility, services may include
housekeeping, 24-hour security and staff availability, emergency
response systems in each room, up to three meals a day served in a
common dining room with a restaurant-style menu of food choices,
laundry services and many other services. More extensive plans offer
the option of receiving help with eating, dressing, bathing, and other
activities of daily living, as well as medication reminders. However,
the simplest facilities may provide little more than room and board.
Assisted living may be known by some of the following names: Custodial
Care Facility, Rest Home, Board and Care Home, Adult Home, Rest Home,
Senior Residence and many other names.
An assisted living facility usually furnishes a client with a residency
agreement or contract; much like a lease on an apartment. This
contract, like most other contracts, should be reviewed by an attorney
-- not the facility's attorney, your attorney. A caveat to always keep
in mind: unlike the nursing home industry, assisted living is not a
highly regulated industry, therefore you, the consumer, must be on your
Before you enter into an agreement, take the following steps:
- Office of Aging:Contact you local Office of Aging and request a
list of assisted living facilities in your neighborhood. The Federal
Government provides a service, the Elder Care Locator at 1-800-677-1116
which can put you in touch with state and local Offices of Aging
throughout the United States.
- Doctor Recommendation:Speak with doctors. Ask your doctor if he
or she recommends or makes house calls at assisted living facilities.
- Unannounced Visits:Visit without warning; make unannounced
visits at different times of the day. Do the residents appear content?
Are the meals appetizing? Is the staff friendly and pleasant? Is the
residence clean? Are there any unpleasant odors? Are there activities?
If possible, eat a meal there.