Considering assisted living for yourself or a loved one? Review these frequently asked questions and find answers about this dynamic – and still relatively new – level of care (see Origins of Assisted Living).
Bear in mind that no two assisted living communities are alike (a fact undoubtedly complicated by the lack of a universal definition for this care category), but there are a number of common threads in terms of what these senior living communities provide.
Q: What services are offered in an assisted living community?
A: Most assisted living facilities provide 24-hour supervision; three meals a day (typically served in a common dining room); laundry services; housekeeping/maintenance; transportation arrangements for doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, or other needs; social services, wellness programs, spiritual and recreational activities; personal care services (such as assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.); assistance with medication management/self-administration; and supervision/special care services for those with Alzheimer’s/related dementias or other disabilities. (Source: http://longtermcareliving.com/assess/al/)
Q: How are assisted living facilities laid out?
A: Most assisted living communities offer efficiency apartments of various sizes (studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom) or single/double rooms that residents are encouraged to decorate with their own furnishings. Fully-furnished rooms are available as well. Some rooms have a private bathroom with a sink, shower and toilet. Most assisted living communities have a large bathroom available in each hall/wing to accommodate those who prefer a bath or need assistance with bathing.
Q: What kind of staffing levels are provided in an assisted living?
A: Special care units serving individuals with Alzheimer’s/dementia generally have a higher staff to resident ratio. On the whole, assisted living staff includes an RN/LPN who handles medication administration and manages other health care/medical services, CNAs/NAs (certified nurses’ aides or nurses’ aides) to provide personal care services, dining staff to prepare and serve meals, housekeeping & maintenance staff, an executive director/supervisor, activities director, chauffeur/driver, chaplain and social worker. There should always be at least one RN/LPN on duty at all times.
- Michelle Seitzer