An assisted living residence is a housing facility for people who cannot live independently. Usually, the residents of an assisted living facility (ALF) are people with disabilities or the elderly, who can no longer take care of themselves. The concept of an ALF is similar to a retirement home, where the facilities cater to an environment for group living.
To better understand how an ALF works, Watermark of Gulf Breeze differentiates an ALF from a nursing home. An ALF allows for more independent living through a community-like facility wherein you have your needs attended to while enjoying the chance to be active and unconstrained. But despite this room for independence, it doesn’t mean you are not under the watchful eye of ALF caregivers. Unlike in a nursing or retirement home, you are constantly under the supervision of nurses and caregivers. The difference is they provide assistance and care only when you need it.
What generally comprise the term “assistance” is a number of services that help the disabled or elderly accomplish their regular activities. This includes supervision and support in daily activities like bathing and dressing up, coordination with primary health care providers, administering medication and personal care, and monitoring of the residents’ movements to ensure their safety, health, and well-being.
The Growth of ALFs in the U.S.
Assisted living is popular in the U.S. for its varying levels of service. This involves boarding and minimal care to personal care and social models of care comparable to a skilled nursing facility. Since the 2000s, the number of ALFs has grown at an exponential rate. In 2012, the U.S. government estimated 22,200 ALFs housing 713,300 people.
Despite the fact that there is no national consensus on what defines “assisted living,” the regulation and licensure of ALFs are at a state level. And this is where the confusion, more or less, stems from. There are senior living communities and derivatives of nursing homes that use the term “assisted living” to separate themselves from the conventional.
If you were to reside or have someone you know choose to live in an ALF, do know that assisted living is all about living independently – only that there is ready help available when you need it.