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Assisted Living Communities

Assisted Living Facility Image

Assisted living communities offer a housing alternative for older adults who need help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, eating, ambulating and/or toileting. Residents of assisted living facilities do not typically require continuous medical and nursing care.

Assisted living service providers can be part of a retirement community, skilled nursing facility senior housing complex, or may operate independently as free standing community. Licensing requirements for assisted living facilities vary by state. Depending on the licensing types and requirements in each state, the names for assisted living communities can vary. Examples of different names include: residential care, board and care, congregate care, and personal care.

You can find the assisted living definitions in your state by navigating to the License Type Reference page on our site.

What services are provided?

Assisted Living Communities provide residents with their own apartment. Apartments can be studios, one or two bedroom and offer congregate meals. Most assisted living facilities also offer:

  • Help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Care management and on-going monitoring
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Help with medication management
  • Transportation (e.g., may include transport to and from doctor appointments)
  • Onsite recreational activities
  • Security
  • Parking
  • Recreational activities

How to Select a Facility?

Selecting the right assisted living community can feel overwhelming. It is important to identify the best assisted living facility that can not only meet the needs and lifestyle considerations of the individual resident today but in the future. Moving is disruptive for anyone no less an older person so invest the time to find the most appropriate match by considering the following:

  • Is the assisted living geographically close by to family and friends to visit?
  • What are the admission criteria for residents?
  • What are the criteria for being able to stay as a resident? Will my loved one be able to remain in this community if they develop severe physical disabilities or severe cognitive impairments?
  • Does the community provide a written philosophy of care?
  • Make an appointment to tour the assisted living facility. Go back a second time unannounced.
  • Try to arrange your visit during meal times and observe how the staff interacts with the residents. You can also request to taste the food.
  • Ask for copy of the recreational and spiritual monthly or weekly calendar of events.
  • Ask to talk to residents who live in the community.
  • Ask for references of family members of existing residents too.
  • Ask to see a copy of the most recent annual state license inspection report.
  • Inquire about the type and frequency of staff training.

What is the Cost for Assisted Living?

The cost of assisted living has continued to increase decade over decade. The cost of assisted living typically includes a room and board charge plus additional services depending on the individual care management needs of the resident. The typical monthly cost for assisted living can range from less than $30,000 a year to more than $50,000 a year. The cost for assisted living is usually paid for by the older persons or their families. Long term care policies will often cover some of the daily expenses for assisted living which are subject to the benefit coverage and criteria for eligibility for the resident. To the surprise of many American families, the federal Medicare program does not usually pay for assisted living length of stays. In some states, Medicaid may pay for the service component of assisted living if the resident’s financial and medical status qualifies for eligibility. Families can use and fill out the questionnaire to determine what government programs they may qualify for help.

Another local resource is to contact the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or use to find the closest Area Agency on Aging office closest to you.


Resource Downloads

Asking the right questions upfront will help you make an informed decision about the right assisted living community for you.

Take this guide with you when you tour communities.

Assisted Living Community – Tour Checklist

Take this guide with you when you speak to the community relations or management staff.

Assisted Living Community – Administrative Checklist

Use this worksheet to estimate your costs.

Assisted Living Community – Cost Worksheet