Qualifying for Assisted Living: What Are the Requirements?
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living communities offer seniors supportive personal care services in a residential setting. Residents who live in assisted living reside in private or shared apartment homes. Apartments are within communities offering an array of life-enriching amenities and convenient services designed to enhance daily life. Assisted living provides a healthy lifestyle – restaurant-style meals included – and plenty of social engagement.
Many families say that assisted living has greatly enhanced the quality of their loved one’s overall well-being. Assisted living also removes many of the worries and responsibilities the families experienced when their loved one was at home.
Who Qualifies For Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a senior living option that falls between independent living and skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes). Learn the difference between an assisted living facility and a nursing home here. The assisted living lifestyle is a perfect choice for those who are still somewhat independent but could live their best lives with some level of support.
Assisted living communities provide help with the activities of daily living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, grooming and medication reminders.
Older adults who move to assisted living communities often come from their own homes or the home of a loved one. Some come from another senior living lifestyle like a 55+ or independent living community. Others move to an assisted living community after a respite stay or short-term rehabilitation. While the reasons are varied, typically seniors who benefit the most from an assisted living lifestyle are those who:
- Need assistance with day-to-day activities.
- Experience challenges in managing prescription medications.
- Feeling lonely, depressed, and in need of companionship.
- Have health-related issues that require supervision, such as diabetes.
- Are not getting proper nutrition and find shopping and preparing meals overwhelming.
- Are prone to falls or who can no longer manage stairs.
- Can no longer manage home responsibilities.
- Have no family nearby or no longer want to rely on family.
Assisted living communities can be free-standing communities or they can be part of a Life Plan Community or a Continuing Care Retirement Community – communities that also offer independent living, skilled nursing, long-term care and memory care. Some communities offer both assisted living and specialized memory care.
The services typically offered at assisted living communities are:
- Staff availability and assistance 24/7
- Medication management
- Assistance with bathroom activities, dressing and grooming
- Three meals per day with unlimited snacks
- Housekeeping and laundry services
- Home maintenance and repairs
- Complimentary transportation
- Social activities and outings
- Amenities such as restaurant-style dining, activity rooms, beauty salons, and more
The Benefits of Assisted Living
The benefits of assisted living are many, but here is what many families say they appreciate most about assisted living:
Requirements for Assisted Living
Residents are assessed before moving into an assisted living community to ensure they receive the precise level of care and an individualized care plan that meets their specific needs.
Assisted living is not ideal for people who need continuous supervision, extensive medical care, or specialized memory care. Residents in most assisted living facilities can receive a high level of care – they just can’t require around-the-clock care and monitoring.
Specific qualifications for assisted living communities vary, as do state requirements. In cases where a person does not meet the criteria for assisted living, the community can deny admission. Denials most often happen when the safety and health of the resident or other residents could be put in jeopardy.
Applying to an Assisted Living Community
Whether a person comes to an assisted living community from a private residence, rehabilitation center, skilled nursing center or a hospital, the admissions process is the same. Residents must:
- Complete specific community admissions forms and agreements
- Supply medical history and physical
- Produce a negative TB test or chest X-ray
Assisted living requirements are similar to but less stringent than higher levels of senior healthcare services. The admissions process is generally very manageable for both seniors and their families.
Assisted living is an excellent option for many seniors and their families. The services and care provided in these communities have enhanced countless lives at a cost significantly less than a skilled nursing care facility.
Most importantly, the flexibility and focus on independence offered in assisted living has empowered seniors across the country to enjoy healthier living with an elevated quality of life.