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Assisted-Care Facilities and Services

There are many kinds of assisted-living facilities and assisted-care services for disabled and older people who need support in their everyday lives. The appropriate service or facility depends on the individual’s needs.

Services and facilities available include:

  • Care at home with aides or health-care providers who visit to provide needed services
  • Residential care facilities, including
    • Group homes
    • Boarding homes
    • Board and care homes
  • Assisted-living facilities
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Nursing homes

Care at Home with Home Aides

Some disabled and elderly people are able to live at home with some assistance. How much assistance they need and with what tasks depends on the individual. Home health-care agencies are a resource to find professionals who can assist with various tasks and activities an individual may need or require, including:

  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Shopping
  • Transportation
  • Companionship
  • Personal hygiene
  • Health checks (monitoring blood pressure, for example)
  • Dispensing medicine

Residential-Care Facilities

Residential-care facilities—which may be called group homes, boarding homes, or board and care homes—are generally small family homes in residential neighborhoods licensed to care for about two to six (sometimes as many as eight) elderly, disabled, or impaired residents.  Some house more than eight residents, but those are not common.

Live-in staff provide for all of the residents’ needs. These facilities provide a homier, perhaps more personal, atmosphere than larger institutions or nursing homes. Staff members provide custodial care, meals, and activities and may dispense medicines. Board and care homes are usually barred from housing individuals who need continuous skilled nursing care or regular specialized medical care.

Assisted-Living Facilities

Assisted-living facilities are for people who need help with daily living and care but do not need the level of care provided by a nursing home. Assisted-living facilities vary greatly by location in terms of services offered and the organization of their facilities

Assisted-living facilities range in size from as few as 25 residents to more than 100. They usually offer several defined levels of care, with costs varying by the level chosen. Common services include assistance with daily care, meals, and transportation.

Assisted-living residents usually live in their own apartments or rooms and share common areas for meals and activities. Services may include:

  • Assistance with personal care
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Help with medications
  • 24-hour security
  • On-site staff and supervision
  • Social and recreational activities

Continuing-Care Retirement Communities

Continuing-care retirement communities (CCRCs) provide progressive care in one location as a resident’s needs change and evolve. A CCRC may offer independent housing (houses or apartments), assisted living, and skilled nursing options all on one campus. Where a resident lives depends on the level of care they need. CCRCs usually provide recreation programs.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, or skilled-nursing facilities, provide a wide range of health and personal care services for residents who cannot live independently. Nursing home care generally focuses more on medical care than assisted living facilities do. Usually nursing home services include:

  • Nursing care
  • 24-hour supervision
  • Three meals a day
  • Assistance with personal care
  • Recreational activities as appropriate

Nursing home services may also include:

  • Rehabilitation services, such as
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Speech therapy
  • Private one-on-one nursing care if required


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