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What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living housing is a long-term senior care option that provides personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation.

Fast Facts About Assisted Living in 2012:

  • Number of U.S. assisted living communities: 6,315
  • Number of apartments: 475,500
  • Number of current residents: 733,000
  • Average length of stay: 28 months
  • Number of states that regulate assisted living: 50

Source: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics

Featured Articles

  • Assisted Living Checklist - This checklist has the essential questions to ask when you call or visit an assisted living community.
  • Guide to Choosing Assisted Living - This in-depth guide helps you decide which assisted living facility is right for you. Use it to evaluate the services, features and policies offered by the various communities you visit.
  • Compare Assisted Living Costs - Is it true that assisted living costs more than living at home? This cost comparison can help you find out what's right for your family.
  • Check Assisted Living Regulations by State - Directory of assisted living licensing websites by state, where you can find regulation standards in your state as well as inspection summaries and violation histories.

Redefining Senior Care

A relatively new concept 25 years ago, today assisted living is the fastest growing long-term care option for seniors. Assisted living facilities, with their wide range of services, provide a senior housing solution for adults who can live independently, but also require some assistance. For many seniors, assisted living provides just the level of care they need to flourish and triumph in their new phase of life. After all, the golden years should be enjoyable-and assisted living has more options than ever before.

Cost of Assisted Living

Assisted living costs vary, depending on the following factors:

  • Type of residence
  • Size of apartment (studio, one or two-bedroom apartment)
  • Types of services needed
  • Geographical location of the community

Many communities charge a basic rate that covers all services, with an additional fee for special services. Most assisted living communities charge a month-to-month rate, but there are also long-term options available.

Typically, base rates only cover room and board and a service of daily meals, determined by the assisted living community. Sometimes there are entrance fees, deposits and laundry and housekeeping fees. But because these all vary by community, it's important to ask each community about their individual costs and services.

According to, the average cost for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment in the U.S. in 2012 was $3,300 per month; an increase of 1.19% over 2011 with a five-year annual growth of 5.71%. Studio and two-bedroom assisted living apartments varied, accordingly.

Services Offered in Assisted Living

If you've seen one assisted living community, you've seen one assisted living community. Each state has different licensing and regulation requirements for assisted living providers, which affects the particular services offered at that community. For example, some assisted living facilities are attached to, or share a campus with, a skilled nursing facility. This means these types of communities can provide more advanced medical care. But, in general, assisted living communities provide basic medical monitoring as well as daily activities and care. Activities of daily living (ADLs) include dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene, bathing, toileting, using the telephone and shopping.

Here are some of the basic services offered in assisted living:

  • 24-hour supervision and security
  • Daily meals
  • Basic housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Health and exercise programs
  • Social programs
  • Transportation
  • Access to medical services

The term "assisted living" is an industry term to describe certain communities and/or facilities.  The term "assisted living" may or may not reflect official state requirements concerning licensing,  level of care, and/or the services that are provided.  We recommend that when considering these communities and/or facilities you request to see their state license and/or contact your state's licensing authority for clarification on license type, level of care, and/or the services that are provided.


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