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Assisted Living

Selecting An Assisted-living Facility

Choosing a facility can be time-consuming and confusing. The Assisted Living Federation of America and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging have consumer checklists that can be used to frame information people might want about a facility. Other resources exist within each state. The agency responsible for licensing facilities may also have a checklist. In narrowing down the list of potential facilities, consumers should ask the licensing agency about any problems with compliance with state regulations. The state department on aging may also have information about assisted-living facilities.

Perhaps the key area is understanding what one is buying—the living unit, services, and activities—and how much this will cost. When reviewing the resident agreement or contract, one should make sure it is consistent with the marketing materials. It is also important to read the agreement to see the circumstances under which the facility may ask a resident to move. Understanding what services will be available if a resident gets sick or needs more assistance than when he or she moved in is one of the most important aspects of entering an assisted-living facility. Another important issue is what happens if a resident spends all of his or her resources and no longer has enough monthly income to pay the fee. As the supply of facilities expands, operators may be joining the growing number of facilities that contract with Medicaid to serve residents who qualify. It is important to ask if the facility participates in the Medicaid program.

Assisted living is a welcome addition to the array of long-term care services. Yet the nature and level of services vary, and it is important for potential residents to do their homework. It is better to seek the information before there is an emergency requiring a quick decision.



Assisted Living Federation of America, Coopers and Lybrand. 2000 Overview of the Assisted Living Industry. Washington, D.C.: ALFA, 2000.

GULYAS, R. The Not-for-Profit Assisted Living Industry: 1997 Profile. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, 1997.

HAWES, C.; ROSE, M.; and PHILIPS, C. D. A National Study of Assisted Living for the Frail Elderly. Results of a National Survey of Facilities. Myers Research Institute, 1999.

MOLLICA, R. State Assisted Living Policy: 2000. Portland, Maine: National Academy for State Health Policy, 2000.

National Investment Conference and the Assisted Living Federation of America. National Survey of Assisted Living Residents: Who Is the Customer? Washington, D.C.: ALFA, 1998.

U.S. General Accounting Office. Assisted Living: Quality of Care and Consumer Protection Issues in Four States. Washington, D.C.: GAO, 1999.





Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Assisted Living - Assisted-living Philosophy, Privacy And Living Units, Negotiated Risk, Selecting An Assisted-living Facility