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Assisted Living: A General Overview

Who Should Move into Assisted Living?

Assisted living is for more independent seniors. These are seniors who can generally take care of themselves with a helping hand here or there. If one of the following descriptions fits your loved one, assisted living might be a good fit for them.

  • Your loved one has a hard time driving and is having a difficult time getting groceries, going to the beauty salon, making it to the bank
  • Your senior’s house is getting dirtier every time you visit them. They are having a hard time keeping their home clean and conducting laundry and other house cleaning tasks
  • Your senior is having a hard time navigating doctor’s appointments and keeping up with their health.
  • Your senior is showing signs of depression. They are lonely, and you find that they are messaging you more and more.
  • Your senior is having a hard time remembering to take medication.
  • Your senior is showing signs of dementia and Alzheimers. Sometimes an assisted living facility can be a good fit if your senior is still able to do most tasks other times, a higher level of care can be needed like a nursing home.
  • Your senior’s companion or spouse has just passed, and their life has changed dramatically. A new home and new friends could be a great fit.
  • Your senior has mobility difficulties.
  • Your senior is showing signs of poor hygiene. This can include dirty nails, body odor, and messy hair.
  • Your senior is showing a general decline in health.
  • Your senior one is starting to hoard stuff. This can become a fire hazard and even become a health issue.

Who Should Not Move Into Assisted Living?

Someone who is extremely independent might have a hard time adjusting to assisted living. If someone can generally take care of themselves completely, another retirement community is probably a better fit.

On the other end of the spectrum, someone who needs a ton of care might need a higher level of care. This could include someone who needs 24/7 help to get around and conduct their lives. A better fit for someone who needs a lot of hands to help should look into options such as a nursing home.

What is the Cost of Assisted Living?

Assisted living has a broad range of costs. Depending on geography, the luxury of the facility, and several other factors, basic costs can range from $2,000-$10,000 a month. The average price of a facility is around $3,000-$4,000 a month. This can be very surprising for families starting to look at care. Sometimes this cost can be negotiated depending on the facility and how many vacancies that it currently has. In addition to a basic fee per month, assisted living facilities typically have several add on fees. These can include moving in fees, personal care fees, meal fees, and community fees. These fees can add up quickly, and it is a common problem to think that you are paying for a service later to find out that you have to pay hundreds or even thousands of more dollars a month.

Move-in fees can be highly variable. Some facilities don’t have a move-in fee while other facilities have a one-month rent move-in fee.

One of the biggest complaints when searching for an assisted living facility is that the facilities are very secretive about their price. However, at My Caring Plan, we’ve tried to either gather cost information manually or estimate it to the best of our abilities.

There are different types of cost structures, depending on the facility. These models are an all-inclusive model, a level of care model, and fee for service model.

All-inclusive Model

This is one payment per month for everything that your senior needs. This includes care assistance for your senior, such as bathing, laundry, transportation, and whatever else your senior might need help with. This also includes all meals at the dining room, security, recreational activities, and much more.

Levels of Care Model

Sometimes a facility will have several different tiers to choose from. These tiers have a difference in how many amenities your loved one has access to. Lower tiers might not have access to personal care, cooked meals, and medication management. Make sure to ask questions as it is essential to understand precisely what you are paying for when you choose a specific tier.

Fee-for-Service Model

Most fee-for-service models include rent and meals. Every additional amenity your senior wants or needs they have to pay for. In most fee-for-service models, there is an option to pay for hourly care for your loved one.

What Types of Care are Provided in Assisted Living?

Most assisted living facilities offer daily living activities (ADLs), medication management, and health care management and monitoring. The medication management level can depend on the facility, so make sure to ask questions. Facilities can also help with coordinating doctor’s appointments and provide 24-hour monitoring of its members.


Assisted living typically features a long list of amenities. Here are some examples of amenities that are often given:

  • A cook to make meals
  • Onsite musical guests
  • Laundry service
  • Libraries
  • Exercise room
  • Beauty salon
  • Swimming pool
  • Security service
  • Chapel
  • Art classes
  • Group trip
  • Several others
  • Transportation
  • Bingo
  • Dances
  • Movie nights

Living Space

Assisted Living facilities offer a wide range of living options. These can include private rooms, shared rooms with another resident, and double rooms. Depending on the facility, there might be more options available. Most apartments offer some kitchen space and private bathrooms.

Assisted living is sometimes located in a hospital and can also be a part of a broader senior living community that might include nursing homes.


In most states, assisted living facilities are registered or licensed. Most state government websites have reports of the conditions of assisted living facilities. Many states will send a government employee to the facilities’ site to overview a facility’s condition and create a report. These reports can include information about when a facility has been fined for breaking code.

Other Names for Assisted Living

Assisted living can go by many names, depending on where you live. Some of the most common ones are assisted living residences, community residential care facilities, personal care homes, residential care homes, residential care facilities for the elderly, and assisted housing programs.

Finding a Quality Assisted Living Community

My Caring Plan has combined data sources from several different areas of the web to create one place where you can browse and find the best facility for your loved one. Once you find some facilities that you’re interested in, we have partnered with senior living advisors across the country that know your city well, the communities within it, and will help you find the best place for your loved one.