Assisted Living (AL) is a residential alternative to nursing home care. There are 36,000+ assisted living communities’ nationwide serving more than one million seniors. A relatively new concept twenty-five years ago, today assisted living is the most preferred and fastest growing long-term care option for seniors.
Assisted living is regulated in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Based on the varied preferences and needs of the elderly, there are a variety of settings from which to choose. These choices range from high-rise buildings to one-story Victorian mansions to large multi-acre campuses. All settings offer 24-hour care and supervision for those who need assistance. Care is provided with dignity and respect.
While the majority of assisted living residents today (86.2%) pay from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer “home and community-based waivers” that allow low-income residents to live in AL. Also, more seniors are purchasing long-term care insurance to help plan for and finance their long-term care needs.
While many of today’s baby boomers are primarily concerned with finding the right assisted living community for their aging parents and relatives, these 74 plus million boomers will be the next generation of assisted living residents. Innovations in technology and research will improve the existing model in years to come. The US Census Bureau reports that within the state of Maryland that:
- By 2020 22.8 % of the state population will be 60 plus years old
- By 2030 25.8% of the state population will be 60 plus years old
- By 2040 24.5% of the state population will be 60 plus years old. It therefore shows that the need for assisted living facilities will continue to boom as time progresses.
The philosophy of AL is to provide personalized, resident centered care in order to meet individual preferences and needs and allow the residents to Age in Place. AL treats all residents with dignity, provides privacy and encourages independence and freedom of choice. Residents’ family members and friends are encouraged to get involved in the assisted living community.
Aging in Place means a process whereby individuals remain in their living environment despite the physical and/or mental decline and growing needs for supportive services that may occur in the course of aging. For aging in place to occur, services are added, increased, or adjusted to compensate for the person’s physical and/or mental decline. Each resident has a specific plan of care that is determined based on the needs and wants. They are able to select their own package of services, decide not to participate in any services or activities, accept or reject meal plans, choose to accept or reject help with medication administration and can even elect to self-administer medication or choose to skip a dose.
Assisted Living Residencies are intended to serve as an alternative to institutional long term care services which are traditionally organized and staffed along a “medical model”. AL facilities are intended to promote the concept of aging in place in a homelike setting for frail elderly and disabled individuals, including those who may require formal long term care services as they age.
The intent of AL is to offer supportive personal care and health services in an environment that promotes resident values, including independence, choice, individual decision making and self-direction. Implementing the concept of aging in place will enable residents to choose a residential setting with the assurance that they may reside there with a great deal of independence without having to transfer to a more formal and less homelike institution as they age or as their frailties or personal and health care needs increase.
- Offering quality care that is personalized for the individual’s needs
- Fostering independence for each resident
- Treating each resident with dignity and respect
- Promoting the individuality of each resident
- Allowing each resident choices in care and lifestyle
- Protecting each resident’s right to privacy
- Nurturing the spirit of each resident
- Involving family and friends in care planning and implementation
- Providing a safe residential environment
- Making the assisted living residence a valuable community asset
Assisted living promotes choice and independence in living. The resident is encouraged to choose their own facility, execute their own agreement, be involved openly in their plan of care, select their own package of services, decide not to participate in any services or
Since the intent of AL is to offer supportive personal care and health services in an environment that promotes resident values, including independence, choice, individual decision it provides the resident the ability to maintain autonomy of Self Care and enable the resident to maintain a certain percentage of self-direction. Implementing the concept of aging in place will enable residents to choose a residential setting with the assurance that they may reside there with a great deal of independence without having to transfer to a more formal and less homelike institution as they age or as their frailties or personal and health care needs increase.