Assisted Living is a term used to describe a senior living environment that provides help with activities of daily living such as: bathing, dressing, medication management, etc. Assisted Living Communities or care homes also provide meals, housekeeping, laundry and linen service. The type and frequency of these services depends on your care level and how much you are willing to pay for services. Shop around because there are a variety of services offered depending on what you're looking for and your budget.
People are often confused by the terms: “Assisted Living Community” and “Assisted Living Home” also known as an “Adult Care Home” (ACH). Both are licensed in the state of Arizona and both have certified caregivers on staff.
An Assisted Living/Adult Care Home is licensed for 10 people or less. An ACH may have a nurse on staff, but in most cases there is a Nurse Practitioner who visits the home on a weekly or monthly basis to see the residents, update medical charts and in some cases order medication. There is usually a house Manager who oversees the daily operation of the home as well as certified caregivers who work shifts so that there is a caregiver on duty 24/7. The number of caregivers varies depending on the home, but a good rule of thumb is 2 caregivers for 10 residents during peak hours and 1 at night. Often times the caregivers are responsible for housekeeping, laundry and cooking, but that is not always the case.
Some ACH's offer activities such as music or art classes, religious services or family/holiday events. Generally an ACH is pretty low key and quieter than a larger Assisted Living Community. An ACH offers fewer amenities. Some people prefer this type of environment and it is a personal decision based on your needs and taste.
An Assisted Living Community is much larger than an ACH. A community can be 30 residents up to several hundred depending on which your prefer. An Assisted Living Community is also licensed and they may have one or more nurses on staff as well as certified caregivers round the clock. Nurses update charts, provide medication management and many times have an in house wellness clinic in addition to one or more Nurse Practitioners who visit the community on a regular basis. In addition most communities have a more employees including an Executive Director, Chef, Cooks, Waitstaff, Housekeeping & Maintenance staff as well as various levels of management.
Assisted Living Communities offer many amenities in addition to meals, housekeeping, linen and laundry services. Most have transportation to doctors, shopping and pharmacies. Many have a movie theater, fitness center, pool and hair salon, etc. The list goes on and on and varies by community. Some of the larger communities resemble a 5 star resort!
The decision to choose a larger community or a smaller adult care home depends on your situation and budget. I encourage families to tour a few places and talk about it as a family before committing to either. Moving to assisted living is a big decision and the hope is that you chose a place that is a good fit for your family so you don't have to move again. Keep in mind that if you choose a larger Assisted Living Community, you may think it's perfect, but if your family member is living there and isolating themselves in their room, it may be too overwhelming for them. You will be paying a lot of money for amenities that they may not care about or use.
As always I recommend using a local placement agent to assisted you in your search. They can suggest an appropriate assisted living option based on your feedback. They will set up tours for you and walk you through the process.