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What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a type of long-term care facility for elderly or disabled people who are able to get around on their own but who may need help with some activities of daily living, or simply prefer the convenience of having their meals in a central cafeteria and having nursing staff on call.

This group living arrangement provides help with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, and using the bathroom, taking medicine, and getting to appointments as needed. Residents often live in their own room or apartment within a building or group of buildings and have some or all of their meals together. Social and recreational activities are usually provided. Some assisted living facilities have health services on site. Costs for assisted living facilities can vary widely depending on the size of the living areas, services provided, type of help needed, and where the building is located. Residents usually pay a monthly rent and then pay additional fees for the services that they get. In 2001, the typical cost of living in an assisted living facility ranged from $900 to $3,000 per month, but costs can be higher in urban areas or in upscale facilities.

Assisted living is regulated differently in each state. In most states, assisted living is licensed as a single entity that provides housing and services to residents. However, in a growing number of states a new model of assisted living has emerged, in which the housing and services are separate. In this model, while the building is required to comply with the jurisdictions' relevant codes and requirements for multi-unit housing, it is not licensed, but instead makes arrangements with licensed service agencies to provide services to residents. The new model blurs the lines between assisted living, independent senior housing, and home care.

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