What are the Varieties of Assisted Living?

The likely first place that a senior will land when they move out of their family home is in Assisted Living. ARFs, or Assisted Living Facilities, come in many varieties, shapes and sizes, but are all RCFEs, or Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly - a term that the government uses for this style of living that offers strictly non-medical care. The point of assisted living to to help people get through their days with some assistance with something called the ADLs, or Activities of Daily Life. These ADLs include toileting, dressing, bathing, transferring (in and out of bed), and many other tasks that we all consider requirements for living in a civilized society.

One type of ALF is a large, 100+ person facility. These are often owned and operated by nationwide chains that you may be familiar with from television and radio advertisements, or by driving by their properties and seeing their signs. Most offer individual private rooms with full bathrooms, have a wing or section specifically for the care of those with Alzheimer’s/dementia, and come with a full roster of daily activities sponsored by the facility, often led by a full-time Activities Director. As a general rule, these places are on the higher end of the ALF monthly rate spectrum and are quite well-appointed, fully staffed, and upscale.

Another type of ALF is often called “board and care.” These are private homes that house about 2-10 seniors in private or shared rooms, most with shared bathrooms. Just like regular private homes, these vary in style and accommodation, cleanliness and staffing. Since they are small and don’t offer all of the bells and whistles of a large facility, board and cares tend to be less expensive and also come with less activity options, fewer staff, less variety in dining, and often offer no transportation assistance.

In the middle of these two types of ALFs you will find facilities that house between 10 and 100 people, but this size is unusual. You will find small or larger facilities to be the most common choices when you look at your assisted living facility options.