What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a form of senior housing in which residents receive regular help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming, and more. Help with transportation, shopping, medication management, and other activities that seniors find difficult to do on their own is also quite common. Assisted living facilities primarily help residents with non-medical needs. Although minor and infrequent medical services, such as first-aid for a wound, can sometimes be met on-site by nurses. These communities may sometimes also be called ALFs, residential care facilities, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities.

Quality assisted living facilities can feel like a home thanks to their friendly staff, nutritious meals, and regular opportunities for socialization with other residents. They can also often look like an upscale hotel, with nicely furnished dining rooms and indoor and outdoor gathering places as well as well-kept private rooms. Of course, the appearance of ALFs varies quite a bit, so seniors should shop around for a location that meets their desired standard of living.

Comparison of Assisted Living to Other

Forms of Senior Living
INDEPENDENT LIVINGApproximately $2,500-$3,500Not availableNot availableNot availableHomelike atmosphere but often structured like an apartment complex
ASSISTED LIVING$3,300- $7,000, with a national median of about $4,050AvailableLimited availabilitySometimes availableHomelike atmosphere but often structured like an apartment complex or hotel
MEMORY CAREApproximately $4,300-$11,000AvailableLimited availabilityAlways includedSimilar to assisted living but more secure to reduce wandering and confusion
NURSING HOMES$7,900-$13,400, with a national median of $8,500Available24/7 availabilityAlways includedOften similar to a hospital

*These figures are estimates only and can vary significantly by area and facility. The Genworth Financial 2019 Long-Term Care Survey provides greater state-level cost data on most forms of care. Memory care often costs between $1,000-$4,000 more than assisted living each month, but state-specific data can be difficult to find.