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What is Assisted Living? The Complete Guide

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What is Assisted Living? The Complete Guide

Seniors aging and other changing circumstances often lead families to ask, “What is assisted living and how does it work?"


Assisted living facilities provide personalized long-term care. Seniors in assisted living communities receive housing, meals and support. It’s an ideal option for older adults in fair or better health who can manage daily life on their own, for the most part, but would benefit from help with essential activities like managing medications, using the restroom, bathing, dressing, grooming or eating.


Elmcroft Assisted Living communities offer a safe, comfortable and caring environment where seniors can maintain their independence with the confidence of knowing they have the continued support they need, even if their needs change. Extra support means more freedom to enjoy and engage in the amenities and social life that make our communities vibrant.  


What is An Assisted Living Facility?

The first step to understanding assisted living is learning how it works. Assisted living is a specialized type of caregiving where older adults live on-premises and receive support. It can be a practical — and empowering — choice for seniors in fair or better health who can mostly manage life on their own, but need help with daily tasks.

Assisted living is just one senior living option. Others include:

  • Memory care: This type of care provides skilled nursing for individuals who have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other memory loss disorders beyond the normal effects of aging that someone in assisted living may experience. 
  • Skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes: These facilities cater to residents with serious health issues. Unlike the cozier feel of assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities are usually more clinical in appearance, like a hospital or clinic, and consist of shared bedrooms and bathrooms. 
  • Home care: This option delivers care within a senior’s home or in the home of a family member. In contrast to other choices, home care doesn’t necessarily provide the social benefits and care of assisted living.  

Assisted living is usually the least expensive of these options, which is important to consider because Medicare and Medicaid help seniors pay for medical costs, but they do not cover the costs of living in an assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing facility, or of hiring home care aids.

Elmcroft has more than 100 assisted living communities across 25 states. And our residents enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have the support they need — now and into the future.

Elmcroft Assisted Living communities provide:

  • Thoughtfully designed communities: Our well-appointed communities feature professionally designed indoor and outdoor common areas, dining rooms and spaces to gather. 
  • Restaurant-style dining: Our residents get to select from a menu of delicious meals prepared by a professional culinary staff. 
  • Apartment choices: Residents can select from a number of living options including private or shared apartments with a variety of floor plans and furnishings. We also offer pet friendly apartments. 
  • Supportive staff: Our resident care staff, culinary and housekeeping teams, and Life Enrichment Coordinators work together to meet each resident’s unique needs. 
  • Coordinated health care: We work with your healthcare team and provide escorted transportation to and from needed appointments. Plus, many communities offer on-site care such as physical, speech and occupational therapy or visits from local physicians.
  • Housekeeping: More free time means more freedom to do what you enjoy. Cleaning, linen and laundry service is included at every Elmcroft Assisted Living community. 
  • Emergency response: Most of our apartments include a medical alert and emergency response system. 
  • Life enrichment: Elmcroft Assisted Living communities prioritize senior wellness. Signature programs like Vitality Club, Walking Tall and Second Wind Dreams® promote senior health and wellbeing. Life Enrichment Coordinators keep our communities vibrant with activities and events that speak to residents’ unique interests. 

Who Can Live in an Assisted Living Facility?

More than 700,000 Americans live in assisted living communities. Most of these individuals are seniors in fair or better health who can manage daily life on their own for the most part, but who would benefit from help with activities like using the restroom, bathing, dressing, grooming or eating. It is common for assisted living residents to need help with one to three of these types of activities daily, but each individual is different. Some require less help, while others require more help. 

Some seniors need more intensive care than assisted living facilities can provide. People who experience dementia, aggression, wandering, significant mobility issues, unmanageable incontinence or other serious health issues that require care from a licensed nurse may find that Elmcroft Memory Care, a nursing home or other setting is a better fit for them. 

What Does Assisted Living Provide?

The Comforts of Home

Elmcroft Assisted Living facilities were designed with comfort in mind. Our living spaces — both inside and out — were professionally designed to be spaces residents enjoy calling home.

Apartment and suite layouts prioritize privacy to respect the dignity of each resident. Each resident is welcome to bring family mementos and cherished keepsakes to make their personal spaces special. Every day, delicious meals are prepared by a professional culinary staff and served restaurant-style by a courteous waitstaff.

Our residents’ personal needs and preferences are important to us. We work hard to ensure they have what they need to live their best lives. We handle their necessary chores, like housekeeping, maintenance and laundry. And we strive to create opportunities for them to develop the social connections that support senior health and well-being. But we also provide plenty of quiet nooks and spaces for those who prefer to keep to themselves.  

Coordinated Care

When residents require specific medical support, such as physical therapy, dental care or specialists, we can usually coordinate with their providers and provide the transportation to and from appointments. Additionally, many communities offer on-site care such as physical, speech and occupational therapy or visits from local physicians. And our resident care and nursing staff is dedicated to responding to our residents’ medical needs.

Personal Care Even When Needs Change

We focus on providing personalized care. Knowing our residents as individuals helps us to be agile when their needs change. That can mean providing short-term additional care if an illness occurs, extra support to help regain strength and ability after an injury or tailored services to accommodate changing personal preferences. At Elmcroft Assisted Living communities, the amount of care typically changes as the needs of the resident change based on an assessment.  

Compassionate Caregivers

Personal care can mean a number of things. At Elmcroft Assisted Living, it means our fully trained staff members are there when our residents need help with everything from incontinence and medication management to help with grooming, getting dressed and more. It means striving to provide opportunities for social engagement and connection. It also means living our shared commitment to provide our residents with the compassionate care they need to live independently.

What really makes the assisted living staff at Elmcroft unique is their heartfelt desire to lovingly care for our residents and help them live as independently as possible. We are proud that many of our assisted living staff are longtime employees and our residents consider them family. 

Benefits of Moving to an Elmcroft Assisted Living Community

Elmcroft Assisted Living communities offer all the comforts of home — plus amenities and personalized care options designed to meet each resident’s unique needs. 

Benefits of moving yourself or a loved one to an Elmcroft Community include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Elmcroft Assisted Living can be less expensive than home health or nursing care at home. 
  • Peace of mind: Professional support and care that can be adjusted as resident needs change. 
  • Independence: We provide the support residents need to stay autonomous in their daily lives. 
  • Safety: We offer security as well as emergency response technology to keep our residents safe and independent.  

Read More Information About Assisted Living:

FAQs about Assisted Living
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
Dining at Assisted Living Communities
How to Know When a Loved One is Ready for Assisted Living
Transitioning to Assisted Living
Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes
Assisted Living vs. Home Care
How to Pay for Assisted Living Facilities

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