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Frequent Questions

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living refers to a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services, and health-related care designed to respond to the individual needs of those who require help with activities of daily living. Assisted Living is a residential, non-institutional setting that promotes maximum independence and dignity for each resident and encourages family and community involvement. Staff is available 24 hours a day to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs.  


What types of services are offered in Assisted Living residences?

Services provided in Assisted Living residences usually include:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living 

  • Housekeeping services

  • Transportation

  • Meals

  • Access to health and medical services

  • 24-hour security and staff availability

  • Emergency call systems for each resident s unit

  • Health promotion and exercise programs

  • Medication management

  • Personal laundry services

  • Social and recreational activities

Who lives in Assisted Living residences?

Currently, more than a million Americans live in an estimated 20,000 Assisted Living residences.  There are more than 6,000 Assisted Living residences caring for more than 147,000 residents in California.  Residents typically need assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, grooming, etc.).  Residents may suffer from Alzheimer's disease or other memory disorders. 


How is Assisted Living regulated?

Assisted Living communities in California are licensed Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) and are regulated by the Department of Social Services. Regular inspections by state officials, staff training and certification requirements, family and community involvement, and ongoing quality assurance efforts work together to help ensure quality care. Ongoing education and training programs provided by the California Assisted Living Association and other education organizations, strive to reinforce standards and promote state-of-the-art programs and care delivery models. 


What does Assisted Living Look Like?

Responsiveness to consumer demand has resulted in a variety of options now available to consumers – options relating to services, special programs, activities, community size, and amenities. Because consumers’ preferences and needs vary widely, there is no single blueprint. Assisted Living communities can range from a private home, to a high-rise complex, to a multi-acre campus. Communities may be comprised of rooms or apartments. Assisted Living is an attractive option for consumers primarily because of the range of choices available, individualized service approach, security, and home-like environment. 


What about costs?

Costs vary with the residence, room size, and the types of services needed by the residents.  Generally, assisted living costs less than home health services and nursing home care.  A basic Assisted Living fee may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services.  Most Assisted Living residences charge month-to-month rates, but some residences require long-term arrangements.


Who pays the bill for an Assisted Living residence?

Since Assisted Living is private pay, residents or their families generally pay the cost of care from their own financial resources.  Depending on the nature of an individual's long-term care insurance policy, costs may be reimbursed.  As of today, California does not provide a limited assisted living benefit through a Medicaid program.  The California Assisted Living Association has been encouraging California to take the necessary steps to fund assisted living through the Medi-Cal program or through an increased SSI/SSP payment. 

Learn More from the Assisted Living Federation of America

Download ALFA's Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Residence

ALFA's Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Residence

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