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How to Compare Assisted Living Residences

All the options in senior living are a wonderful thing but even once you’ve decided assisted living is the type of care your loved one needs, there are still choices to make. Like whether traditional assisted living or assisted living in a residential setting is the best fit. Here’s how to compare in four key areas: care, daily life, amenities and peace of mind.

Assisted Living Expectations

Before we compare it’s important to understand that whether it’s traditional assisted living or assisted living in a residential setting, you can expect some general similarities with this type of care. For example, assisted living includes housing and support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing and medication while empowering independence and helping residents to enjoy life. Onsite medical care is also available when needed.

Assisted living features may also include:

  • Comfortable, spacious accommodations
  • 24-hour supervision and security
  • Daily meals
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Exercise programs
  • Activity programs
  • Transportation

But the difference in settings is really in the details!

Care in Assisted Living

Traditional assisted living communities are typically on large campuses with potentially hundreds of residents. One of the concerns families have in terms of care in this setting is that staff members are often stretched thin because of the number of residents in their care. This means that personal attention can be limited and instead the care may seem more like an assembly line than a relationship-based experience.

Assisted living in a residential setting takes place in a single-family home specially crafted for assisted living. In fact, our homes feature a nearly unheard of 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio. This means your loved one will experience more personalized care and attention from staff that really knows them. Plus, you can rest assured that doctors are also onsite regularly and a nurse oversees the daily plan of care implemented by our experienced CNAs and caregivers to ensure quality.

Daily Life for Residents

Large, traditional assisted living communities feature a range of social, fitness and enrichment opportunities, but due to campus size they are often across multiple buildings. What’s more, while there are a number of accommodation options including different floor plans and private or semi-private residences they may be in high-rise structures. This can be overwhelming for some, and we often hear there’s an institutional feel to the larger campuses although communities try their best to create a homelike environment.

On the other hand, assisted living in a residential setting is more like the home your loved one is used to. We don’t have to try to be ‘homelike;’ everything from the décor to family-style meals on a handmade farm table to the residential neighborhood location feels comfortable and familiar. What’s more, each of our homes is at least 4,000 square feet so your loved one still has ample space for themselves with private and semi-private accommodations available.

But the smaller setting doesn’t mean life isn’t just as fun and fulfilling! Our activity programs feature daily exercises, socialization, cognitive stimulation and immersive activities as well as group outings and live entertainment just like the large communities. And consider this: we’ve found the smaller setting is so comfortable for residents that many taking advantage of more activities than they would have otherwise!

Assisted Living Amenities

If there is an area where large, traditional assisted living communities shine it’s in their amenities. Communities often tout their fitness center, spa, pool and multiple dining areas as well as their housekeeping and laundry services along with plenty of common areas both indoors and out. But again, your loved one will still be sharing all of this with potentially hundreds of neighbors and may be navigating between buildings to enjoy it all. 

You may find it surprising but assisted living in a residential setting won’t leave your loved one lacking for amenities either. Here your loved one will enjoy beautifully landscaped grounds and home gardens, three home-cooked meals and snacks daily, flat-screen televisions with basic cable, laundry and cleaning services, complimentary Wi-Fi and transportation for appointments, shopping and scheduled outings. 

Peace of Mind that Can’t Compare

Yes, you can typically count on large, traditional assisted living communities to have state-of-the- art safety features for residents. And your loved one certainly won’t ever have to worry about being alone as there will always be plenty of neighbors and staff around.

Assisted living in a residential setting is also comparable in safety as each of our homes has sprinkler systems throughout, fall alert pendants, keypad entry/exit access and state-of-the-art video monitoring outdoors and in common areas. But we feel the most invaluable peace of mind comes not from quantity but in quality – knowing your loved one is sharing life with a small, close-knit group of residents and familiar caregivers who are there 24/7 and truly care, just like family.

nursing home

For more information on assisted living, download our Family Decision Toolkit or call (224) 333-6247 to speak to a team member.