What is an assisted living facility (ALF)?

An assisted living facility (ALF) is a type of long-term care facility that provides housing, meals, and personal care support to a group of full-time residents. Residents at assisted living facilities are distinguished from those at other long-term care facility types—like skilled nursing facilities—in that they don’t require round-the-clock supervision by nurses or other medically trained personnel.

The overwhelming majority of residents at assisted living facilities are senior citizens—many of whom experience Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. There are, however, other assisted living communities that provide services to residents of all ages who may be living with certain medical conditions or developmental disabilities.

The primary goal of assisted living facilities is to offer 24-hour assistance with daily activities while maximizing residents’ independence, privacy, and personal safety.

Why are assisted living facilities (ALFs) important in healthcare?

Assisted living facilities are important because they provide necessary support and supervision to individuals—elderly or otherwise—who are unable to live safely on their own, and who may not be able to receive adequate care from their families or loved ones.

On their own, these individuals may be at greater risk of injury, ill-health, or difficulty in caring for themselves. Assisted living facilities provide their residents with a safe space to both live and socialize, while receiving the support that they need in order to feel both independent and well cared-for.

The personal care support that assisted living facilities provide includes assistance with daily tasks like getting dressed, bathing, or using the bathroom. But in addition to this, assisted living facilities also offer services like:

  • Medication management
  • Recreational and spiritual activities
  • Exercise and wellness programs
  • Laundry and linen service
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Transportation arrangements