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Assisted living is a residential option for seniors who want or need help with some of the activities of daily living—including but not limited to cooking meals, getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night, keeping house, and traveling to appointments.

Either an assisted living community or care home (also referred to as a group home, usually with 10 residents or less) may be a good choice if you need more personal care services than you can get at home or at an independent living retirement community, but you don’t necessarily need the round-the-clock medical care of a skilled nursing home.

Assisted living communities and homes offer the safety and security of 24-hour support and access to care. In care homes there is more individualized care as opposed to care found in a community. There are less patients for one caregiver than there are in a community. Doctors and nurses are available at communities and care homes. However, privacy and independence are encouraged. A good community or care home will develop a personalized plan that meets your needs and accommodates your disabilities, all while giving you the freedom to do what you can for yourself. In general, assisted living is in a residential type facility. Some provide apartment-style living with scaled down kitchens, while others provide rooms. In some, you may need to share a room unless you are willing to pay a higher price. Most communities and care homes have a group dining area and common areas for social and recreational activities.

Usually a community is recommended for seniors who enjoy many social activities, do not require as much care, and are not at a severe fall risk. If more care is needed and the senior is less active then a care home is usually the better option. The family's budget is also a factor, of course. Communities tend to be more expensive. Care homes usually do not increase their rates as the senior needs more care. Rates at a community generally will increase as the senior needs more care.

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