More Generally, What Is Assisted Living?

More Generally,
What Is Assisted Living?

Use the following links to learn more about assisted living—what it is and what it is not—in North Carolina.

What is an Assisted Living Community?

An assisted living community provides a special combination of housing and personalized care services designed to assist individuals requiring help with activities of daily living. Assisted Living allows people in need to retain their dignity, privacy and as much control as possible over their own lives in a homelike setting. Care is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a scheduled and as-needed basis, in a way that promotes maximum independence for each resident, often involving the resident’s family, neighbors, and friends. While there are various types of assisted living communities, NCALA supports a residential model that is flexible in design and operation, and which provides quality care services to people of all income levels.

Most assisted living residents are in their mid-80s and need assistance with basic activities, such as bathing and dressing, meal preparation, housekeeping, shopping, and transportation. Often, residents move to an assisted living community when they can no longer safely live alone, experience some cognitive impairment, or require supervision and reminders regarding their daily routines. Assisted living communities serve the fastest growing segment of our population—people aged 85 years old and older.

Back to Top

How is Assisted Living Different from Congregate Senior Housing and Nursing Facilities?

One of assisted living’s defining features is the individualized personal care provided to residents who need assistance with activities of daily living or medication administration

Many consumers and their families choose assisted living because it values the independence and dignity of individual residents while providing cost-effective and needed services in a home-like environment. Assisted living provides more assistance with the activities of daily living than does congregate senior housing, but does not provide the skilled, intensive medical services of a nursing facility (except on a temporary basis). Assisted living may also provide a structured setting for residents who are experiencing memory loss and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Therefore, it is important to select a level of care based on a careful assessment of an individual’s medical status and functional ability.

Back to Top

What are the Advantages of Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities provide an important choice for consumers and their families who need supportive housing and services but who do not require skilled, intensive medical services. Because the majority of residents have lived within a ten-mile radius of the community in which they choose to live, assisted living provides a community resource enabling residents to remain close to family and friends. Most assisted living communities are privately owned and managed. They pay taxes, generate jobs, and purchase goods and services from community vendors.

Back to Top

What are the Existing Licensure Laws Pertaining to Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are licensed in North Carolina by the Department of Health and Human Services through the Division of Health Service Regulation. At the local level, assisted living communities are monitored for licensure compliance by the county departments of social services. To receive more information about specific licensure laws, contact the Division of Health Service Regulation at (919) 855-3765.

Back to Top