Who are Residents of Assisted Living Facilities? Study Reveals


Researchers from George Mason University analyzed 2,300 assisted living facilities in order to determine who the residents of this particular care community are. This study is based on data from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Facilities are categorized based on the number of beds they have. Those that have four to ten beds are considered small while those that have eleven to twenty-six fall under the medium category. Facilities with twenty-six or more beds are categorized as large facilities.

The research found that residents vary depending on how big the facility is. Here are the findings based on community size:

Small Facilities

Residents of small assisted living facilities are mostly younger than 65 years old. However, it was also found that this category houses more people with Alzheimer’s disease—a condition that usually affects seniors who are 85 years old—as compared to medium and large scale communities.

Furthermore, small facilities have more residents with mental illness and developmental disability as well as behavioral problems such as physical aggressiveness. As a result, medications used to manage behavioral problems are prescribed more often in this type of facility.

Large Facilities

Large assisted living facilities house more seniors as opposed to smaller ones. It is found that 85% of their residents are 75 years old, while 56% are beyond 85 years old. Since this is the case, it’s not surprising that most members of their population are suffering from chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypertension and osteoporosis. In addition, it is found that their residents have experienced a fall or have visited the emergency room for the previous year—but it is not clearly stated whether these incidents took place while they were already in the facility or not.

Medium Facilities

Residents of this assisted living category are a variation of those residing in small and large communities.

Regardless of category, the typical resident of an assisted living facility is a white 85-year-old widowed woman.

People behind this study reiterate that their findings are not conclusive enough to measure the quality of care being administered in assisted living facilities; rather, this report is aimed to help families in finding the best community for their loved one. Of course, it pays to know if the resident’s profile matches that of your loved ones. This way, you’ll determine if the facility has the capability to accommodate your loved one’s condition.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

residentsApart from the cost, one of the important things that you need to evaluate in an assisted living facility is  the people in it—both the residents and the staff. The findings mentioned above can help you see if the residents are being taken care of accordingly based on their needs. Apart from this, see if they are friendly, sociable and well-groomed.

Meanwhile, be more observant with the number of staff and how they interact with the residents and visitors. Are they friendly, attentive and willing to answer your questions? Or do they appear detached and disrespectful?

Take time to ask the range of activities they offer. Are they in line with your loved one’s interest? Does the staff offer transportation for activities outside the community? More so, learn about how they address emergencies. Is there an ambulance on stand-by?

As you visit the place, take in the atmosphere. Is it homey or does it feel clinical? Make sure that you take a tour of the place to see if it’s comfortable enough for your loved one. Have them join the visit if possible.

If you or a loved one is planning to move to an assisted living facility, keep these points in mind. Results of the study – as well as the tips mentioned above – are geared towards helping you make a wise decision.

Image credit: Flickr


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