Assisted Living Is Becoming an Increasingly Attractive Compromise

For older Americans who need some help but not the kind of round-the-clock care provided in a nursing home care, assisted living facilities are becoming an increasingly popular alternative, according to an article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Although residents of assisted living centers are aging and could have health problems, those problems are not serious enough to warrant staying in a nursing home, which provides 24-hour nursing care.

Assisted living facilities provide senior citizens with meals; help them get dressed, take medication, shower or bathe; clean their rooms and do their laundry. Facilities also typically chauffeur seniors to doctor appointments and the grocery.

David Goldberg, executive director of the Fairfax Va.-based Assisted Living Federation of America, said assisted living has become more popular in the past 10 years as consumer demand for more long-term care options has risen.

"It''s really resident-based," Goldberg said. "It''s designed to be flexible, accommodating to seniors and their families. It''s customer-driven. It''s more based on a social model vs. a nursing home, which is a medical model."

Nationwide, there are about 20,000 assisted living facilities. The average cost of stay is between $2,000 to $3,000 per month, or $75 to $100 per day, Goldberg said. At some facilities, the cost can be $5,000 or more a month depending on the size of the room, whether it''s a private or shared room and the level of care needed. The average person enters assisted living in his or her mid-80s, Goldberg said.