What Does Assisted Living Mean?

A senior woman accompanied by a woman sitting on a bench

Watching a parent or loved one age stirs up plenty of emotions, from joy in celebrating a life well-lived to concern about helping them continue living their best life. At a certain point, you may consider the benefits of a senior living community, but the options can seem complex and difficult to understand. 

When considering a senior living community, it’s essential to have as much information as possible so that you and your loved one make the best decision for their future. One option is assisted living. What exactly is it, and could it be the right option for your parent or loved one? 

We’re taking a comprehensive look at assisted living, what it means, and what it provides to residents.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a community-based, residential lifestyle for seniors who may need personalized support with their health, personal care, or some activities of daily living. 

There are two types of activities of daily living. One type is instrumental activities of daily living, which are more complex skills needed to live independently. These skills include preparing meals, shopping, using the telephone, using transportation, housekeeping, managing finances, and managing medication(s).

Activities of daily living include all activities involved in personal care in getting ready for the day or getting ready for sleeping at night. These activities cover many daily tasks, including but not limited to: 

  • Escorting and transferring: Including assistance in and out of chairs or the bed, calls for assistance, and escorting to and from meals and activities
  • Dressing: Including dressing and removal of clothing and undergarments
  • Dining: Including cutting up food, reminders and cues during meals, special diets or fluids, and dining assistive devices
  • Bathing: Including showering, foot soaks, and sponge baths 

Assisted living communities provide different services and levels of care depending on the unique needs of the resident. This means residents’ personal and medical needs are taken care of while they enjoy a vibrant lifestyle full of amenities and activities. 

Assisted Living Community Perks and Amenities

Assisted living communities generally offer a variety of apartment options and provide a maintenance-free lifestyle that includes all the comforts of home, such as comfortable bedrooms, bathrooms that have been designed for accessibility and safety, and delicious meals. 

Let’s look at some of the care and perks that come with assisted living, depending on the community.

Delicious Meals

Healthy, delicious food is important, and communities such as Cedarhurst Senior Living have taken special care to make sure residents have the nutritional options they need to live well. The Crafted by Cedarhurst℠ culinary program offers meals created with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Every meal includes options that cater to residents’ nutritional needs, such as: 

  • Heart healthy
  • Boost Your Brain℠
  • Gluten-free
  • Diabetic-friendly
  • Low-sodium

We cook up regional specials as well as comforting favorites that are always available, even as the rest of the menu changes—yes, that means breakfast for dinner! 


Keeping up with laundry and carrying a heavy clothes hamper to and from the washer and dryer can be difficult, especially for those requiring physical assistance. In assisted living communities, we do the heavy lifting—literally. To support each resident’s individual needs, we offer personal laundry services.


Assisted living communities provide standard housekeeping services. For those who need additional help, communities may provide occasional, frequent, or extensive housekeeping services at an additional fee.

Medication Management

Medications may be crucial to maintaining your loved one’s quality of life. Assisted living communities are staffed with trained team members who may assist with making sure your parent or loved one takes their medication(s) and help administer the medication, when necessary.

Around-the-Clock Care

Residents are the first priority in a senior living community. Each individual has their own unique needs and wants, including the level of care they require. Whether it’s a minimal amount of care with daily tasks such as brushing teeth, or a more extensive amount of assistance with everything from bathing to dining, each resident is fully supported precisely how they need to be, 24/7.

Socialization Opportunities

Socialization is important to overall wellness. Seniors who are socially isolated are at risk of health consequences associated with isolation and loneliness such as heart disease, stroke, anxiety, and depression. 

Assisted living communities are vibrant places, full of opportunities for socialization available just outside each apartment door. Senior living communities make socialization much easier through a variety of opportunities and amenities, including:

  • Shared social spaces
  • Events, trips, and special programming
  • Restaurant-style dining where new connections can be made over a meal

Pet-Friendly Atmosphere

No need to leave Peanut or Spot behind during the move to a senior living community, because many of them aren’t just pet-tolerant—they’re pet-friendly. 

Pet ownership provides many health benefits, and not just for the pet owner. Neighbors in a senior living community also pick up the therapeutic advantages of having a pet, such as lower stress and decreased loneliness. Pets also naturally increase socialization opportunities as neighbors stop by to say hello and give the dog or cat a treat.  

Assisted Living Pricing

There isn’t a set range of pricing for assisted living communities. When you’re considering assisted living options for your parent or loved one who requires additional support, it’s important to think about how their care needs may change and how the pricing will change to accommodate their needs, too. 

Pricing for assisted living communities depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Care type: More extensive support, such as the kind found in memory care communities, may also carry a higher cost.
  • Amenities: Perks such as a private patio or pet-friendly community might cost more, but it’s important to weigh how important these are to your parent or loved one. Additionally, more luxurious communities and communities that have recently been renovated will often charge more.
  • Location: This is a big factor affecting pricing. The cost of assisted living in your state and community may vary from a location a few states away. For example, seniors living in a small town will pay significantly less than in New York City.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care vs. Independent Living

Assisted living has many similarities with independent living, but residents in an assisted living community have additional support staff on hand. 

Independent living focuses on providing residents with convenient, maintenance-free living while offering the lifestyle options and amenities they want. Memory care is a more specialized type of assisted living community with specially trained staff to care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. 

As your parent’s or loved one’s needs change, their lifestyle can also shift. For example, as a resident in independent living ages, their changing medical or physical needs may require a shift to assisted living, so they receive necessary care balanced with their level of independence.

Is It the Right Time for Assisted Living?

It can be hard to know when it’s the right time for senior living for your parent or loved one. Ultimately, the decision should be made with you, your parent or loved one, family members, and your parent’s or loved one’s healthcare professionals.

Still wondering if it’s the right time to move to a senior living community? Try a quick, free assessment such as “Is it Time to Get Help?” and “Is it the Right Time for Senior Living?” to gain insight into your loved one’s options. 

If you’ve determined it’s the right time for assisted living, we recommend resources such as The Insider’s Guide to Understanding Assisted Living Pricing to give you and your family a clearer picture of the costs of assisted living. 

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