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An assisted living program is a type of care for the elderly and infirm. This type of program is designed for people who cannot live without the assistance of others but who do not require constant assistance such as that offered by convalescent homes or nursing homes. Residents often live in their own apartments or condos in a specific area, and trained staff employed by the assisted living program can attend to the needs of the residents when necessary. The configuration of the living facilities will vary significantly, and the specific services will also vary significantly, as no single definition of the term exists.
The particulars of an assisted living program are often regulated at the state or local level, so the ins and outs of the individual programs can vary by region as well as by provider. In many instances, the general framework of the program allows residents to live on their own in private apartments or condominiums in a centralized location to allow providers to offer assistance quickly and efficiently at any time of day or night. These apartments and condominiums are often strategically designed in accordance with the assisted living program guidelines to minimize falling risks. The apartments and condominiums are also often fitted with emergency communication alarms and devices that allow a resident to indicate he or she needs help.
While not always offered by an assisted living program, a facility may offer independent living in addition to convalescent or nursing care. This means a resident who is able to live on his or her own for a period of time can do so, but when the time comes for that person to be transferred to a nursing facility, he or she can stay on the premises in the nursing care area. This is not a service that is universally offered, but it is an increasingly common service.
Many assisted living program facilities are not apartment or condominium set-ups, but rather a dormitory style. Such facilities often have common areas such as dining halls, common rooms, and shared bathrooms, and each resident is allowed his or her own private room if possible. More crowded facilities may force residents to live with a roommate. This style of assisted living is usually less expensive than other types of facilities, though for people who need more intensive care, this is a good option for convenience and safety.