The Differences Between Assisted Living and Group Homes
When looking for senior living options, a potential resident may come across several different options. Skilled Nursing, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Group Homes…there are so many choices. Assuming that you know that you need some care (not Independent Living) and that you do not require assistance with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia (Memory Care), most people will be looking to make a choice between an Assisted Living community and a Senior Group Home. Let’s discuss the differences between the two.
Assisted Living Compared to Group Homes
Typically speaking, Assisted Living communities are larger (over 20 residents), not locally owned, and are more similar to a cruise ship or resort hotel. Group homes are smaller, locally owned and operated, and more similar to living in a boarding house, or a bed and breakfast. There are several advantages to both that we will discuss ahead.
What is Assisted Living?
An Assisted Living community provides support with Activities of Daily Living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management, and is typically a residential setting that could be as small as a cottage or as large as a high rise. There are nearly 29,000 Assisted Living Communities in the United States with the ability to serve almost 1 million residents.
Other benefits to living in Assisted Living (other than ADL’s) might also include:
- Mental health (preventing feelings of depression or isolation)
- Social support through activities, exercise, arts and crafts
- Meal service as many seniors do not want to bother with shopping or meal preparation
- Financial Management making sure that a senior’s bills are paid by including utilities
What is a Senior Group Home?
Instead of moving to a large assisted living community, an alternative exists, a senior group home. Depending on where you live, the community can be called an adult family home, board and care homes, residential assisted living, or residential care homes. Residential care homes can provide the same basic services as an assisted living community. The staff may help with personal needs, including bathing, dressing, eating, medication management, toileting — and, if necessary, emergencies. Some states allow for various levels of care in the homes, from independent living to high levels of assisted living. Private individuals usually own group homes, and the owners or some staff may live in the house (and possibly their families).
Why Choose Assisted Living over Group Homes?
- Price: A small group home may be less expensive than an Assisted Living Community, but that is typically due to the fewer amenities, such as activities, on-site beauty salons, events, transportation, and other benefits.
- Socialization: A small group home may have as few as five other residents. The average size of an Assisted Living community is over 30 residents (and typically much more than that).
- Feel: This is completely subjective to the resident. A smaller community that isn’t “just like a home”, but is actually a home, may appeal to some seniors. The owners typically live onsite and work there, and often the residents feel like they are part of a family. Other seniors want something that has more options and feels like living on “a cruise ship on land” with service and amenities beyond what they would typically experience at home.
- Size: A larger-sized community typically has more staff. This can lead to short wait times for a resident that requires care. A larger community also typically is part of a larger corporation and thus can absorb unexpected major repair costs to their community without raising prices.
- Nursing: All Assisted Living communities have a nurse in the community during the day and on-call at night, and oftentimes have a house doctor of some sort. Group homes typically have someone on call in case of emergency, and higher levels of care must bring in Home Health to assist with higher care levels.
Assisted Living at Ridgeline
Ridgeline communities are usually a full-service Assisted Living community that can care for an entire spectrum of needs. Many residents move in fully independent, looking for increased socialization, meal preparation and service, and some assistance with their healthcare like medication reminders and frequent wellness checks. The reason they choose our community is that as their needs increase, they know that Ridgeline can increase their level of care to meet their needs. Ridgeline has many residents that age in place in our Assisted Living neighborhood and later move to our Memory Care neighborhood. We believe that our community is one of a kind because while you are receiving care and assistance with Activities of Daily Living, you will be treated and feel like part of the family. Contact us today if you'd like to learn more about our community.
- “Fact Sheet ALAC”, dpbh.nv.gov, Accessed February 2021, http://dpbh.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dpbhnvgov/content/Reg/HealthFacilities/HF_-_Non-Medical/Residential_Facilities_for_Groups_(Files)/FACT-Sheet-ALAC.pdf
- “Facts & Figures”, AHCA & NCAL, Accessed February 2021, https://www.ahcancal.org/Assisted-Living/Facts-and-Figures/Pages/default.aspx