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What Is Assisted Living--And Who Is It For?



Assisted living is a residential option for older adults who need a little assistance with daily living. Assisted living communities provide meals, housekeeping, health care support from trained staff members, assistive services, and amenities.

Who Is Assisted Living For?

When deciding if assisted living is right for your loved one, it can be helpful to look at their ability to complete activities of daily living. Activities of daily living (also called ADLs) include:

  • grooming/personal hygiene

  • dressing

  • toileting/continence

  • transferring/ambulating

  • eating

If your loved one is struggling with one or more ADLs, they may be a good fit for assisted living. Assisted living communities are set up to provide support to residents in whatever areas they may be struggling with.

That being said, sometimes it can be difficult to know where exactly your parent belongs. Perhaps Mom isn’t cooking anymore but does that mean she needs assisted living? Dad needs a little help showering—is he ready for assisted living?

There’s a term you’ll often come across when researching living options for older adults:  continuum of care. When you understand the continuum, it’s a bit easier to tell where your parent falls.

In broad strokes, that continuum ranges from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care. Independent living is for active older adults who need little to no support in their day-to-day lives. They enjoy services and amenities designed to make life more convenient and enriching, but do not need assistive services.

Assisted living comes in when adults need a little bit more help. They may need a little assistance getting dressed in the morning or need a reminder to take their medication. Assisted living is not full-time medical care.

Skilled nursing is a more advanced level of care for people who need regular healthcare and/or therapy services as well as support with ADLs.

If you or your parent are still confused about which option may be the best fit, you can always discuss it with their physician or with an expert staff member at the assisted living community you are considering. They’ll be able to help you determine which is the best fit for your parent.


Related: Which Is Best-Independent Living or Assisted Living?


What Are Assisted Living Services and Amenities?

Assisted living services and amenities vary by community. To give you an idea, though, they typically include:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living

  • Dining programs

  • Social activities and events

  • Utilities (types of utilities included depend on the community)

  • Transportation

  • Emergency response systems

  • Healthcare provider visits


Learn what assisted living services we offer at The Esquiline >>


What Is Assisted Living Like?

Again, the answer to this question will depend on the community. Just like the neighborhood your loved one lives in now, assisted living communities each have their own unique feel that’s a result of the residents, staff, and community structure.

If you choose the right community, it’s easy to say what life in assisted living isn’t like. It’s not like being in a hospital. It’s not boring and institutional. It’s not restrictive and impersonal.

At The Esquiline’s St. Francis Center for Assisted Living, for example, residents can wake up each day whenever they wish in their private apartment. They can spend the day however they’d like, whether that be enjoying one of the many community events, taking a walk on the beautiful grounds, going to the on-site chapel, or visiting with friends.

Residents are never forced to do anything they’d prefer not to do. The assisted living difference is that along the way, they’ll receive the personalized help they need to make life easier and safer.

What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?

An assisted living community is not a nursing home. Sometimes people confuse the two because they’re both residential options for older adults who need a little support, but the two are different from each other.

A nursing home is for people who need advanced nursing care in addition to help with personal tasks. Assisted living, by contrast, provides a more independent, homelike environment for adults who need help with personal tasks but don’t need regular healthcare services.

The assisted living communities of today are vibrant, active places for adults to enjoy their favorite hobbies and pursuits. Life doesn’t stop in assisted living—it just gets easier.

Assisted Living at The Esquiline

Assisted living is offered at The Esquiline, a faith-based, non-profit Life Plan Community in Belleville, Illinois. Situated on the manicured grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, the St. Francis Center for Assisted Living offers private apartment living and a wide range of services and amenities. Learn more about the St. Francis Center here.

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