Find The Best Assisted Living Facilities Near You In 2024


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Patricia C. Heyn has been involved in gerontological and rehabilitation research for more than 22 years.
Patricia C. Heyn, Ph.D., F.G.S.A., F.C.A.R.M. Gerontology / Lifestyle Medicine / Rehabilitation
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Living alone can be great—or lonely and unsafe. If you or a loved one starts to feel like solo living is becoming more of a burden than a blessing, it may be time to consider assisted living.

These communities provide a range of services, such as meals, housekeeping and activities. Seniors often find a renewed sense of engagement and well-being in assisted living, too. Here’s what you should know about this type of residence.

What Is an Assisted Living Facility?

Assisted living facilities are residences designed for people who are independent but need some help with daily activities. They are part of a continuum of care that provides housing, personal care services and health care.

These facilities can be freestanding communities, part of a retirement community or integrated with nursing homes or hospitals. Assisted living maximizes the dignity and independence of residents while also providing 24-hour supervision.

According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), there are about 28,900 assisted living communities in the U.S. More than 800,000 people reside in an assisted living facility nationwide[1].

Who Lives in Assisted Living?

Most assisted living residents are older adults. More than half of them are at least 85 years old. While people in assisted living don’t require skilled nursing around the clock, they do need help with activities of daily living (ADLs). About 40% of residents live with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

The median stay in assisted living is 22 months. After that period of time, about 60% of residents transition to a skilled nursing facility[2].

Long-Term vs. Short-Term Assisted Living

Most assisted living facilities only offer long-term stays. However, some communities offer short-term respite care. They may also offer options for people who want to try out the community before they commit.

How To Find the Best Assisted Living Facilities Near You

Before settling on a new place to call home, take some time to consider what matters most to you or your loved one. Focus on key factors—such as budget limitations, accessible community design and engaging community life—as well as everyday concerns like meals, ambience and proximity to loved ones or preferred health care providers. Assess these elements personally and directly by scheduling in-person tours or visits. Some communities allow for brief overnight stays as well to help prospective residents determine whether a community is a good fit for them.

When touring an assisted living community, ask questions to residents and speak to family members and staffers alike. Dig into the extent of medical care the community offers onsite, as it can vary significantly from one community to another. Explore the amenities of the rented rooms or suites, as well as those available in common areas. Get a feel for how easy it is to navigate the community physically and what challenges might arise should you choose to live there. Speak with current residents to learn about how they like their home and what struggles they face.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or not sure where to start, a certified senior advisor can help narrow your search. Most states also offer free or low-cost resources to help older adults navigate the assisted living landscape.

What to Look for When Searching for the Best Assisted Living Facility

Finding a new home can be daunting, especially when caregiving is part of the equation. However, there are ways to find the best assisted living community to meet your family’s needs.

“In general, you should look for outstanding care, accessible community design and vibrant community life,” says Rhonda Glyman, executive director of NewBridge on the Charles Assisted Living, a facility of Hebrew SeniorLife in the Boston area.

She encourages seniors and their loved ones to visit multiple facilities and pay attention to what they see.

“Go take a look,” she says. “Are staff and residents smiling? Do they look happy? What does the environment look like?”

As you visit different communities, here are specific factors to consider.

Care Offerings

Assisted living facilities offer a variety of services that can include:

  • Up to three meals a day
  • Assistance with personal care
  • Help with medications and housekeeping
  • 24-hour supervision and on-site staff
  • Social activities

You might notice something missing from that list.

“Medical care isn’t part of the usual portfolio of care,” says Helen Chen, M.D., chief medical officer at Hebrew SeniorLife.

However, assisted living staff can monitor residents and help coordinate services with outside health care providers. It’s important to explore how the facility handles these interactions.

“Ask the caregivers, ‘What are your relationships with the health care community?’” advises Dr. Chen. “Do you have clinicians who come here and do office visits? What is provided within the facility?”

Find out if the assisted living community is associated with a specific medical facility. Sometimes residents are required to go to that practice. Additionally, investigate what policies are in place should emergency care be needed.


Accommodations vary among assisted living facilities. Different options may be available within one community as well. Kitchenettes, private rooms and larger apartments are common, and residents typically choose one over the other based on their lifestyle preferences and budget. It’s also important to consider:

  • Utilities. Are telephone, cable and internet services available in personal spaces? If so, what is the billing model?
  • Bathrooms. Are bathrooms designed to accommodate mobility devices? Are there safety features like grab bars?
  • Furnishings. Do residents bring their own furniture or do the living spaces come furnished?
  • Guests. Are loved ones allowed to stay overnight? If so, is there any related cost?

No matter what personal living space meets your needs, pay attention to the common areas and ease of getting around. Good lighting, clear areas to walk both indoors and outdoors, and comfortable places to sit help keep residents safe and engaged.

“Accessibility is a key element to be looking for,” says Dr. Chen. “You want amenities that are centrally located so residents can easily come to programs and dining and it’s easy to get back and forth and meet with their friends. That social engagement helps improve their quality of life.”

Amenities and Activities

Assisted living is designed to meet both the physical and emotional needs of residents. Most facilities create a care plan for each resident based on their individual needs, interests and desires.

“We focus on the person, so the care plan isn’t just clinical,” says Glyman. “It’s how we can help you learn, grow and find purpose.”

When you’re searching for assisted living, consider what life-enhancing services and activities are available. Amenities can include:

  • Housekeeping services
  • Recreational activities
  • Salon services
  • Fitness or wellness centers
  • Spiritual resources or services
  • Regularly scheduled activities like volunteer work or lifelong learning
  • Transportation to events
  • Pet-friendly policies

Examine dining services as well. Do menus vary, and can residents make requests? What hours are dining facilities open? The path to a person’s heart is often through the stomach.

Caregivers and Staff

People and personalities make a community, so ask about staff training, policies and background checks. It’s also important to trust your gut.

“Come and see and decide for yourself. You get a vibe,” says Dr. Chen. “Ask a lot of questions. Facilities that aren’t transparent about policies make me nervous. If you’re entrusting your loved one to this place, you need to make sure they answer your questions, because that’s the relationship you’ll be having with the director, leadership and frontline staff for many years.”


Don’t overlook the agencies that register, license or certify assisted living communities. A department of the state will issue and renew licenses for these facilities. Make sure the community you select is in good standing and properly accredited.


Assisted living doesn’t come cheap. Most residents use some form of private pay—like long-term care insurance or their personal savings—to cover assisted living expenses. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care services, so it doesn’t pay for assisted living.

People in lower income brackets may be able to use Medicaid to help pay for assisted living, though state Medicaid programs vary. Medicaid can also cover certain home and community-based services like personal care and supportive services. Since this care is provided in assisted living communities, Medicaid may help pay for part of the cost. However, Medicaid doesn’t pay for room and board.

Long-term care insurance can help cover the daunting costs associated with assisted living. Specific benefits vary depending on the policy and policyholder, so if you already have long-term care insurance, review your benefits carefully before attempting to apply them to assisted living costs. If you don’t already have a plan, compare how coverage differs from one provider to another as you shop around.

Veterans should connect with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to see if they’re eligible for Aid & Attendance (A&A) benefits. This monthly stipend can be used toward the cost of a long-term care or assisted living facility.

If you’re trying to determine how to pay for assisted living care, talk to your financial advisor or state Medicaid board. Assisted living employees can share resources to help you make smart choices, too.

If you’re a caregiver for an aging loved one, what is currently your biggest concern regarding their well-being?

How Much Do the Best Assisted Living Facilities Cost?

Assisted living pricing hinges on several factors, including geographical location, amenities offered and level of care provided. 

According to AHCA and NCAL, the median rate for assisted living in the U.S. is $4,000 a month, or $48,000 a year[3]. Meanwhile, certain luxury assisted living communities can cost upward of $7,000 per month. Communities in larger cities are often more expensive, too. For instance, the median cost of assisted living in New York City is $5,750 per month while the median monthly cost of care in Birmingham, Alabama, is $4,028, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey[4].

Assisted Living Communities vs. Other Senior Living Options

Assisted living communities are typically designed for active, social older adults who are in good health and want to maintain a sense of independence. Other senior living options include:

Top Cities and States for Assisted Living

According to Consumer Affairs, the following states have the highest estimated number of assisted living facilities:

  • California (5,900)
  • Florida (2,400)
  • Washington (2,000)
  • Michigan (1,700)
  • Oregon (1,500)
  • Arizona (1,400)
  • Texas (1,300)
  • Pennsylvania (1,000)
  • Wisconsin (1,000)

Most metro areas in the U.S. offer ample assisted living options. And while large cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta certainly have plenty to offer older adults, smaller cities like Tallahassee, Florida; Fort Worth, Texas, and Omaha feature well-regarded, affordable assisted living options worth exploring as well.   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best age for assisted living?

There’s no specific rule regarding the age at which it’s best to move to assisted living. However, a majority of the 800,000 assisted living residents in the U.S. are at least 85 years old, according to the American Health Care Association[5].

How do I convince my parents to move to assisted living?

An honest, deliberate and empathetic approach led by family members and caregivers can help loved ones accept and eventually embrace the opportunity to live in a safe, supportive and welcoming environment with other older adults. Consider these additional tips on how to speak to someone about moving to a senior living community.

What is the highest level of assisted living?

The terminology may vary by location, but most assisted living communities offer at least a few levels of care. Residents requiring the lowest level of care pay less per month than those who require more assistance.




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