Assisted Living Options – Big Vs. Small

Is Residential Assisted Living big or small? 

When we talk about Residential Assisted Living it’s a single-family home in a residential setting. So by nature, it’s small versus big. When you think about assisted living, most people think about a large institutional setting. Some of the new facilities that are being built are absolutely gorgeous campuses, 20  acres where there’s independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing all in the same 20 Acre campus location, In the center there is a beautiful community center with movie theaters and dining halls and all around it are bedrooms, apartments and more. 

Do seniors prefer the big campus or a small option? 

The family wants to take care of mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, but they don’t have the ability to just quit their job or stop watching their own kids or just give up their life to go and take care of mom or dad full time. I think most seniors would rather live at home. They would rather have their independence with things they know, all of their belongings from many years and decades of their life all around them. It’s their home. They can keep some of their stuff. Given a choice of living in a “home” or in a “home like” setting, most seniors will choose an actual home.  

What are the advantages of small versus large? 

One advantage of the Residential Assisted Living model in a residential home is it’s your own space, that bedroom is yours. There’s only a limited number of peers that they’re sharing the rest of the space with. It’s more in control. A bigger benefit is the staff. They know them by name. When you’re in a small Residential Assisted Living home, the staff is very consistent. They may be there up to five days out of the week, so there’s a relationship that’s being built. And the resident to caregiver ratio is much smaller, maybe 5 or 6 residents to one caregiver. Which is much better than the big box facility who usually has a much larger number of resident to caregiver ratio. So let’s talk about the advantages of the big box facility. Many of them are new, gorgeous facilities with a lot of amenities. Those amenities may be the kitchen and dining room, or a  dining hall like a restaurant or cafeteria. You could have movie theaters, gardens, sewing rooms, or a library. But are these things important to the seniors, or are they just eye candy for the kids who are looking to put mom or dad in that facility? 

Which is the better option, big or small? 

The advantage of the big box could be that they could start with independent living. Then move into the more advanced care options in what’s called a Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC). In Residential Assisted Living, when somebody moves in, we know what their level of care is, but once they move on beyond what we do, into medical or needing skilled nursing, we move them on. But most people simply stay in that home for the rest of their life, not a home-like setting, but an actual home. 

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