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An Assisted Living Facility (ALF), sometimes referred to as a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE), provides supervision and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), coordination of services by outside health care providers, and monitoring of resident activities to help ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Assistance often includes the administration or supervision of medications prescribed by the resident’s own doctor, physical therapy or some forms of medical treatment performed by home health agencies, or personal care services provided by a trained staff person. In California, the industry is regulated at the state level by the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing.
Assisted living, as it exists today, emerged in the 1990s as a housing option alternative on the continuum of care for people, normally seniors, for whom living on their own is no longer appropriate. It exists as an option serving the needs of the elderly between independent or retirement living communities and the 24-hour medical care provided by skilled nursing facilities. Assisted living is a social model, not a medical model. It represents a philosophy of care and services promoting independence and dignity while providing supervision and help with everyday tasks, such as dressing, bathing, grooming, eating, administration of medications, ambulating, or using the bathroom. Some facilities specialize in the care of Alzheimer’s or dementia residents, while others focus on more general, non-dementia needs. It is often viewed as the best of both worlds. Residents have as much independence as they want with the knowledge that personal care and support are available if they need them. Meals, laundry, housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments, and recreational activities are also provided.
Other names sometimes used to describe this type of facility are Residential Care, Personal Care, Board and Care, and Adult and Elder Care Homes. The term Board and Care typically refers to a private home that has been converted to accommodate up to 6 beds of assisted living.