A National Study of Assisted Living for the Frail Elderly: Literature Review Update


In 1992, Lewin-VHI produced the report Policy Synthesis on Assisted Living for the Frail Elderly in order to address: the policy concerns generated by a growing frail elderly population, rapid increases in costs of care, and growing interest in various types of supportive housing for the elderly. The 1992 Policy Synthesis was based on a review and analysis of over 350 books, reports, documents (both published and unpublished), and telephone interviews with related association representatives, policymakers, academics, and researchers. The 350 items in the 1992 bibliography span 15 years and include material on a wide range of housing options for the frail elderly. This literature review update identified 175 articles and reports related to assisted living which represent a voluminous increase in the number of articles and books published specifically on the topic in the years since the 1992 policy synthesis was produced. Furthermore, while most of the 1992 literature was indirectly related to assisted living, most of the literature included in the update is directly related to the topic. To assemble the literature review update, an automated search of seven data bases was conducted. In addition, automated searches were conducted by specifying the names of publications that are known to feature articles on assisted living. The literature review update reveals a heightened interest in assisted living, with a more specific and exhaustive focus. Much of the literature has been inspired by opportunities for HUD Section 232 financing and Medicaid waivers. The needs of dementia patients and best practices research on living arrangements for the frail elderly are also frequent research topics. However, the literature appears to show that definitions of assisted living and its attendant services and amenities continue to be lacking. [98 PDF pages]

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