A National Study of Assisted Living for the Frail Elderly: Final Summary Report. A. Background

11/01/2000

The most rapidly growing form of senior housing in recent years has been a form of supportive housing or residential long-term care known as assisted living. This growth has been a response to several factors, including the aging of the population, the preferences of the elderly for settings other than nursing homes, the availability of private financing for development and construction of ALFs, and public policies aimed at containing use of nursing homes.

This report presents data on 41% of the ALFs nationwide and on the residents and staff in those facilities. These are the facilities among all ALFs that offer the highest levels of services and privacy.

ASPE has a long-standing interest in the ability of residential and community-based service providers to meet the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities. As a result, ASPE has funded several studies of residential long-term care, including this first national study of ALFs for the frail elderly. ASPE’s interest in assisted living and its ability to meet the needs of the frail elderly has been heightened during the study by a series of reports and a Congressional hearing that raised concerns about quality and consumer protection in assisted living (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1997 and 1999).

This section also presents data collected on facilities. It reports data on a nationally representative sample of residents and staff in ALFs classified as providing the highest levels of services or privacy. These facilities comprise about two-fifths (41 percent) of the places calling themselves assisted living and were selected for more extensive and in-depth data collection because they seemed to most effectively exhibit key elements of the philosophy of assisted living.

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