What is assisted living?

What is assisted living for seniors, or what does assisted living mean? In retirement living, staff provide assisted living care services to support seniors, as needed, with daily living activities so they can otherwise maintain their independence. Seniors in assisted living, also known as supportive living, are able to live well independently if they have help with tasks such as meals, housekeeping, laundry, grooming, dressing, bathing, transferring to mobility devices or medication monitoring.

When is assisted living needed?

It may be time to talk to a parent about senior living if you’re noticing behaviours that have you concerned about their safety and well-being. Involving seniors in the decision-making about senior housing before a crisis hits will allow you to choose based on your priorities instead of settling for whatever assisted living facility is available. You might notice these signs when assisted living is needed:

  • Is your parent eating well? Are their clothes getting too big? Is food rotting in the fridge?
  • Are they paying the bills? If you see a growing stack of unopened mail, that’s a sign they may not be managing well.
  • Are they changing clothes regularly and taking care of toileting, grooming and personal hygiene?
  • Are they keeping their environment clean in a way that is typical for them? If not, they may be finding the tasks require too much effort or they may have stopped caring about their surroundings.
  • Are they managing medications appropriately? If not, it can lead to dangerous complications.
  • Do they appear depressed or have they withdrawn from social activities? Grief is normal after a death, but if your loved one is not recovering or appears disinterested in everyday life, it’s worth exploring with their physician. Learn more about when it’s time for assisted living.

Benefits of assisted living

At Amica, we believe in enriching seniors’ lives by providing a beautiful environment combined with premium hospitality and professional care and support that’s personalized to the needs of each individual resident. Unlike living in a typical nursing home, our private senior care residences in Canada’s most inspiring neighbourhoods provide a choice of lifestyles that include flexible care, housekeeping, laundry, exceptional dining, organized activities, excellent amenities, social events and dedicated transportation for scheduled shopping and cultural excursions. Seniors and families feel safe and comfortable knowing they will maintain their independence and control over all aspects of their day while receiving support according to their preferences and needs, even if those needs evolve.

Independent vs. assisted senior living: understanding the differences

Independent living: Seniors who can manage all or most daily living activities without assistance, and are ready to let someone else take care of chores, might move from the family home into independent living. At Amica, these residents enjoy privacy and independence plus all the perks of living in a thoughtfully designed residence in a vibrant neighbourhood: freedom to set your own schedule and invite friends and family over whenever you like; excellent amenities including shared spaces to socialize; optional fitness, entertainment and social activities; meals prepared fresh daily by our in-house culinary team; and weekly housekeeping and linen laundry. If you need a hand temporarily after illness or if your needs evolve, you’ll have reassurance that assistance is available 24/7 and you won’t have to move again.

Assisted living: Seniors are best served in assisted living with nursing care if they wish to maintain their independence and privacy but require help with some parts of their daily routine. What are assisted living services? At Amica’s thoughtfully designed residences, residents in assisted living enjoy the same lifestyle as other residents including seasonal cuisine prepared by our chef; housekeeping services; premium amenities; accessible, enriching social and recreational activities; and the freedom to go about your day as you wish. Based on your unique needs and routines, you’ll have help from certified wellness staff with tasks at your request, such as showering, medication assistance, getting dressed, continence care, etc.

Before you visit residences, you might find it helpful to learn more about how to tell where you fit in senior living.

Differences between assisted living and nursing homes

Who is eligible for assisted living and nursing homes? Both types of senior housing provide a secure accessible setting with support for seniors to manage activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, bathing and personal care. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes also provide senior care, meals, recreational activities, laundry, housekeeping and transportation while helping seniors manage medications.

Seniors in assisted living (or supportive living, depending where you live) pay to live in their own personal suite in upscale apartments or retirement living facilities. Premium amenities at Amica residences with assisted living may include a concierge, licensed dining room, indoor pool, fitness centre, craft kitchen, gardening centre, games room, library, pub and more. Residents in assisted living don’t need continuous medical care but might require assistance to live alone, such as help transferring to a wheelchair. Many assisted living communities also offer optional services from visiting health and wellness professionals such as physiotherapy, vision care, dental care, lab services, etc.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are for people who can no longer be cared for in their own homes or in assisted living. Nursing homes generally look more institutional. They provide a secure setting for senior living in a care home with complex medical problems or life-threatening illnesses that require 24/7 monitoring by nurses and doctors. Living in a nursing home may require sharing a room with one or more seniors. With basic meals and amenities, and rates typically set by the province, nursing homes cost less than private senior assisted living. Find out who is eligible for subsidies through your provincial ministry of health.

Help finding a senior living community with assisted living

  • If you’re helping your parent, start by having a conversation; download this complimentary guide to open a dialogue and play a supporting role.