Aging adults can thrive by living independently at an assisted living facility that offers them care, meals, entertainment, amenities and activities in a warm community setting. Assisted living facilities help aging adults maintain their independence, and they also provide care for those who need round-the-clock nursing care.
When looking for an assisted living facility for yourself or your loved one, consider the following:
- Onsite amenities
- Community focus
- Opportunities for physical activity
- Quality of staff
Top 10 Best Rated Assisted Living
Sunrise Senior Living has over 300 locations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Their facilities have independent and assisted living communities as well as respite and memory care and skilled nursing facilities.
|Read 13 Reviews|
Brookdale Senior Living Solutions has over 1,100 communities operating in 46 states. Communities can accommodate those looking for assisted living, memory care, respite care, skilled nursing care and independent living options.
|Read 8 Reviews|
Atria Senior Living owns and operates over 180 senior communities and facilities throughout the United States and Canada. They have assisted living and memory care facilities as well as independent living communities.
|Read 8 Reviews|
Broadview Multi-Care Center has been helping seniors and the chronically ill for over 40 years. They provide skilled nursing, respite and hospice care with 24-hour a day medical assistance available in a home-like setting.
|Read 9 Reviews|
Vi Living has upscale residential communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and South Carolina. Their communities have several amenities and include both apartment living and fulltime care facilities.
|Read Expert Review|
Aegis Living provides memory care, short-term care and assisted living facilities to those in Nevada, California and Washington. They have unique programs for residents with an Asian heritage and those suffering from dementia.
|Read Expert Review|
Elmcroft Senior Living was founded in 2006 and is based in Kentucky. They offer multilevel retirement communities, which provide different levels of services at a single location so residents can move between levels as needed.
|Read Expert Review|
Belmont Village Senior Living builds, owns and operates 24 senior communities in seven states. Their facilities include memory care, independent living and assisted living communities.
|Read Expert Review|
In operation for more than 50 years, Providence Life Services offers a faith-based approach to senior living communities, assisted living and nursing facilities. They have locations in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
|Read Expert Review|
In operation for over a decade, American Senior Communities has respite and memory care, assisted and independent living communities and skilled nursing and hospice facilities. They operate in Indiana and Kentucky.
|Read Expert Review|
What features matter most?
The cost of care is a primary concern of seniors and their loved ones. Many factors influence the price of staying in an assisted living facility. Seniors and their caregivers should compare the prices and service of multiple locations before committing to any living arrangement.
- Entrance fee: Some facilities charge a substantial entrance fee when a new resident moves in. This fee is typically placed in reserve to pay for future medical expenses. Residents can decide if they want the unused portion of this fee returned to them or their beneficiary after they leave the facility. Whether or not they have the fee returned and how much of the fee is returned often affects the monthly fees they pay.
- Monthly fee: Monthly fees usually include rent, some housekeeping services, a selected number of meals, all maintenance and access to community spaces and activities. Exact inclusions will vary by facility, so interested consumers should inquire about exactly which services are included and which ones will incur added expenses.
- Levels of care: Price will be greatly affected by the level of care the resident needs. Someone who only needs limited assistance will not be charged as much as someone who requires 24-hour care. Potential residents and caregivers should realistically assess the resident’s needs and abilities before selecting a facility.
- Non-profit: Non-profit facilities often provide less expensive choices than for-profit facilities. Availability at these facilities may be more limited or may be restricted to a specific population—those living below the poverty line, for example. Many non-profit nursing facilities work in conjunction with a religious organization.
- For-profit/publicly traded: Most skilled nursing facilities and senior communities are for-profit businesses. Individual facilities in this group cater to varying groups and those with more amenities will be more expensive. Some of these companies are publically traded, meaning their board of directors and leadership staff has to answer to shareholders concerning the business’ profitability.
Amenities vary by facility, but some amenities are standard at most skilled nursing facilities and residential communities.
- Housekeeping: Those living in independent or assisted living communities often receive once-a-week housekeeping service. Housekeepers typically perform only light cleaning tasks.
- Laundry: At some locations, the housekeepers will do a load of personal laundry and supply fresh linens when they perform their other cleaning tasks. Residents typically have access to free onsite washers and dryers.
- Activities: Most facilities offer activities and classes that are free to all residents. These programs help residents build a community and remain mentally and physically engaged.
- Dining: Those in skilled nursing facilities receive all of their meals from the facility’s dining room. Residents who live in an assisted living or residential community, where the residences often have kitchens, can usually select how many meals a day they wish to eat at the onsite dining facility. Dining service may be buffet style or have table service.
Entertainment areas and activity types will vary by facility. Admittance to these areas may or may not have additional fees associated with them.
- Salon/Barber: Assisted and independent living communities often have a salon and/or barber shop onsite so that residents don’t have to leave the property to get a haircut.
- Common areas: Common rooms provide residents a place to gather for community activities or host a larger number of guests than can comfortably fit in their room or apartment.
- Pool: Facilities may have pools for physical therapy, fitness and/or recreation. Individuals who suffer from joint pain may be especially interested in a facility with an indoor pool for year-round fitness activities.
- Fitness center: A full fitness center with equipment designed for seniors or those with physical challenges will help residents maintain or improve their physical abilities.
- Library: Well-stocked libraries offer residents a mentally engaging activity that doesn’t require physical strength or even leaving the property.
- Computer lab: Residents who like to communicate with friends and family through email or social media will enjoy having access to a computer, and onsite labs usually have staff who can help residents with any technical problems.
During their stays, residents’ abilities may change, altering the level of care they need. It might be easier to transition between care levels when a single company offers more than one type of care.
- Same facility/property: Many companies have continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), which have multiple care levels on the same property or in the same facility. Residents can transition to an area that offers more or less assistance as needed.
- Same company: Some companies offer different types of care at separate locations. Transitioning between these locations may be more difficult for residents because they will lose access to any friends they’ve made at their current location and/or may be disoriented by the change.
- Price changes: Companies, especially those with CCRCs, will continue to charge residents the same fees even if the level of care they need increases, which can help with accurate budgeting. Usually, there will be a charge for items, like bandages or extra meals, the resident requires.
- Priority admittance: Facilities that are full may offer priority access to current residents of one of the company’s other communities. These features may be especially beneficial to residents who live in communities that are often full and/or have a waiting list.
The location of a facility may be as important to a potential resident as the amenities included. Interested caregivers and future residents should consider what amenities exist near a particular community that makes it more appealing.
- Suburban: Communities located in the suburbs may have large gardens or access to outdoor activities.
- Residential: Facilities in areas with many other residents may offer a greater chance for those living in an assisted living community to make connections with individuals outside the facility. They may also be able to live closer to their family members and loved ones.
- Urban: Facilities, especially those that cater to individuals who only need some assistance with daily tasks, located in urban areas offer residents access more public services, including libraries and parks, and may also give residents the chance to be more mobile if the city has reliable public transportation.
- Medical district: Chronically ill residents or those who need a high level of care may wish to choose a facility located near a hospital or medical district. Being near other medical providers will make getting to the doctor easier and allow emergency service personnel to get them to a hospital more quickly.
Depending on the level of care the resident needs, they may wish to live in a facility or community with higher-trained medical staff readily available.
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs): CNAs provide services such as dispensing medication, documenting patient behavior, cleaning wounds and applying dressings and/or assisting patients with basic daily tasks. CNAs must have their high-school diploma and/or a GED and pass a certification test. Individuals typically complete a training program to prepare them for the certification exam; training programs range from 4-12 weeks.
- Licensed practical Nurses (LPNs): Also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), LPNs can perform all the tasks that a CNA can as well as prepare and give injections, take samples for testing and perform some other basic medical tests and procedures. LPNs must have their high-school diploma and/or a GED, receive a certificate from a training program and pass a certification test. Training programs for LPNs usually last one year, if the student attends full time.
- Registered Nurses (RNs): RNs coordinate patient care, analyze test results, perform more complex medical procedures and oversee CNAs and LPNs. RNs must have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing or have a certificate in nursing from an accredited program. They must also pass a licensure exam.
- Physicians: Physicians hold an MD or DO. They may have a variety of specialties, including geriatric medicine. They can diagnose illnesses and injuries and prescribe medications.
What are different types of care facilities?
Independent living/retirement communities
Independent living, or retirement, communities are designed for those who can live alone and care for themselves but appreciate the security of having an emergency alert system in their home, living near others in their age group, being free from the maintenance required by owning their own home and/or having a fixed monthly budget that won’t be effected by unexpected maintenance costs.
Assisted living communities offer many of the same benefits as retirement communities. However, those in assisted living communities receive additional support to complete some daily tasks, like bathing, dressing themselves and/or cooking. Nurses are available to help with other needs 24 hours a day.
Memory care communities offer care to those suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. They often operate in conjunction with an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. The memory care units are typically a separate area of the building or property.
Skilled nursing facilities/nursing homes
In skilled nursing facilities, the chronically ill of all ages who need a high level of support receive 24-hour a day care. Those who cannot care for themselves can find the help they need in skilled nursing facilities.
Respite care is short-term assisted living for those who suffer an unexpected injury and/or need temporary care after being released from the hospital. Respite care facilities often include some form of physical theory and/or occupational rehabilitation.
Adult day service
Adult day services cater to those who can live with family members or other loved ones but who cannot be safely left alone when their caregivers are at work. These facilities typically have some level of medical support on site, but focus more on offering a safe and active place for visitors during daytime hours only.
Who's it for?
Anyone who has recently retired and wishes to decrease the work they need to do to maintain their own home should consider retirement communities.
The children, grandchildren and other family or friends of seniors should research assisted living communities near the home of their loved one. This type of research will give them a sense of when their loved one should move to this kind of community and how much money will be necessary to support their stay.
Older seniors with more serious health problems will want to be aware of their options should they need more daily assistance in the future.
Chronically and/or seriously ill
Individuals with a debilitating chronic illness or medical condition may wish to investigate the residential choices that could make their lives easier by providing them with extra assistance.
Vi Living owns and operates 10 continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) across the United States. They have CCRCs in Scottsdale, Ariz., Palo Alto, Calif., San Diego, Calif., Highlands Ranch, Colo., Aventura, Fla., Lantana, Fla., Naples, Fla., Glenview, Ill. and Hilton Head Island, S.C. Offerings and amenities vary slightly by locations, so potential residents should look at the website of the specific CCRC they are interested in. The company was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Chicago.
- Resident satisfaction: Vi Living conducts annual surveys to assess their residents’ satisfaction. In recent years, more than 90 percent reported overall satisfaction with the CCRCs.
- Pricing options: Vi Living charges an entrance fee and a monthly charge. Different floor plans have different prices, so interested residents can choose a plan that fits into their budget.
- Single payment: Residents at Vi Living locations pay a single monthly fee that includes their rent, water, electric, cable TV, maintenance and weekly housekeeping.
- Pet friendly: Vi Living welcomes two pets per residence. Pets must be under 30 pounds.
- Continuum of Care: Residents who can no longer live in their own apartment can move in to the CCRCs assisted living facility. Residents’ monthly fees will remain the same even if they need to move to assisted living.
- Best for Vi Living caters to people who want a simple payment system and a wide variety of onsite amenities.
Atria operates several housing options for seniors, including independent living communities, assisted living facilities and memory care facilities across the United States and Canada.
- Best for Atria has a variety of facilities, which enables them to meet the needs of most individuals.
Aegis Living was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Redmond, Wash. The company owns and operates respite care and memory care facilities as well as assisted living communities. They have locations in Washington, Nevada and California. They are working to expand their offerings in Washington.
- Asian communities: Aegis Living has senior communities specifically designed to meet the needs of those with an Asian background. All staff members speak multiple languages and dialects. In addition to American recreational activities, like bingo and ballroom dancing, residents can enjoy Chinese activities, including mahjong, tai-chi and calligraphy.
- Pet friendly: Residents can bring their pets when they move in to an Aegis community. Several types of animals are welcome, and Aegis recognizes the benefits of pets as companions.
- Life’s Neighborhood™: Aegis’ memory care facilities have comprehensive programs to make residents comfortable and decrease their symptoms. The facilities include several features to help residents feel like they’re in familiar surroundings, including features from homes built in the 1940s and 1950s. They also use light and aromatherapy to decrease agitation and lessen cognitive decline.
- Onsite amenities: Aegis residents have access to a variety of onsite amenities, including a computer lab, gym, spa and salon, movie theater, activity room, library and gardens. Amenities may vary by location so interested consumers should inquire about the options available at the community they are interested in.
- Online resources: Interested consumers can access articles and videos that provide general information about a person’s transition to an assisted living community as well as specific details about Aegis’ properties.
- Best for Aegis caters to those with an Asian background and/or those suffering from dementia.
Elmcroft Senior Living’s headquarters are located in Louisville, Ky., and the company has been in business since 2006. They have more than 100 senior care communities, including independent living and assisted living communities as well as memory care facilities. They have properties in almost 20 states.
- Multiple levels of support: Many Elmcroft properties offer multiple types of care, so residents at Elmcroft can move between care facilities when their needs change. This feature minimizes upheaval in residents’ lives.
- Price: Interested consumers can visit Elmcroft’s website to see the average rates for each of their community types. They can learn about assistance in paying for senior care and view Elmcroft’s payment plans.
- Second Wind Dreams®: Elmcroft helps residents achieve their dreams with its Second Wind Dreams® program. The company believes that this program inspires and encourages its residents. They’ve helped residents reunite old family members or friends, return to a favorite location, learn new skills and more.
- Facebook: Interested consumers can visit Elmcroft’s Facebook page to see examples of the events that take place in their facilities. The company is active on the social media site, often featuring residents’ activities and accomplishments.
- Dining information: Aegis provides clear information on their website about the dining options available to their residents. They have special events featuring food from other cultures, theme parties and cooking contests for the chefs that are judged by the residents. Interested consumers can download a sample menu.
- Best for Elmcroft Senior Living is best for those seeking various levels of support at a single facility, including retirees, the elderly and the chronically ill.
Belmont Village Senior Living was founded in 1997 and operates in seven states with 24 total communities, including both independent and assisted living communities as well as memory care facilities. Specific options vary by property, so interested residents and caregivers should inquire about the options at the location they are interested in. The company is headquartered in Houston.
- We Make Aging Better®: Residents at Belmont who need some extra assistance with daily tasks are supported by the company’s We Make Aging Better® program. It has licensed nurses available 24 hours a day and Personal Assistance Liaisons (PALs) who coordinate the residents’ care and perform health assessments.
- Activities: Belmont properties offer a variety of daily activities to engage residents mentally and physically. Activities include computer classes, movie nights, fitness classes, language classes, social events, art classes, mediation and more.
- Housing options: Those who wish to live in one of Belmont’s independent living communities can choose from a studio, one- or two-bedroom apartment depending on their needs. Belmont can help new residents furnish their apartments if necessary.
- Online resources: Interested consumers can access resources for both residents and caregivers on Belmont’s website. Resources include a list of recommended readings, helpful links and answers to frequently asked questions.
- Free transition: Residents who wish or need to move from one community to another or to a facility with a different level of care can do so for free. They will not be charged an additional entrance fee.
- Best for Belmont Village Senior Living has options for retirees, elderly individuals who need extra help and those suffering from dementia.
Sunrise Senior Living operates in over 300 communities throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Residential options include independent living, assisted living, memory care, respite care and skilled nursing facilities. The company was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in McLean, Va.
- Best for Sunrise Senior Living’s facilities serve retirees and seniors with any level of assistive need.
Providence Life Services is a faith-based non-profit company that provides senior living communities in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. The first nursing home associated with the ministry project opened in 1960.
- Options: Interested consumers have several options if they choose Providence Life Services. The company’s properties include assisted living communities, memory care facilities, retirement communities and townhouse living, which is similar to many independent living facilities. They also offer hospice care.
- Chaplain: Residents of Providence Life Service have access to counselors and chaplains to discuss their emotional and spiritual well-being.
- Priority transitions: Individuals who live in one of Providence Life Service’s properties/facilities are given priority when moving to another Providence community. This means that if a resident of a retirement community needs additional assistance, they will be admitted to an assisted living community before someone who is not already a Providence resident.
- Online resources: Providence Life Service’s website has several free downloadable documents to help interested consumers make decisions about medical care facilities. They also have a blog where visitors can read about news and developments related to Providence’s properties.
- Trial period: Individuals who move into memory care facilities can do so with a two- or four-week trial period. This period helps caregivers make sure that their loved one will like the facility and the staff to ensure that the resident’s needs can be met at the facility. If for some reason a new resident isn’t a good fit, the Providence staff can help residents and caregivers find a more suitable option.
- Best for Providence Life Services is best for retirees, seniors and chronically ill individuals, especially those looking for a faith-based retirement community.
American Senior Communities has nearly 100 locations across Indiana and Kentucky. Their facilities include memory care, skilled nursing, respite stays, hospice care, assisted living and independent living communities.
- New Energy Wellness: Both American Senior Communities residents and non-resident seniors can join the company’s gym, New Energy Wellness. The fitness center offers programs and equipment specifically designed for older adults.
- Twilight Wish: American Senior Communities participates in the Indiana’s Twilight Wish Foundation, which helps seniors fulfill their dreams. Applications can be found on American Senior Communities’ website.
- Online resources: Interested consumers can visit American Senior Communities’ website to access resources for seniors and their loved ones. The website includes a blog, podcasts, infographics and informational articles.
- Options: American Senior Communities has a wide variety of facilities, allowing individuals to find an option that meets their level of need and budget. Interested consumers can visit the website of the specific community they’re interested in to see floorplans.
- Facebook: Each American Senior Communities facility has its own Facebook page. These pages are active and feature stories about the residents and activities as well as resources for those considering assisted living communities.
- Best for American Senior Communities has facilities to meet the needs of retirees, seniors and all those in need of full time care either long- or short-term.
Brookdale Senior Living Solutions is a publically traded company that operates more than 1,100 communities in 46 states. The company operates independent and assisted living communities, memory care facilities and skilled nursing facilities.
- Best for Brookdale Senior Living Solutions has communities to accommodate the needs of most potential residents, including seniors, retirees and those needing long-term care.
Erickson Living operates more than 15 CCRCs across the United States. The company’s first community opened in 1983. Their communities offer a full spectrum of living options, from independent living to skilled nursing facilities.
- Erickson Advantage®: Residents at any of Erickson properties have access to Erickson Advantage®, a health insurance plan. They are the only CCRC in the nation that offers its own health care plan.
- Resident council: Every Erickson property has a resident council, made up of current Erickson residents, that works with the community’s leadership employees to make sure the all residents’ voices are heard.
- Onsite physicians: Erickson employs physicians to work on location at their facilities. These doctors only work at the Erickson community, so residents receive personalized care.
- Dining options: Erickson residents can choose from multiple dining choices onsite. These restaurant-style locations offer table service and a variety of menu items.
- Moving assistance: Those moving in to an Erickson community can get help with their move. The company has a moving and realty program that can assist new residents with hiring movers, overseeing packing, pricing their current home and hiring a local real estate agent.
- Best for Erickson Living caters to retirees and seniors who are looking for a community with a variety of amenities and multiple levels of care in a single location.
Genesis HealthCare was founded in 1985 and now has over 500 locations across the United States. It is a publically traded company headquartered in Kennett Square, Pa. They offer skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, memory care and respite care.
- Driving rehabilitation: Those staying at a Genesis HealthCare facility after an injury or surgery as well as non-residents can receive specialized occupational therapy to assess individuals’ ability to safely drive and provide rehab and physical therapy if necessary and appropriate.
- Online resources: Genesis’ website includes a Health Library where interested consumers can learn about medications, disease management, general wellness and other healthcare topics.
- We Honor Veterans: Genesis HealthCare is a member of We Honor Veterans, a program that works to provide veterans with palliative and hospice care that respects and honors their service. The program is the result of collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
- Amenities: Genesis HealthCare facilities offer a variety of amenities and onsite features, including pet therapy, onsite salon/barber shop, gardens and dining options. Amenities vary by location, so interested consumers should visit the webpage of the specific facility they are considering to learn about that location’s offerings.
- Free downloads: Interested consumers can visit Genesis’ website to download brochures about the facilities and service options as well as the company’s newsletter, which includes recipes, health news and resident stories.
- Best for Genesis Healthcare provides a variety of services at facilities across the United States that may be suitable for seniors, those needing respite care and those needing long-term care.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
11 – 12 Best Rated Assisted Living
Erickson Living has provided seniors with housing options for almost 30 years. The company now has locations in 11 states. They have CCRCs, which provide multiple types of care at one location, with a variety of onsite amenities.
|Read Expert Review|
Genesis HealthCare is headquartered in Pennsylvania and has more than 500 facilities in 34 states. They are a publically traded company and offer memory care, respite care, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.
|Read Expert Review|