Nursing homes are licensed health care facilities. They provide rehabilitative services as well as long term care for residents. These facilities can bill in various ways – privately (paid by the resident or the resident’s caregivers), through private health insurance, long-term care insurance companies, or through Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Assisted living communities are a new concept of elder housing which have become more common over the past 20 years. They enable older adults to live in a home-style setting with additional support systems provided. Assisted living communities are residential communities generally licensed by an Elder Affairs agency. In Massachusetts they are licensed by the Department of Elder Affairs. This licensing allows room, board, and personal services to be provided to residents.
Assisted living communities enable older adults to maintain a sense of independence; residents live in their own apartment or suite within a residential community with access to a variety of other amenities the community offers. Meals, housekeeping services including laundry and access to social activities are included. As residents within an assisted living environment may need a little help with daily routines, personal care services are available. Skilled nursing care may be available as needed, but generally residents of assisted living facilities can move about and eat independently.