Assisted living residences differ in their size, the “levels” of care they provide, and whether or not private rooms are available; these are important to consider when thinking about personal preferences and current or future needs.  

Some assisted living residences serve as few as four people, and others serve hundreds of people.  While even larger settings may have a “homelike” feel, if you want something that feels like a “home”, it may be easier to find in a smaller residence.  

Assisted living also differs in the “levels” of care provided.  You may want a residence dedicated to the care of people with dementia, which tends to include people with more severe impairment in cognition (thinking).  If so, it may be important that the building is locked so that people don’t accidently wander outdoors.  The staff who work in dedicated areas may be more sensitive to the needs of people with dementia.  

Or, you might be thinking about future medical needs, and may want nursing home care to be available.  A “continuing care retirement community” has one or more of these additional levels of care.  However, some continuing care retirement communities do not allow people to move into the assisted living section of their community if they did not live there earlier.

Some people prefer private rooms, but costs tend to be higher for private than for shared rooms.  Also, even private rooms may share a toilet, shower, or bathtub, and so privacy in these areas should be considered.  One benefit of private rooms and bathrooms is that there is less risk of spreading infection.