Often, assisted living is the most effective long-term care option for seniors who can no longer live alone safely or comfortably, but who do not yet require the more intensive medical care and attention that is often provided in a full-service nursing home. According to the ALFA, those living in assisted living homes usually require help with three or more daily activities.

However, while seniors living in assisted living communities do demand a certain amount of day-to-day attention and assistance, the goal of assisted living programs is to give seniors as much independence and freedom of choice as is possible, reasonable, and realistic. According to the United States Department of Heath and Human Services, most of the residents of assisted living communities are facilities "have their own units or apartment." A support staff employed by the assisted living facility then monitors and checks up on residents, providing assistance with everything from bathing to shaving to laundry to transportation, as needed. Other services-such as physical therapy, hospice care, and emergency medical assistance-are also available as part of assisted living care.