A resident man in a wheelchair is level with a kneeling Culpepper Place employee as they speak.

What Are the Qualifications for Assisted Living Communities?


If you’re looking at senior living options, the good news is that there are lots of choices to fit your particular needs and lifestyle.

The challenge is sorting through all of those options. Is assisted living the right choice for you? Or would a nursing home be more appropriate?

Research conducted for A Place for Mom has found that most people use the term “nursing home” when referring to all types of senior living.

This confusion over terminology leads many people to choose the wrong place to live. As a result, some seniors end up spending money on care they don’t actually need, while others receive inadequate care which endangers their health.

One way to simplify your decision is to research the qualifications for assisted living communities, along with similar criteria for nursing homes — and then determine which senior living option is best for you. 

Who Qualifies for Assisted Living?

Individuals who qualify for assisted living are typically seniors who need some level of help with daily activities but do not require the intensive medical care provided in a nursing home. This can include assistance with bathing, dressing, medication management, and mobility, as well as meal preparation and housekeeping. To qualify, a person usually undergoes an assessment by the facility to determine their specific needs and whether the facility can adequately meet them. Ideal candidates for assisted living are those looking for a balance between independence and access to assistance when needed, aiming to maintain their quality of life in a supportive community setting.

What Are the Qualifications for Assisted Living Admission?

In general, assisted living is appropriate for individuals with the following characteristics:

  • Need help with daily tasks. Assisted living facilities provide services that are considered non-medical and include activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, eating, bathing and using the restroom. Residents may also receive assistance with household chores and meal preparation.
  • Mobile. Assisted living residents are generally able to walk, or have the ability to use a cane, walker or wheelchair independently.
  • Able to live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment without a need for round-the-clock care.
  • Stable health. Assisted living residents should have no need for ongoing medical attention. If the resident has a chronic condition such as arthritis or diabetes, he or she is able to manage self-care independently.

Should You Choose Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

On the other hand, a nursing home would be appropriate for those with more extensive care needs.

  • Require fully-staffed nursing care on a daily basis. Some individuals will need ongoing skilled nursing care, while others may stay in a nursing home temporarily while recovering from an accident or surgery.
  • Require 24-hour assistance. Assisted living is not an appropriate senior living option for people who require round-the-clock medical care. Most assisted living communities are not equipped to assist patients with feeding tubes, tracheostomies, insulin injections and similar medical services.
  • Bedridden. As noted above, assisted living residents should be independently ambulatory. While some assisted living facilities offer help with transferring between bed and wheelchair, most do not.
  • Memory care. Patients with dementia, especially those with chewing or swallowing difficulties, or who have developed behavioral issues would receive higher quality care in a nursing home than an assisted living facility. 

Do you have questions about the qualifications for assisted living or assisted living eligibility?

Contact us at Culpepper Place of Olive Branch. We’ll provide information on the services we provide, our admissions process, and help you select the best senior living option for you or a loved one.

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Are you looking for a caring, compassionate, assisted living facility? You’re looking in the right place. Since 1955, Culpepper Place has cultivated an environment that prioritizes our resident’s health, happiness, and socialization. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.