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How Many Seniors Live in Assisted Living? Why Facility Size Matters

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How Many Seniors Live in Assisted Living Facilities and What Should You Consider About the Size of a Facility

Moving into assisted living may already feel like an intimidating process for many seniors. Some things to take into consideration may include:

  • How many other residents will be there? 

  • How easy will it be to meet people? 

  • Will it be hard to get around a large facility?

You have questions, and we’re here to provide answers. In this post, we share the ins and outs of assisted living facilities and what you should consider before your big move.

Table of Contents

What Percentage of Seniors Live in Assisted Living?

About 1.5 million seniors are currently living in nursing homes, and another 1 million live in assisted living facilities, and that number is only expected to grow.

And, mostly thanks to the boomer generation, seniors are expected to take up about 20% of the overall population in the U.S. Based on that projection, even more seniors will be entering assisted living facilities in the very near future.

Not only will more facilities be needed, but more care into the type and size of facility offered will need to be taken into consideration.

What Is the Average Number of Seniors Per Assisted Living Facility?

This brings us to the question as to whether or not there are enough beds to satisfy the future needs of senior citizens requiring assisted living.

As of today, the number of assisted living facilities in the U.S. is approximately 28,900. And of those, the available number of beds is just shy of 1 million. 

On a per community basis, the number of residents is as follows:

  • 46% live in a small facility (4-10 beds)

  • 15% live in a medium facility (11-25 beds)

  • 32% live in a large facility (26-100 beds)

  • 8% live in an extra-large facility (100+ beds)

Which begs the next question. When looking at assisted living facilities for you or your loved one, what’s better? 

At Senior Services of America, some of the questions we get from families and seniors include…

  • Are smaller facilities better in terms of care provided?

  • Will I be just another number in a large facility?

  • How easy is it to socialize in a large community?

  • Are smaller communities more expensive?

…just to name a few. The size of the facility in relation to care and quality of life is a serious concern among seniors and their families. 

Below, we discuss the pros and cons of each option, so that you can make the best decision for yourself or your family.

With the Number of Seniors Living in Assisted Living Facilities, Which Is Better – A Small Community or a Large One? 

Choosing a facility will truly come down to the personal preference and needs of the resident. 

We’ll outline some of the advantages of small to larger communities and you can let your heart guide you in choosing the assisted living community that’s right for you.

Senior Services of America offers a variety of assisted living options dedicated to providing a home-like environment for our seniors. We understand that our residents value their independence. Our commitment is to provide supportive services where needed while enriching the lives of our residents through a positive and rewarding lifestyle.

For more information, or to tour one of our communities, find your nearest community.

Find a nearby community

5 Benefits of a Small to Medium Assisted Living Facility 

Small to medium assisted living facilities range from about 4-25 beds and make up about 60% of the communities available. 

These communities offer many benefits to their residents; we list them below.

#1: Home-Like Settings

One of the key elements of assisted living is independence. In a smaller, home-like setting, residents may feel a greater sense of belonging and purpose, just like they would at home.

Additionally, residents are usually free to set their own schedules for the day. For example: 

  • Wake-up times are not predetermined by the facility

  • Residents are treated to home-style cooking, rather than a restricted, institutional menu

#2: Easier to Foster Connections With Other Community Members

Smaller facilities often offer residents a cozy living area where they can meet and get to know each other. This creates a more familial feel as opposed to large gathering areas where hundreds of residents are eating or participating in activities.

You or your loved one will never feel like another face in the crowd and can easily locate familiar staff members when the need arises.

In addition to fostering relationships with other residents, smaller assisted living facilities have less staff, overall, making the care as familiar as having a nurse at home.

#3: Easier to Navigate

Smaller facilities are often one level and have very few corridors where one could get disoriented. 

Residents easily learn the lay of the land much quicker than in a larger facility with many rooms, stairwells, and corners to turn.

This can be especially helpful for residents who experience any amount of short-term memory loss. It may also reduce the risk of falls as residents quickly become familiar with their surroundings.

#4: Increased Privacy and Personalized Care

In a smaller facility, it may be easier for residents to have specialized needs met, for example:

  • Dietary restrictions or doctor-mandated diet

  • Lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism

  • Cultural or religious identities are recognized and respected

  • Etc.

And residents often have more privacy, with apartment-like rooms that include private kitchens and living areas.

#5: Feelings of Increased Safety

Whether mobility is limited and getting out of bed has become an issue, or the fear of falling with no one there to help is a real possibility, many seniors start to worry about their daily safety.

In a smaller assisted living facility, you or your loved one won’t go unnoticed. You can feel secure in knowing that someone will always be there to check in on you.

Senior women laughing and playing cards

3 Benefits of a Large Assisted Living Facility

Perhaps the assisted living facilities in your area are larger and house more residents. Or maybe you like the idea of a larger community for you or your loved one. 

Whatever the reason, larger facilities also have their share of benefits for residents.

#1: More Care Options for Increased Needs

Oftentimes, larger assisted living communities offer a variety of specialized care doctors, nurses, and support workers, ranging from:

  • Memory care doctors

  • Mental health professionals

  • Recreation and leisure directors and staff

  • And more

With more specialized staff on hand to assist with the daily living needs of residents, larger facilities may offer the type of care you want for you or your loved one.

#2: Increased Amenities

Large assisted living facilities often have a very well-structured and robust entertainment and activities schedule, which may include:

  • Outings to plays, concerts, festivals, etc.

  • Religious events or services

  • Guest speakers and educational opportunities

  • Game nights or organized card games

  • General interest clubs

  • Movies and other entertainment options; and

  • Classes, such as yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, pickleball, etc.

Additionally, larger facilities may be equipped with fitness centers, movie theaters, and much more.

#3: Wider Variety of Apartment/Room Availability

Room type may not seem like a big deal, but the variety of options available in larger facilities can usually accommodate most budgets and lifestyles.

For example, if your loved one prefers to cook once in a while, or likes to entertain guests, apartment-style accommodations may be available. 

This can range from a studio-style apartment to a larger one-bedroom apartment with all the amenities of home.

Seniors at dining table

How to Determine the Best Size Assisted Living Facility for You or Your Loved One

Our best advice is to think carefully about what you or your loved one would want from a community. 

For example:

  • Do you need any specialized care, such as memory care?

  • Are you active and looking for a full activities roster?

  • Do you plan to spend your days socializing, or do you spend most of your time alone?

  • Are you comfortable with a set daily menu, or do you prefer a more customized approach?

  • What type of accommodation appeals to you the most?

  • Will you take advantage of group outings and trips?

  • Do you need transportation to and from appointments and shopping?

Just as every assisted living community is unique, so are the residents. When choosing the right assisted living facility for you, make a list of questions. Only you know what’s important to you, start by looking for the communities that check as many of your boxes as possible. 

Next, you’ll want to arrange tours of the facilities you’re most interested in. Pay attention to how you feel when walking around and ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Do you like the facilities? 

  • Do the residents seem happy? 

  • Are the staff friendly?

  • Does it seem clean and safe?

Moving into an assisted living community is a big step. Take your time with the decision and you’re more likely to be happy with the outcome.

Senior Services of America: Providing Resident-Centered Care in Every Community

At Senior Services of America, our goal is to provide supportive communities offering assistance where it’s needed, whether it’s…

  • Hygiene care

  • Personal wellness

  • Housekeeping

  • Dietary concerns and restrictions 

  • Medication management

  • Transportation and escorts 

  • Beauty and barber services

  • Incontinence care

  • And more

…our staff will be there. 

Our Wellness Directors design a care and service plan that is tailored to the individual needs of each of our residents. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We want our seniors, and their families, to find a rewarding lifestyle at our assisted living facilities and encourage family and friend involvement. From movie nights to themed dinners and more, we understand that feeling at home is of the utmost importance. 

Our facilities include...

  • Gracious accommodations

  • The latest technologies

  • Entertainment areas

  • Exercise and wellness programs

  • Life enrichment activities and outings

  • Craft and card rooms

  • And more

…so that our seniors have ample opportunity to participate, interact, and support each other. 

For more information, find your nearest community today.

Find a nearby community

 

Senior Services of America

800-689-0493

1201 Pacific Avenue Suite 450 Tacoma, WA 98402 US