As lifespans have increased, the idea of "aging in place" has gained popularity. Defined as "…remaining living in the community, with some level of independence, rather than in residential care.", this typically means living in one's private residence for as long as possible. These days, a combination of family help, home health aides, and adaptions to living quarters have allowed older adults to stay in their homes longer.
For many, however, health or other problems crop up and lead to a senior living arrangement outside the home. Very often, this is assisted living.
Assisted living emerged as a concept in the early 1980s in response to the hospital-like, institutional nature of nursing homes. At the outset, assisted living focused on providing mostly non-medical support for older adults in a more home-like setting structured to preserve their independence, dignity, privacy, and choice.
Within a few years, it became apparent there was an issue for residents whose health declined beyond the facility's ability to support them. While it was clear that their increased needs weren't being met, residents were reluctant to move for two reasons. First, the move from their original home was a difficult, significant life change. Second, the move from assisted living often was to a nursing home; the very place most hoped to avoid by moving to assisted living. Residents desired an opportunity to age in place in an assisted living setting.