How Assisted Living Started in the US

November 29th, 2018 by John Wilson

Assisted senior living isn’t something everyone has heard about. In fact, there are many people who assume once an individual can no longer safely live on their own, a nursing home or living with a family member is the only option. However, there are many assisted living communities in OKC and throughout the country that provide a better alternative for many seniors. This raises the question of how assisted living came to the United States.

What Is Assisted Living?

To start, it’s important to understand what assisted living is and why it’s different from the nursing home experience most people are familiar with. In general, assisted living is designed for seniors who can still live relatively independently so they can continue living the kind of life they want with access to the assistance they need when they need it. This creates a unique experience where seniors are among others who share their interests without putting their health and well-being at risk.

There are several types of assisted living facilities for families to choose from. Independent living is one of the most common. Others specialize in dementia and memory care services or continuing care.

The US is seeing growth in assisted living care.

Assisted living care is growing in the US.

The Birth of Assisted Living

In the 1970s, the state of nursing homes was in disarray. Many seniors needed minimal care but had to face either trying to age in place without putting their wellbeing at risk, find a family member to live with or enter a nursing home that was sterile and often not the experience they were looking for or needed. Some people were looking for a much better option that allowed seniors their independence, while still providing the level of care they require. Dr. Brown Wilson decided to travel the country, asking seniors what they would like in this type of facility. The result was the first assisted senior living home opening its doors in Portland, OR, in 1981. This was just the start for this lucrative industry that has seen increasing popularity over the years.

Rapid Growth

Over the last 30 years since that first facility opened, the industry has seen rapid growth with more than 33,000 facilities opening throughout the country. These centers provide living arrangements and care for more than a million residents as of 2011. One of the biggest differences between nursing homes and assisted living communities in OKC and throughout the country is the fact nursing homes are often publicly funded, while assisted living centers are most often privately funded. This can make it difficult for individuals to find a way to pay for them, but in the long run, the advantages have led to more seniors seeking this type of living arrangement in their later years.

If you’re looking for assisted living care in OKC, contact us. Our facility provides all of the amenities and services seniors need to live a more productive lifestyle without concern for their safety.

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