Assisted Living Requirements & Eligibility for Care

When planning for your or a loved one’s future care, it is important to consider where you want to receive care as your ability to care for yourself or your loved one declines. Planning ahead will help identify what living situations and long-term care services for older adults will need to create an optimal care plan.

Seniors may not have any family members nearby to help with the much-needed care at old age. But assisted living and other types of care, such as a nursing home or home-based care, make it possible to age with fewer hassles. This article looks into assisted living requirements and eligibility for care in detail.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is long-term care for seniors looking for independent living in old age in an environment that can provide supportive services as senior care requirements increase. The facility provides care services for residents including assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and minimal medical care – such as medication management. Some assisted living facilities provide an enhanced level of care that individuals can graduate into such as a memory care facility or wing to support dementia care and memory loss conditions.

Read More: What is Assisted Living?

While different assisted living long-term care facilities provide varying services, their goal for seniors is the same—to keep the residents healthy, safe, comfortable, and independent. 

Some of the services and benefits that seniors receive in an assisted living community include:

  • Support for medication administration
  • Social activities and community services
  • A secure and safe environment
  • Personal care assistance (24 hours a day assistance with activities of daily living, supervision, and support)
  • Transportation services
  • Health, exercise, and overall wellness facilities or programs
  • Housekeeping and laundry services

Related: How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

Assisted Living Requirements

There are functional eligibility requirements that seniors typically need to meet in order to be accepted into an assisted living facility as a resident. If they need a higher level of care than an assisted living facility can provide, a nursing home or senior in-home care may be better options. 

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Consider your senior’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks such as eating, dressing, bathing, mobility, or toileting to help determine how much help they will require. 

While the goal of assisted living communities is to help with ADLs and provide 24-hour care, it is worth noting that some assisted living or senior living communities require residents to initially be independent and graduate into assistance from caregivers. 

Medical Care Required

An assessment of you or your parent’s medical history, hearing and vision issues, current health problems, and any other medical condition is vital in determining the kind of medical care you or your loved one needs.

As extensive medical care is not a requirement to be licensed as an assisted living facility in most states, the medical services available at an assisted living facility will vary significantly. Some assisted living facilities will be able to grant admission to seniors who need significant medical care while others will not. 

Understanding the level of medical care currently required and anticipated in the future will help in choosing the right place for you or your loved one. In some instances, a nursing home will be a better option than an assisted living residence due to the higher level of medical care and nursing services typically provided.

Related: How to Pay For Assisted Living

Cognitive Functions

Cognitive function needs, particularly around dementia, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s, can help determine whether a senior can be accepted into a particular  assisted living facility. If significant cognitive or memory care is needed, the facility will need to have a dedicated memory care unit within the facility. This unit is typically secure, has more staff members and regulations, and is able to provide a safe and comforting environment for an individual with memory care needs.

Related: Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

Assessment and Admission

Before admission, applicants must undergo an assessment. This is a thorough evaluation of a senior’s physical and cognitive health. Through this assessment, an assisted living community can determine the level of care required and ensure that they will be able to provide adequate care for the individual. 

Related: How to Talk to Your Parents About Assisted Living


There is not much difference between requirements for admission into assisted living communities and hospitals, nursing homes, and any other residential-care facility. 

Typically, the admission process will vary depending on the state and facility but may involve the following: 

  • Having facility admission paperwork, forms, waivers, etc filled out
  • The facility may require a medical history, information, and physical assessment
  • A recent negative Tuberculosis (TB) test or chest X-ray 

Assessment & Care Plan

Admission to an assisted living center is not possible without assessment. The facility’s physician’s evaluation examines a resident’s behaviors, mental cognition, medical needs, personal care and hygiene, and special support services.

The assessment helps determine the level of care needed, depending on their requirements. The facility incorporates this in your senior’s care plan, which shows the service they’ll be receiving in the facility.

A care plan explains in detail who administers the services, when, and how. If a resident feels they need something extra to make them more comfortable and take care of their preferences, a chance to update them every six months is available.

Related: Questions to Ask an Assisted Living Facility


Here are some frequently asked questions about assisted living requirements:

What are the different levels of assisted living?

Depending on you or your loved one’s needs, you can receive various levels of care. These include lower levels for people in need of minimal help with high independence, higher levels for those requiring more hands-on support from caregivers, and memory care for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

What is an assessment for assisted living?

An assessment for assisted living refers to the standard and thorough evaluation of one’s behavior, hygiene, medical condition, mental health, and personal care needs that help gauge their physical health and cognitive function.

What age qualifies for assisted living?

While no maximum age limit exists for assisted living, residents must be above 18 years of age to enroll in an assisted living facility. Similarly, there’s no right or wrong age; the signs that you or your loved one requires the kind of care provided in these centers should necessitate this hard but much-needed move.

Related: Independent Living vs Assisted Living


Scroll to Top