If your loved one could benefit from assistance with daily tasks or if they are just too overwhelmed with trying to keep up with household chores, senior living can offer the perfect solution. However, it can be overwhelming to begin your search for a community that offers just the right amount of assistance at a budget-friendly price. Fortunately, the more you know about what senior living means in Pennsylvania, the better you will be able to narrow down your choices and begin touring communities to make a confident decision.

How is assisted living in PA defined?

Pennsylvania is unique when it comes to senior living. There are many types of communities throughout the state, each offering a variety of services:

  • Independent living communities are ideal for active seniors who are looking to downsize their household responsibilities and engage with neighbors during social, educational, and spiritual opportunities. These bustling communities feature amenities including weekly housekeeping services, transportation services, and more.
  • Personal care communities offer the same amenities as independent living while providing additional assistance with activities of daily living. Caregivers are available around the clock and are there to provide a helping hand throughout the day, night, and in case of emergencies.
  • Assisted living communities operate under a different license than personal care communities, though the services provided at both options are similar. Assisted living communities do offer some services that are more skilled in nature.
  • Memory care communities are specially designed to meet the challenges that come with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Caregivers are specially trained to manage common challenges that come with cognitive decline, and all interventions are customized to meet the individual’s preferences and history.
  • Skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, offer around-the-clock skilled nursing care for those who are managing complex medical conditions.

The terms “personal care” and “assisted living” were used interchangeably in the state of Pennsylvania until 2011. It was at that time that the state altered its licensing in order to better distinguish between the two. There is currently a license for personal care communities and a license for assisted living communities. However, most people throughout Pennsylvania continue to use the two terms as if they mean the same thing.

You can better understand assisted living’s definition by looking at the three Cs: concept, construction, and care. Assisted living communities in Pennsylvania are focused on permitting residents to age in place as long as possible and providing some skilled care services as needed. Assisted living rooms must feature a private room with a door that locks as well as a kitchenette and private bathroom.

What’s the difference between assisted living and personal care in Pennsylvania?

When it comes down to it, personal care communities and assisted living communities are quite similar. For example, while the assisted living Pennsylvania licensing regulations require that apartments feature a private bathroom, kitchenette, and lockable door, most personal care communities offer those features as well.

Caregivers in both types of communities are available around the clock and assist with activities of daily living, which include such tasks as showering, bathing, eating, mobility, toileting, and transferring. Residents in both types of communities enjoy three meals per day in a social dining room setting and get assistance with medication administration.

Exceptional personal care communities offer outstanding care provided by trained caregivers and overseen by nursing supervisors, just like assisted living communities. The biggest difference is that assisted living communities are responsible for offering more skilled nursing services on-site for residents as they age in place.

What assisted living communities are in PA?

Personal care and assisted living communities abound in the state of Pennsylvania. However, it is important to note that not all communities are exactly the same. Although each community must meet state regulations in order to maintain its licensure, communities vary greatly when it comes to amenities and service.

For example, personal care communities offer more than just a spacious private apartment or three meals per day. These communities focus on providing an active calendar of events, trips, and programs designed to enhance wellness for residents and family members. Exceptional communities offer chef-prepared meals in a vibrant dining room as well as themed meals and live cooking demonstrations. These communities also ensure everyone has a meaningful dining experience, no matter their abilities or challenges. Finally, these communities prioritize the relationships that develop between team members and residents.

What activities are offered for senior assisted living in PA?

Excellent senior living communities feature outstanding amenities and services, including a dedicated team that creates events, programs, and trips that give residents the opportunity to socialize and try something new. When researching communities and narrowing down your final choices, be sure you are looking at the social and wellness activities that happen on-site and off.

Search for communities that offer events such as live concerts from favorite local entertainers, educational lectures about health topics, and even support groups for residents to attend. Communities also offer trips out into the greater community throughout the month, whether to try out a new restaurant hot spot, to purchase a few items at the farmers market, or to catch a sporting event or visit a museum.

Finally, communities are sure to get residents’ family members involved in community life. Look for regular special family events, family educational lectures, and family support groups as you begin your touring process.

How do assisted living facilities in Pennsylvania stand out from the rest?

Pennsylvania is unique because not all states differentiate between personal care and assisted living. The state is home to some truly great personal care communities that offer the right amount of assistance without decreasing independence or quality of life.

Personal care communities may also offer designed dementia care services as well. These specialized communities are designed for seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Caregivers are specially trained on dementia best practices for care, and activities follow the natural rhythms of the day in order to foster feelings of peace and comfort. If your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, these communities are an excellent senior living choice.

Trying to navigate your personal care and assisted living options throughout Pennsylvania can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you can empower yourself with a few tips and tricks from our experts by downloading our free guide, Finding a Safe and Comfortable Senior Living Community. The guide is packed with information, ranging from choosing what type of community could be best for your current and future situation to what to look for and what to ask during your community tour.

Safe & Comfortable Guide

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Find a Community