Assisted living in the United States has a relatively short history, dating back to the 1980s. Prior to this, elderly individuals who could no longer live independently either lived with family members or in nursing homes. However, a growing number of older adults wanted an alternative that provided more independence and privacy.
The first assisted living facility in the US was opened in 1981 in Oregon. The founders, Paul and Terry Klaassen, wanted to create a living situation that provided assistance with daily activities but allowed residents to maintain their independence and dignity. They named their facility “The Residence” and it quickly gained popularity, with many other similar facilities opening in the following years.
The concept of assisted living quickly spread across the country, with states developing their own regulations and standards for facilities. In 1985, the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) was established to provide a national voice for the industry and to promote quality care for residents.
Assisted living facilities continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of older adults. Today, many facilities offer a range of services, from basic assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) to more advanced medical care. Some facilities also offer specialized care for individuals with dementia or other cognitive impairments.
As the US population continues to age, the demand for assisted living is expected to grow. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be over 8 million older adults living in assisted living facilities in the US.
Overall, the history of assisted living in the US is one of innovation and growth, with a focus on providing quality care and support for older adults who want to maintain their independence and dignity.