Better Than a Nursing Home?
Time (08/13/01) Vol. 158, No. 6 p.48; Goldstein, Andrew

Assisted-living facilities were supposed to be a viable alternative to nursing homes for elderly persons who needed in-house care but also wanted to live independently. But families of former residents say the service is riddled with problems. Findings from a soon-to-be released report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that 32 percent of assisted-living residents had been hospitalized in the previous year, a rate comparable to nursing-home facilities. The HHS report also claims that most assisted-living staff are poorly trained and generally uninformed about the aging process. Critics charge that assisted-living sites pull the wool over the public's eyes by appealing to their aesthetic sensibilities and playing up features such as wall-to-wall carpeting and ice-cream parlors, and say they have been able to get away with it because assisted-living facilities are cheaper to operate than nursing homes.

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