Discussing The Benefits of Smaller Assisted Living Homes

We receive dozens of questions every day about the different facilities on our site, and although we don’t manage or own them, people often write us asking how big a particular facility is.  Size of facility seems to be a very important factor when people are considering assisted living for their loved ones, or themselves.

We recently sat down with the owner of a smaller, more homelike assisted living facility, and we asked him about his perception about what smaller facilities may have to offer…or the benefits that one may receive by choosing a smaller, more residential assisted living home over a larger, more coroporate-feeling facility.

The size of a facility may be perceived in different ways. Size may be in relation to the physical building, property, and grounds.  Or, size may be of importance to someone with regards to how many facilities are within a certain corporation’s portfolio.  Or, size may be of importance to someone simply in terms of the number of beds the facility is licensed to have.

Of course, many people have a preconceived notion about larger facilities, in that they may be more institutional feeling, or hospital-like, with multiple beds in each room, and a rotating staff that may not care for the same resident on a consistent basis.

We’ve seen a definite shift in this perception recently, since many of the larger facilities and national assisted living companies are making a strong effort to create living environments that are more intimate-feeling, and even resort-like for their residents, no matter how many of them they may care for under one roof.

However, there is still a demand for smaller, home-like facilities that care for only a handful of residents.  There also seems to be an explosive growth of smaller facilities, and the number of people interested in learning how to open their own assisted living home.  This is obviously due to our country seeing the highest number of seniors and retirees in it’s history, as well as the stagnant job market.   The assisted living industry is, and looks to be a growth industry for the foreseeable future.

Smaller facilities may indeed offer a more intimate experience for residents, and may have more flexibility in terms of being creative with menus, care, and decorative details of the facility.   However, larger facilities may be better funded, and may be offer more in-depth levels of care than a smaller facility may be able to.

In the end, it is a highly personal choice, based on the wants, needs, and health of the potential resident.   The best advice we can give is to take your time, if possible, to research all facility options thoroughly, and to visit and tour as many of them as possible before making the final decision.

24 thoughts on “Discussing The Benefits of Smaller Assisted Living Homes

  1. Marilyn L Hamilton

    I want to ask a few questions about building an adult living facility. I want my facility built in Baltimore Maryland, Annals Maryland, Frederick Md. If I work at each location sometimes and hire staff to work to serve the residents is that fine or must I always be there.

  2. Maxine

    I would like to know what is considered as a Small Assised Living Home, pretaining to the number of persons to occupy the home.

  3. admin Post author

    Hi Maxine,
    I think that definition is different state-to-state. I seem to remember one state saying that under 6 residents is considered a ‘small’ home, and another state saying under 10. But, I also think ‘large’ and ‘small’ can be a matter of perception too – what may be large to one person may be relatively small to another.
    Generally though, I think under 10 residents is where you get into smaller, residential homes.

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  5. Beatrix Lewis

    I think this is perfect for people who want a little bit more privacy and the people behind small assisted living facilities can focus more with their residents and build a much stronger relationship with them. I’m starting to like this idea, moving to a small facility, enjoying a peaceful environment and getting to know each and everyone in the small community.

  6. admin Post author

    Thank you for your feedback Beatrix. I am finding that smaller, residential homes are gaining popularity and ‘steam.’ Seems like the common theme is that the owners really get to know their residents well.

  7. Kathy Youngblood

    I have a 4 bedroom 3 bath house and I want to have an assisted living home in my home. I am a certified medical assistant and I love helping others. I just need to find out who to contact.

  8. Mary White

    I would like information on how to go about opening an ALF in Houston, TX. I have a house ready but would like to know where to start . Thanks

  9. mark

    Hello i just purchased a duplex 3800 sf house that was used as a assistant living facility a few years back in Miami. 8 bedroom 4 bath. The house or facility has the indoor sprinkler for fire, the outside bell, all handicap friendly. I just want to ask if it was worth bringing it up to code and renting the facility to a licensed person. What benefits do I get? Do i sell the rights to use property? I am new to this. I do want add ad 3 bedrooms are on the second floor of the second duplex, has stair case. Is that permitted?

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  11. Lillian Moore

    I have been seriously contemplating putting my mother in an assisted living home for a while now. I have had many worries about putting her in a home, one of these worries being that there will be too many residents and she won’t receive the amount of care she needs. I think that having smaller facilities along with more nurses and doctors would be a benefit to my mother and the other residents of these homes.

  12. David Post author

    Hi Lillian, it really all depends…look at the ratio of nurses to staff. Some smaller homes struggle with staffing, and some larger facilities are very well staffed. I’ve been to smaller homes where I have felt the care was lacking, and some smaller homes do great. I think it is really on a per-facility basis, that will take some research on your part. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this.

  13. Nash Rich

    I’m a young guy, but if I were old and have to move to an assisted living like place, I would want it to be as homey as possible. I can see how smaller facilities would be a good thing. There are less people to deal with, thus more resources. I also think with the older population growing, it’s probably easier to have smaller, but more places.

  14. David Post author

    Some cities have hundreds of smaller assisted living homes…like Phoenix. I think some cities make it easier in terms of zoning etc. to have a smaller home. Also, the cost of a structure, or home in places like Phx. is much less than in other parts of the country which might make it more affordable to have an assisted living business.

  15. Luke Smith

    My friend’s grandparents are getting to the age that then need to live in an assisted living center. They like the ideas of a smaller place that can be taken care of easier and the helpers can give more time to each patient. That sounds great since some patients need more care.

  16. Scott

    Thanks for this interesting article. I like that you point out that smaller facilities may offer a more intimate experience for the residents. I can understand why this would be nice for older people who are used to having family around and somebody with them all the time. My grandma is getting older and may be moving to a senior center. We will definitely have to keep these in mind when determining where she will like the best.

  17. Derek Mcdoogle

    In your article, you talked about how smaller facilities may indeed offer a more intimate experience for residents and may have more flexibility in terms of being creative with menus, care, and decorative details of the facility. My mom celebrated her 75th birthday yesterday and has been having a lot of problems taking care of herself lately. Do most assisted living facilities have different levels of care that they offer? Finding a reputable assisted living facility might be her best option.

  18. David Post author

    On the flip side, larger communities often offer more services, and can often handle more complex residents, and are more able to allow for aging in place, so there are trade offs!

  19. Trayson Evans

    This article does a really good job weighing the benefits in different sizes of facilities. I am intrigued by the statement that a smaller living center might have more creative menus. My grandparents have loved travelling the world. The article makes me hopeful that smells and tastes of food will bring back memories for them.

  20. David Post author

    I’ve seen it first hand at the smaller facilities where the residents have a lot of say as to what is on the menu, and often times are invited to help with the preparation. I think at larger facilities, it’s more difficult to veer to far off the ‘main course.’

  21. Brynne Jones

    I like how you suggested considering the size of a facility when choosing a home. It makes sense why the size of the facility could be important to a resident. My grandmother is currently living alone. It could be beneficial to look into living in a assisted living facility.