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CDC Updates Report on Assisted Living Communities and Residents

By on April 25, 2019
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Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its report on assisted living communities to give families, senior care providers and other stakeholders more information about assisted living communities, residents and the care they receive in the United States.CDC Updates Report on Assisted Living Communities and Residents

Read more about the report, which goes into significant detail not only about assisted living communities and residents, but also adult day services, nursing homes and more. Here are some of the pertinent pieces of information from the report relating to assisted living communities and their residents.

Assisted Living Communities and Residents Today

The CDC report gathered demographic data about the 8.3 million seniors currently living in assisted living communities in the U.S.

Of these:

  • 52.1% are residents older than 85
  • 30% are between 75-85
  • 11% are between 65-74
  • 6.6% are under 65 years of age

Most residents (70.6%) are women, while only 29.4% are men. The majority are non-Hispanic white (81.4%) while 4.1% are non-Hispanic black, 3.1% are Hispanic and 11.5% identify themselves as “non-Hispanic other.”

Along with demographic data, the CDC collected information on seniors’ ability level, diagnoses and other health care statistics:

  • 63.3% of seniors in assisted living communities need support with bathing
  • 56% need assistance moving or walking
  • 48.2% need help getting dressed
  • 29.2% need help getting in and out of bed
  • 19.2% need help during meals


Assisted Living Residents and Their Health

The only diagnosis that more than half (51.2%) of assisted living resident share is hypertension. Less than half (42.4%) have arthritis while 41.9% have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Unfortunately, 77% of assisted living communities do not have Alzheimer’s care units to support these residents.

The report also found that:

  • 34.3% of residents have heart disease
  • 30.9% have depression
  • 23.7% have osteoporosis
  • 18.1% have diabetes
  • 14% have chronic obstructiveness pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • 8.3% have kidney disease
  • 6.8% have asthma


One surprising find from the report is that more seniors in assisted living communities suffer falls, at 21.4% than those in adult day care (7.8%) and those in nursing homes (16.1%). That may be partly because those in adult day care are younger than those in assisted living.

The CDC also examined hospital visits. In the last year, 14.2% of seniors in assisted living visited the emergency room and 8.3% stayed in the hospital overnight.

Assisted Living Community Statistics

According to the report, most assisted living communities are for-profit (81%), while:

  • 17.7% are nonprofit
  • 1.3% have government or other ownership models

In contrast, the report found that 50.8% of adult day care services were nonprofit.

Of the for-profit assisted living facilities:

  • 57% are affiliated with an assisted living chain
  • 48% are Medicaid-certified

Surprisingly, only 16.5% of assisted living residents are Medicaid beneficiaries.

You may be surprised to learn that most assisted living communities are relatively small:

  • 65% serve 25 residents or less
  • 30.7% house between 26 and 100 residents
  • 4.3% have more than 101 residents


The data showed that across the country, rural populations may be under-served. The West has the most assisted living communities for seniors, at 40.8% of the total share while the Midwest has 22.6% and the Northeast has 8.6%. Regardless of region, 82.5% of communities are in a metropolitan area.

A Look Inside Assisted Living Communities

Many health services are available to seniors within assisted living communities:

  • 83.6% offer pharmacy services
  • 71.4% offer dietary/nutrition services
  • 67.7% offer hospice services
  • 66.1% offer nursing services
  • 55% offer counseling or mental health services
  • 51.1% offer social work services


The CDC also examined how much time each type of staff member spends with each resident per day and found that on average, each resident in an assisted living community receives 12 minutes of a registered nurse’s time per day. They receive a further 10.2 minutes from licensed practical or vocational nurses, two hours and 16 minutes from aides, two minutes from social workers and 18.6 minutes from activities directors or activities staff.

As one might expect from these numbers, the most common staff member in an assisted living community is an aide (they account for 83.3% of all staff). Almost 10% of staff (9.9%) are licensed practical or vocational nurses, 6.1% are registered nurses and 0.8% are social workers.

You can see the full report for yourself here.

Was any part of the CDC’s assisted living community and residents report surprising to you? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Kimberley Fowler is a writer and editor dedicated to improving seniors' lives through education, activism, volunteerism and community programs. Her other passions include yoga, literature, history, education and conservation. She is active in her local community and currently volunteers with the Hamilton Naturalists' Club. Kimberley earned a Master of Arts in English Literature and Language from the University of Windsor, an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.