Assisted Living Residence, Enriched Housing, Adult Home: What’s the Difference?

Posted by: Maryellen McKeon, Senior Vice President of Operations

Dear Maryellen,

My siblings and I have been visiting assisted living communities in Westchester County, New York for our 82 year old mother. One thing that we’ve noticed is how some communities refer to themselves as enriched housing and others as an assisted living residence. We are a little confused by this terminology. Is there a difference? If so, what is it? -David in Westchester

Dear David,

Good question! Here is a quick overview of these types of senior living.
Senior Citizen Housing Options

Adult Home: The Department of Health’s definition of an adult home is defined as an adult care facility established and operated for the purpose of providing long-term residential care, room, board, housekeeping, personal care and supervision to five or more adults not related to the operator.

Enriched Housing: An Enriched Housing Program means an adult care facility established and operated for the purpose of providing long-term residential care to five or more adults, primarily persons 65 years of age or older, in a community-integrated setting resembling independent housing units. Such programs must provide or arrange for the provision of room and provide board, housekeeping, personal care and supervision.

Assisted Living Residence (ALR): is an entity which provides or arranges for housing, on site monitoring and personal care services and or home care services (either directly or indirectly) in a home-like setting to five or more adult residents unrelated to the assisted living provider. ALRs must develop an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) for each resident along with daily food service, twenty-four hour on site monitoring, and case management services. Residents must be provided with considerate and respectful care and promote the residents dignity, autonomy, independence and privacy in the least restrictive and most home-like setting commensurate with the residents preferences and physical and mental status. It’s important to know that all assisted living communities are not licensed by the DOH. In fact, there are many “Look-a-Like” communities out there.

Under the ALR, communities have the option to provide both Enhanced and Special Needs programs which will enable the residents to “age in place” if they have applied and been issued certificates from the DOH.

Special Needs programs: provides services to those residents with cognitive impairments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Enhanced programs: is for those residents who go beyond the retention standards of the Adult Home or Enriched Housing Program. These services can be provided by qualified in-house staff or a licensed home care agency.

Full disclosure of services will be provided in the community’s residency/admission agreement so it is important to read the agreement thoroughly and ask questions. All licensed communities have a Consumer’s Guide to Assisted Living which may be very helpful. Feel free to ask for one or you can access one online here.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to be honest about the condition of the potential resident. The more we know, the better it is for the resident.

Best Regards,

Posted by:

Over the course of more than thirty years, Maryellen has distinguished herself in the field of Assisted Living, and has maintained a particular focus on enhancing operations in Independent and Enriched Housing Management. At times, Maryellen has simultaneously overseen over 29 communities throughout the Northeast. She was awarded Administrator of the Year in 1990 by the Empire State Association – being recognized for upholding quality care, compassion and high professional standards – and has become a visible and respected authority in the field. Throughout her tenure with the Association, she has also co-chaired its Assisted Living Services Committee along with its Conference Committee. Maryellen joined Engel Burman in 2001 and helped establish Ultimate Care NY, LLC, the team responsible for the development, construction and daily management of twelve upscale Assisted Living communities grouped under the well-known and highly respected name of The Bristal. A committed advocate and sought after speaker for the cause of senior living issues, Maryellen has served on the Board of ESAAL (Empire State Association of Assisted Living) since 2002, and today, she continues to play high-profile roles in many of the Association’s most important initiatives and influential committees.