We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Inside Assisted Living

The Search for Home

J. Kevin Eckert, Paula C. Carder, Leslie A. Morgan, Ann Christine Frankowski, and Erin G. Roth foreword by Bill Thomas, M.D.

Publication Year: 2009

Assisted living is the fastest-growing alternative to skilled nursing care for frail older persons in the United States. The expectations, settings, and missions of these residences are varied, making it difficult for prospective residents and their families to anticipate what it would be like to live in them. This book is a unique portal into the real world of assisted living and the key issues facing consumers, providers, and policy makers. Drawing on in-depth interviews with residents, their family members, staffers, and administrators, Inside Assisted Living opens the window on day-to-day life in six different types of assisted living residence. From “Miss Helen at Valley Glen Home” to “Mr. Sidney at Laurel Ridge,” the detailed profiles of individuals show the commonalities among the residences while highlighting the positive and negative aspects of each. The voices of those living, visiting, and working in the homes clarify the important local (social relations, staff dynamics, leadership) and national (funding, regulation, aging-in-place) challenges presented by assisted living. Introductory and concluding chapters synthesize new findings that cross the six settings and reflect issues vital to all participants. The book also features an appendix detailing the research process involved in creating the profiles.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (46.8 KB)
pp. v

List of Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF (42.6 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (72.8 KB)
pp. ix-xi

The use of “voice” in the written language has been found as early as 1290, but voices themselves are ancient, as old as humanity itself. Voices are the carriers of culture; they contain our stories, transmit our beliefs, and communicate our emotions. But voices alone are not enough. To influence the wider world, voices must be paired with listeners...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (75.5 KB)
pp. xiii-xv

The goal of this book is to provide readers with an insider’s perspective on assisted living through the experiences of those who reside and work there. Inside Assisted Living is composed of ten chapters and a technical appendix. Chapter 1 sets out the purpose of the book, explains the study design, and discusses the emergence of assisted living as an increasingly...

read more

1 Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.6 KB)
pp. 1-14

Some of us are familiar with long-term care and with assisted living as a long-term care option. But for a lot of people, questions and concerns are many. For instance, what choices do older people have when they require daily assistance to cook, dress, bathe, or take medications?...

read more

2 Miss Helen at Valley Glen Home

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.5 KB)
pp. 15-35

The story of Miss Helen’s move to Valley Glen Home begins more than 20 years ago. When asked how her mother came from Tennessee to reside in a small assisted living home in Maryland, Miss Helen’s daughter, Alicia, said, “Well, I guess we can almost go back another...

read more

3 Opal at Franciscan House

pdf iconDownload PDF (83.3 KB)
pp. 36-52

Franciscan House, like Valley Glen Home, is one of the legions of anonymous small group homes scattered throughout the country. Located in a suburban community, this two-story house does not stand out from any other dwelling in the neighborhood. Yet it is a licensed...

read more

4 Karen at Huntington Inn

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.7 KB)
pp. 53-74

Karen was the founder of “The Forum” at Huntington Inn, an unassuming cluster of five white plastic chairs that she talked a staff member into placing in a wide section of the building’s long hallway. Over time, it became the regular meeting place for four or fi ve residents as well as a couple of staff members. During our research, we learned that it was the place to go to catch up on the latest facility gossip. In addition to...

read more

5 Mrs. Koehler at Middlebury Manor

pdf iconDownload PDF (107.6 KB)
pp. 75-97

Just in from sunning herself on the front porch, a tanned Mrs. Koehler confidently maneuvered her motorized wheelchair off the elevator and around the wheelchairs and walkers that crowded the hallway outside the hair salon. She cheerfully greeted everyone but did not...

read more

6 Dr. Catherine at the Chesapeake

pdf iconDownload PDF (111.9 KB)
pp. 98-123

Dr. Catherine looks quintessentially Chesapeake. She dresses impeccably in periwinkle blue or azalea pink; the Chesapeake’s decor is coordinated in patterns of hunter green and burgundy. She redecorated her suite several months after moving in, while the Chesapeake...

read more

7 Mr. Sidney at Laurel Ridge

pdf iconDownload PDF (102.3 KB)
pp. 124-148

We first interviewed Mr. Sidney in the spring of 2005, four and a half months after he moved to Laurel Ridge. We had already met several times, and he could always be found at exercise class at ten in the morning or at the discussion or word game afterward. Exercise is...

read more

8 Everyday Life in Assisted Living

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.6 KB)
pp. 149-166

A colleague who heard about our study asked us, “What’s a typical day like in assisted living?” The heterogeneity of people and places necessarily affects the answer. For many people who reside in assisted living facilities, a typical day might not be very different from a day spent at their previous home. They have meals, watch television, nap, read, take care of personal care needs, go shopping, work on hobbies, and...

read more

9 Aging in Places

pdf iconDownload PDF (117.0 KB)
pp. 167-194

Aging in place is frequently discussed as a key philosophical goal of assisted living. The concept broadly refers to enabling older adults to remain in their current or preferred environment, with necessary adaptations and supportive services, to the end of their lives (Bernard, Zimmerman, and Eckert 2001). The assisted living sector has adopted and adapted this concept, so, once an older adult moves into assisted...

read more

10 The Reality and the Promise of Assisted Living

pdf iconDownload PDF (83.2 KB)
pp. 195-212

Assisted living communities are an important element of the long-term care continuum, with more than a million residents and 38,000 to 68,000 facilities as of 2006 (NCAL 2007). Lost in these numbers is any insight into the lived reality and promise of life inside these settings. The findings from this in-depth ethnographic study allow a sustained view of the assisted living experience, providing an opportunity for...

Appendix: Technical Description of the Research Project

pdf iconDownload PDF (104.7 KB)
pp. 213-227


pdf iconDownload PDF (64.9 KB)
pp. 229-231


pdf iconDownload PDF (69.9 KB)
pp. 233-238


pdf iconDownload PDF (496.6 KB)
pp. 239-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780801895203
E-ISBN-10: 0801895200
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801892608
Print-ISBN-10: 0801892600

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2009