Generally speaking, when an individual living at home can no longer be assisted with "scheduled care" (either by family or home health agencies) - and requires more "care on demand", assisted living becomes an attractive option.
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What is Assisted Living?
An assisted living residence provides a combination of housing, supportive services and health care designed to meet the needs - both scheduled and unscheduled - of those seniors who need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and medication monitoring (Assisted Living Federation of America). Most states define a resident appropriate for assisted living care as one who can negotiate a pathway to safety in case of emergencies with no or little assistance from another person. These are broad definitions and each state regulates this level of care a bit differently.