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Inside Assisted Living

, 264 pages
May 2009



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Inside Assisted Living

The Search for Home

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.

This book is a collaborative effort undertaken by researchers and professors affiliated with the Center for Aging Studies at the Erickson School and Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). J. Kevin Eckert is director of the center and dean of and professor at the school and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Paula C. Carder, formerly associate director of the center, is an assistant professor at the Institute on Aging, Portland State University. Leslie A. Morgan is a professor in the department of sociology and anthropology, UMBC, and a senior research associate with the center. Ann Christine Frankowski is a senior research associate with the center and an adjunct assistant professor in the department of sociology and anthropology, UMBC. Erin G. Roth is a senior research analyst and ethnographer with the center.

"It can illuminate in depth many of the issues in assisted-care living."

"An excellent introduction for anyone who needs to acquaint himself or herself with assisted living in anticipation of having to choose assisted care for a parent or other loved one."

"One of the most important books written about assisted living communities and the people who live in them. The authors succeed in unveiling the unknown dimension of dwelling in assisted living by bringing home to us the poignant reality and earnestness of living in a long-term care setting that strives to substitute for home."

"Candid and honest... Inside Assisted Living helps to heighten the awareness of the need for psychological services to this currently major and rapidly growing population."

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