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What is the Difference Between Personal Care And Assisted Living?


What is the Difference Between Personal Care And Assisted Living?

For a long time in Pennsylvania the terms Assisted Living and Personal Care were synonymous prior to 2011. At the time, Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare issued licenses entitled "Personal Care Home," while marketers at personal care homes adopted the phrase "assisted living" to appeal to consumers.

In 2011, the Pennsylvania Office of Long-Term Living began to license "Assisted Living Residences" (ALR) separately from Personal Care Homes (PCH). Since then, any facility using the terms assisted living in describing or marketing their services must meet the criteria associated with ALR compliance.

Why Assisted Living?
The creation of the Assisted Living service model was intended to bridge the care gap between traditional personal care homes and skilled nursing centers and to do so at a lower cost than skilled nursing care.

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's Assisted Living Definition

The PA DPW's web site reads:

ALRs are different from PCHs in 3 ways: concept, construction and level of care. ALRs embody the concept of allowing a resident to "age in place" without having to move to a licensed long-term care facility when their needs increase.

The construction of an ALR is different from a PCH. PCH residents live in bedrooms that may be shared by up to 4 people. ALR residents will have living units with kitchen capacity. No one will be forced to share a living unit. Living units will have a door with a lock and a private bathroom. This housing-service model will allow for privacy and maximum independence. It is similar to a studio apartment where the resident can make meals if desired and have a private bathroom.

The level of care provided in an ALR is distinguishable from a PCH, offering another choice of long-term living options in the commonwealth. A person who needs the level of care of a nursing facility must transfer when their needs become too great. That same person, however, will be able to live in an ALR where they'll be provided with the services they need to age in place.

More information is found at

If you have additional questions about Assisted Living and Personal Care Homes call Sacred Heart Villa, a personal care home in Berks County at 610-929-5751.