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Millions of Americans Will Soon Move Into Assisted Living. Now Comes the Hard Part.

Lindsay J. Peterson, Kathryn Hyer

As of today, the youngest of the nearly 70 million baby boomers is 55; the oldest is 74. Within the next decade, millions of them will need long-term care. Many will remain in their homes, with family or “drop-in” caregiver services lending a hand. Some will move in with relatives. Those who are most dependent on care might choose nursing homes. A diverse and expanding older population is looking for help.

For more than a decade, “assisted living” residences grew faster than any other segment of the long-term care industry. Typically more home-like than a full-care nursing facility, assisted living is often favored by people who are generally independent, but still need support with daily activities. In general, providers offer fewer medical services, though many provide health and memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

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