Assisted Living and Supportive Living – what is the difference?

Most people have heard the terms Assisted Living and Supportive Living, many people use the terms interchangeably and believe the programs are the same. While the programs are somewhat similar there are differences that anyone looking for a community should be aware of.

Supportive Living is a program that is regulated and administered by The Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Illinois developed the program as an alternative to nursing home placement for low-income seniors, 65 or older, or persons with disabilities, 22 to 64. The program allows for these individuals to remain in a community setting, while focusing on health and wellness. Residents are responsible for the room and board costs of their apartment and are entitled to keep $90 per month out of their income, the remaining income is paid to the supportive living community. Medicaid then supplements the cost of care above and beyond the amount the resident paid to the community. There are communities that are licensed for the 65 and older population while there are a few in the Chicagoland area that are licensed for the 22 to 64 age group. Supportive Living requires a pre-screen know as a Determination of Need (DON) prior to moving in. These screens are completed by an independent agency.

Assisted Living is a program that is regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The intent of legislation for Assisted Living Facilities and Shared Housing Establishments was to provide residential environments designed to meet the ever changing needs of the elderly population, so that they can remain as independent as possible. Assisted living establishments have an age requirement of 55 or older and residents pay privately for their apartment and care needs. Cost per assisted living vary per community and it is important to get a full list of prices for room and board and care charges. A physician certification is required prior to moving into an assisted living community and should be completed by the potential resident’s primary care physician.

Asbury Court located in Des Plaines offers; Independent Living, Assisted Living, Supportive Living, and a new Skilled Nursing facility scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. You can call (847) 228-1500 to inquire about services or to learn which program might be right for you or a loved one.

Asbury Gardens in North Aurora offers; Supportive Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing. You can call (630) 896-7778 to inquire about services and availability.

Asbury of Kankakee in Kankakee offers Supportive Living. Please call (815) 963-1000 to inquire about availability.


*sources for this article are: and

Editor’s note: this article was written and submitted by Jennifer Niedermeier, Director of Business Development for Asbury Healthcare.