Advocates for Georgia's Elderly Since 1953

Assisted Living Consumer Resources

Making a Choice - Assisted Living or Personal Care Home?

In several other states, “assisted living” is the general term for any facility that is not a nursing home. You can find assisted living facilities under a number of names: personal care homes, residential care homes, residential care, adult foster homes, retirement communities, senior communities or community-based care facilities.

In recent years, Georgia has made a transition with the use of the term “assisted living facility (ALF)” by adding “personal care home (PCH)” to the mix.  It can be downright confusing! There is not a huge difference between the two but differences are outlined by state licensure requirements. GCAL is here to help establish the difference between these senior living terms to make it easier to understand when looking to make the transition into a senior living community.





Must be 25+ beds

No bed limit

Services Provided

Specialized care including personal services, provision of assisted self-preservation

Housing, food services, assistance with ADLs


administration of meds by certified medication aides (CMA)

supervision of self-administered medications, can use proxy caregivers

Resident Requirements

Must be able to participate in transfers and social activities, Cannot require continuous medical or nursing care

Must be ambulatory and not require confinement

Room requirements

Must be at least 80 sq ft, no more than 2 residents per room, must have separate lavatories

Must be at least 80 sq ft, no more than 4 residents per room, can have common lavatories


At least one administrator 24 hrs/day, 1:15 during day, 1:25 during night

At least one administrator 24 hrs/day, 1:15 during day, 1:25 during night


Not available

Home and community- based waivers available

**There are additional requirements for memory care units.

Assisted living and personal care home residents are usually seniors who have had a slight decline in health in some way and need assistance performing one or more activities of daily living (ADLs). Seniors who would like to live in a social environment with little responsibilities and a place where care is easily accessible whenever the senior may need it are the type of seniors you will find in an assisted living community. Statistically, the most common resident of an assisted living community is a female in her mid-eighties.

General Resources