Personal Care For Seniors & Enhanced Living | Messiah Village
what is enhanced living?
Life how you want it. Care when you need it.

Enhanced Living of Messiah Village is licensed as a Personal Care Home (PCH) by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. This is not a nursing home, but it’s similar in some ways. All our Enhanced Living neighborhoods—Nittany, Laurel, and Hopewell—provide private apartment spaces with personal care assistance with daily living.

That means help will be there whenever you need it. Residents enjoy three chef-prepared meals a day, and every private apartment includes an emergency call system, housekeeping, and laundry services to make everyday life easier. We also offer medication assistance, bathing, dressing, and grooming as needed. And of course, with the entire Messiah Village campus at your doorstep, you’ll also get access to activities, events, and programs to enrich your lifestyle.

We also offer a broad range of service options, including health support, memory support, rehab facilities, and respite care.

In Enhanced Living, we adhere to all state regulations and standards to ensure every resident receives the highest quality care and that every individual on our campus is treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

To learn more about Personal Care and Enhanced Living at Messiah Village—and to get info on the differences between this and Assisted Living: 
717.790.8201 |

What is the difference between Assisted Living and Personal Care Homes in Pennsylvania?

For many years, there was no difference between assisted living and personal care in Pennsylvania. They were essentially synonymous, interchangeable terms. During that time, most facilities referred to themselves as assisted living because it sounded “less institutional,” but if you asked to see their licensure, every provider would have produced paperwork affirming their status as a personal care home.

That all changed in January 2011 after new legislation was passed. In the new law, the PA Dept. of Public Welfare and Office of Long-Term Living began to license Assisted Living Residences (ALR) and Personal Care Homes (PCH) separately. However, many consumers—and even healthcare professionals—aren’t aware of and don’t fully understand the differences. Understandably, it can be quite confusing to many people.

Why the change?

Conceptually, assisted living was created to provide consumers with more choices, bridging the gap between personal care homes and skilled nursing homes. Assisted living is intended to offer more care than personal care, but at a lower cost than nursing homes. It also provides a setting that lets residents “age in place” for a longer period of time.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) and Center for Assisted Living Management (CALM) published a 280-page publication to explain the nuances and specific differences. For a brief overview, take a look at the chart below.

Personal Care Homes 
Assisted Living Residences

Level of Care

To provide meals, shelter, and assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, ambulating, medication monitoring, and more.

To provide meals, shelter and assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, ambulating, medication monitoring and more.

Can also provide certain skilled nursing services such as catheter or colostomy care and IV medication administration. 


Although many larger facilities do not follow these practices, PCH are permitted to offer shared bathrooms, multiple roommates, and living accommodations less than 225 sq. ft. for a single person. They are not required to provide “kitchen capacity” in rooms. ALR must provide living accommodations no less than 225 sq. ft. for a single person, private bathrooms, and counter-top space with outlets for small appliances and a sink equating to “kitchen capacity.”


Bound by certain state regulations, PCH must move residents requiring certain skilled nursing services to a higher level of care, such as a nursing home. Bound by certain state regulations, ALR can maintain those found to be “nursing facility eligible,” enabling them to “age in place” longer because of higher staffing ratios and additional staff training.

The Current Outlook

Since the 2011 legislation, the movement to ALR as a real alternative to nursing homes or personal care has been relatively slow-moving. To date, there are only about three dozen ALR in the state, compared to over 1,200 PCH throughout Pennsylvania. Loss of potential funding from the State Medicaid program and the necessity for major overhauls to facilities has slowed its progress as a viable alternative. In theory, this is great option. Only time will tell if it gains more popularity and support as a choice for older adults across the state.

For more information on this topic, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website:


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Thu, Apr 30, 2020