Except for the faux store fronts, it doesn't look any different from the ones that my Mom was in. They did have a rec room fixed up to look like a 1950's teen soda shop/hangout in a tacky sort of way. It always gave me the creepy feeling that some day I might get locked up in a "Saturday Night Fever" set. The horror...
People who have not been through this may not realize that they are talking about three different levels of care here. The current model is something like:
1. Independent living. You have your own apartment, and come and go as you please. The staff takes care of the cooking and cleaning, and there are often group activities and exercise programs.
2. Assisted living. It's not safe for you to live alone any more. You still have your own small apartment, but the staff keeps track of your movements, takes over your medication, gets you to meals, and makes sure the doctors orders are followed. You probably see a nurse one or more times every day.
3. Skilled nursing care. You are basically hospitalized but stable enough not to be taking up room in a hospital. You are under constant observation and care. You need help with everything - eating, bodily functions, moving around. These people can't do much more than hobble up and down the hallway, with assistance. A lot of the residents are transient, there for rehab after the hospital or waiting to die.
Each one is progressively more expensive. Some facilities have two or all three types of rooms, usually in different wings.