Different Types of Senior Living Facilities Explained
Families and their elderly loved ones have much to consider during their search for senior housing options. Unfortunately, the amount of information on senior living choices, as well as all the different types of senior living facilities available, can be overwhelming to sort through.
With the right information and resources, you'll be better equipped to make confident and informed decisions for your family. Learn about all the senior housing options available.
Common Types of Senior Housing Options
Every senior's needs are different, so the key to navigating the array of available senior housing options is to consider your loved one's health, lifestyle, and financial requirements. Here's an overview of common types of senior housing options to help you focus on the solution that might best suit your family's needs and budget.
Independent Living Communities
Typically referred to as retirement communities, independent living communities are designed for seniors generally ages 55 or older who are self-sufficient and do not require hands-on assistance. Residents may live in apartments, cottages, freestanding homes, or shared quarters, many of which include full kitchens. These communities usually offer a broad range of convenient amenities such as on-site fitness centers, community centers, and pharmacies.
Independent living communities provide a carefree lifestyle in which seniors can engage with their peers without having to worry about burdensome responsibilities like preparing meals, landscaping, keeping house, or doing laundry. These communities promote active and healthy lifestyles centered around socialization, maintenance-free living, and the freedom to enjoy each day the way each resident wants to spend it.
An independent living community may be a great choice for seniors who:
- Prefer to live in an active community setting
- Enjoy socializing with peers and having a variety of options close by
- Are fully independent but might require minor assistance with the activities of daily living
- Do not require medical care or nursing staff on-site
- Want plenty of scheduled events or activities to pick from
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living* communities cater to seniors who are able to maintain a sense of independence but want or need help with some of the activities of daily living, such as cleaning the house, grooming, bathing, preparing meals, or traveling to appointments.
The appeal of assisted living facilities is that they allow seniors to live in privacy and independence while providing the security and safety of 24/7 support. If a need arises, someone can be at your side within a moment’s notice. Most assisted care facilities will create a personalized plan that meets a senior's unique needs while encouraging the freedom and flexibility to maintain as much independence as they’d like.
Assisted living may be an ideal choice for seniors who:
- Don't require around-the-clock supervision or medical care
- Require some personal care services that might not be feasible if living alone or at an independent living community
- Are capable of remaining somewhat active but could benefit from help with daily tasks
- Want opportunities to socialize
- Want plenty of scheduled events or activities to pick from
Memory Care Facilities
Like assisted living facilities, memory care facilities offer 24-hour personal care assistance along with other conveniences such as meal preparation, social activities, and other services. However, memory care facilities are designed to specifically care for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.
Memory care staff is trained to handle the behavioral, cognitive, physical, and emotional needs of their residents. In memory care facilities, safety is a main priority, and security measures are increased to help prevent those living with dementia from wandering off, becoming lost, or getting hurt.
Sometimes, communities only focus on caring for residents who require memory care. Other times, these services are provided at a community that also offers other levels of care, such as assisted living. In this case, memory care residents may live in a separate wing of the community for increased safety and support. Residents may live in private or shared rooms and benefit from structured activities designed to encourage cognitive function and community engagement.
A memory care facility could be a great option for seniors who:
- Have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another dementia
- Need a living situation that could improve their physical safety and well-being
- Could benefit from assistance with medications, mobility, and other daily tasks
- Require structured activities and engagement opportunities that promote cognitive function
Respite Care Facilities
For primary caregivers, attending to the around-the-clock needs of a loved one can be a challenging ordeal. Caregivers need a break from time to time to look after their own needs, and that's where respite care can help.
Professionals equipped to care for sick or elderly adults are specifically trained to provide respite care services. Respite care can be arranged for a few hours, a few days, or even several weeks. Depending on the type of care you’re looking for, you may receive respite care services in your own home, at an adult daycare center, or within a senior living community.
Services often provided with respite care may include:
- Meal preparation
- Medication management
- Laundry service
- Community events and outings
- Assistance with personal care needs like bathing, grooming, dressing, and going to the bathroom
Respite care may be a beneficial short-term solution for caregivers and caregiving recipients in instances when:
- Family members need time to rest, relax, or tend to other priorities
- Family members are going on vacation
- A trial of an assisted living facility may be beneficial to determine which senior housing option might be the right fit
- A caregiving recipient could benefit from a change of pace or environment
- A caregiver is gradually easing their loved one into a senior community
Aging in Place
Many seniors prefer to live in the comfort of their own homes and maintain a sense of independence. Staying at home as opposed to transitioning to a senior living facility may come with the benefit of residing in a familiar place where a person already knows their neighbors and community. Seniors who opt to age in place can take advantage of a variety of home care services to make their lives easier to manage. Aging in place service options include:
- In-home caregiving
- Meal delivery
- Home repairs
Aging in place may be a good option for seniors who:
- Have a close network of friends, family, and neighbors nearby
- Have easy access to transportation
- Reside in a safe neighborhood
- Are able to modify their homes to accommodate changing needs
- Require limited home and yard maintenance
- Do not require a high level of physical or medical care
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Senior Housing Option
When navigating available senior housing options, it's important to consider your loved one's current needs as well as ones they might develop in the future:
Physical needs: As your loved one ages, he or she might require assistance with the activities of daily living. Your loved one might also require increasing help with medical care.
Current location: Even if your loved one is completely independent at the moment, circumstances can change. Consider the layout and accessibility of your loved one's home. Can the home be easily modified? Does it have a large yard that requires ongoing maintenance?
Emotional needs: As your loved one ages, social connections may change. Friends and family may not always be close by, and transportation issues can make it difficult to maintain healthy connections. A senior living option might offer an ideal way for your loved one to avoid becoming housebound and isolated.
Get Help Choosing the Right Senior Living Option for You and Your Loved Ones
To determine if a senior housing option might be beneficial for your loved one, speak to a doctor to find out which level of care might be most appropriate. They may even provide you with a list of some communities nearby that can offer the support your loved one requires.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your loved one to Be Distinctive and Live Fully.
*Assisted living is called personal care in select states.