Matching your personal lifestyle needs and desires to options for senior living

Definitions of the type of Senior Living Communities

Independent Living
Independent Living Communities are housing environments designed exclusively for seniors, typically those aged 55 and older. Housing types vary from apartment style living to free standing homes, and may or may not provide hospitality or supportive services. Under this living arrangement, the senior adult leads an independent lifestyle that requires minimal or no extra assistance. This housing is typically friendlier to older adults, often being compact with easier navigation.

Most communities generally have central dining facilities that provide residents, as part of their monthly fee, access to meals and other services such as housekeeping, linen service, transportation, and social and recreational activities.

These communities do not offer health or nursing care or assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and medication management.

Assisted Living
It is important to remember that because “Assisted Living” is not a government defined term, actual services offered vary from community to community.  Today more than ever these communities are continuously evolving to offer a wide range of service from small, family Residential Care Homes to larger, full-service communities with hundreds of residents. Many of these locations specialize in Dementia Care, including Alzheimer’s.

Assisted living communities are a type of care for older adults that combine housing, on-site support services and health care. Assisted living is designed for individuals who require assistance with activities in daily living, for example – meals, medication management and possibly assistance with bathing, dressing and transportation. 

While each community is different, assisted living facilities in the U.S. today typically offer a wide array of convenient services, comforts, amenities and enriching activities to ensure residents get the help and care they need, in a “home” setting.” 

Assisted Living appeals to seniors who would like to live in a social environment with few responsibilities, yet also providing easy access to non-skilled care.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are multi-level care facilities that combine residential accommodations with health services for older adults. The goal of a CCRC is to allow residents to receive the appropriate level of care across a continuum, from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care, as their health status changes and without having to move out of the retirement community. 

Because these communities provide multiple levels of care in one facility, makes them a good choice for single adults and for couples who wish to remain near each other should one become ill and require more care than the other.

This biggest benefit of these types of communities is residents can remain in the community, even if their health care needs change. Residents in independent or assisted living housing can move to the skilled nursing wing to receive short-term care following a serious illness or injury and then return to their room or apartment once they recover. As residents age and their health care needs increase, they can also move to a skilled nursing unit permanently to receive long-term, end-of-life care without having to move out of the community.

Memory Care
Memory Care communities or units are designed to meet the specific needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. These communities are often incorporated as separate care units of assisted living communities.

A memory care environment is designed for persons with a level of impairment making it unsafe for them to stay at home, but who does not require intensive care of a skilled nursing facility. Memory Care allows the individual experiencing memory loss to maintain a level of independence while relying on the safety and security of being in a residential facility with professional staff.

In-Home Care
In-Home Care covers a wide range of health and social services. These services are delivered at home to recovering, disabled, chronically or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living.

It is important to know that there is a difference between medical and non-medical in-home care. Non-medical home care services include personal care, assistance with daily living activities, meal preparation, housekeeping and transportation. Medical, Skilled home health agencies administer skilled licensed nursing and rehab services under physicians orders with strict guidelines.