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Senior Housing Options

The term Senior Housing encompasses a vast array of services, lifestyle and living arrangements.  Four typical settings include:

Assisted Living Communities are intended to bridge the gap between living on your own and living in a nursing home. Assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, housekeeping and transportation is provided. The assistance needed may not require the round-the-clock, skilled health care a nursing home provides, yet needs cannot be met living in a more independent setting. Choices will vary from single or double rooms to suites and apartments. In some areas of the country, assisted living residences may be called different names, such as personal care, residential care, or domiciliary care. Assisted living residences may be part of a retirement community, nursing home or elderly housing facility, or they may stand-alone. Whatever the setting, assisted living offers the opportunity for residents to continue living as independently as possible.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC's) are also known in some regions as life care communities. These campus-like settings are often sponsored by religious organizations, fraternal groups and other nonprofit agencies. They are intended to provide comprehensive residential and health care services. This type of community is different from other housing and care options for older people because it offers a long-term contract that provides for housing, services and nursing care, usually all in one location. The CCRC continues to meet resident’s needs in a familiar setting, as they grow older. A CCRC resident can take advantage of a wide variety of activities and services conveniently offered within the community. There are no restrictions on lifestyle.

Independent Senior Living Communities, often referred to as Retirement Communities, Congregate Living or Senior Apartments, are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own, but desire the security and conveniences of community living. Some Independent Living Communities offer abundant recreational activities, which may include swimming pool/spas, exercise facilities, Clubhouse/Lounge and Library/Reading Lounges. Communities may also provide laundry facilities, linen service, meals or access to meals, local transportation, and planned social activities. Health care is not provided with your normal fees, but many communities will allow residents to pay for a home health aide or nurse to come into their apartment to assist with medicine and personal care.

Specialized Senior Care Communities are often related to Alzheimer’s and dementia care and services. For those in early to middle stages of the disease, care can be provided in a residential setting unit, such as an assisted living center or a congregate care community, or may also stand-alone. Facilities typically offer personal care assistance, supportive services such as housekeeping and transportation. Centers that specialize in this area are usually purpose built with the Alzheimer and dementia patient in mind.

Visit our Tour Guide Checklist to help you compare senior homes and communities.