Senior Housing

Four Types of Senior Housing You Should Know

Independent living. Assisted living. Skilled nursing. Memory care. What do they mean and what’s the difference between them? You’re not alone if you’re confused. Here’s a basic overview of these four types of senior housing:

Independent Living

Independent living includes active adult living communities, continuing care retirement communities (also known as life plan communities), rental senior apartments and other housing environments. This type of senior housing is for people who manage their own personal hygiene and health care. They’re also fully in charge of their own nutrition and food prep, finances and home safety. They maintain an active lifestyle without the assistance of others.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is for people who need help with bathing, dressing, meal prep and medication management. Their living arrangements can vary from a studio to a two-bedroom apartment located in everything from a smaller care home to a large facility. Meals and activities are usually shared with others living at the community.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing involves 24-hour nursing care. Facilities that provide skilled nursing typically offer IV therapy, feeding tubes, pain management, post-surgery wound care and rehabilitative services. Private and semi-private rooms are available. Meal service is either in the resident’s room or the dining hall.

Memory Care

Memory Care communities are designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. They provide highly trained staff, a secure environment to keep people safe, meal service and assistance with dressing, bathing and medication management. Many also include daily activities designed to engage residents physically, mentally and socially.

Additional Resources

These four types of senior housing can be found in just about any community. Small board and care homes are also available and there’s always the option of “aging in place” at home. If you need help determining what level of care your loved one needs, numerous resources are available. AARP is a great place to start. Another good resource is A Place For Mom.