When comparing senior housing and living facilities, it is important to know all of the options up front.
Although this may seem like a daunting task when confronted with the numerous options available today, it can be made simpler with some basic knowledge and understanding.
Options for Senior Housing & Living Facilities
Independent living. In this scenario, the senior remains self-sufficient, but does not live alone. A top-notch independent living facility will provide off-site activities such as field trips and shopping excursions. Independent living communities also may be described as active adult communities, or simply as senior apartments.
Adult day care. These places provide social activities, meals, rehabilitation and medical services. This provides the caregiver free time to maintain employment and to attend to household chores.
Assisted living. In this type of senior housing option, a caregiver's one-on-one services are required daily, but only for short periods of time. The rest of the day is taken up with group activities similar to adult day care. Assisted living also may be described as residential care, personal care, or adult congregate living.
Nursing homes. Families and caregivers who opt for nursing homes are facing the reality that the best senior housing option is a 24-hour care facility. Medical professionals either are always on site, or are on call. Residents are assisted with getting out of bed, bathing, putting on their clothes, eating and using the bathroom. Medications are regulated. Group activities are offered.
Many seniors may attach negative connotations to nursing homes, but improvements have been made in recent years. Some nursing homes also contain specific Alzheimer's and dementia units, with special precautions taken to prevent residents from wandering away from the facility.
Continuing care retirement communities. These communities are the latest development in senior housing facilities. Campuses are mixed use, ranging from independent living to assisted living to nursing facilities. This arrangement removes perceived stigmas for people who require more intensive forms of care. However, caregivers and families will need to plan in advance and pay entrance or buy-in fees.
Families and caregivers should note that support from local agencies on aging continues, even after the elder moves into the senior housing facility. A long-term care ombudsman program investigates more than 200,000 inquiries annually concerning the health and safety of residents.