What’s the difference between senior living options?

Learn the different types of senior housing options 11/07/2014

Once you know that your loved one is in need of full-time support, a care home is the next step.  Although there are many reliable senior living options available, it can be confusing when it comes to the different types of senior housing options and care they offer. The different types of senior living facilities are assisted living facilities, independent living centers and retirement communities. There are also types of senior housing options that cater to specific conditions, such as Alzheimer’s care communities.

It’s crucial that you know the difference between each of these options in order to choose the right living arrangement for your loved one.  Each senior living option offers something different that you should be aware of.

1. Assisted living facility
The Washington State Department of Health describes assisted living facilities as centers for seniors who can no longer live on their own, but don’t require daily nursing care.  However, family members can breathe easy, as there’s always a caregiver ready to assist residents with any tasks they may need a hand with.  Your loved one will be able to choose his or her daily activities and own schedule – living in the best of both worlds.  Although each state has its own requirements and regulations for licensing purposes, the services generally offered by assisted living centers are usually the same.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, facilities generally consist of either individual bedrooms or apartment-style living arrangements.  Many senior living communities also offer stylish apartments with multiple floors to make your loved one feel that he or she is living in a normal neighborhood with the added support he or she needs.

2. Independent living centers
These are very similar to assisted living communities, providing neighborhoods where seniors can meet new people and live in a safe environment.  They work well for people who are able to live at home on their own, but don’t have family nearby or want to be surrounded by a group of like-minded individuals in the same stage of life.  Your loved one will have the opportunity to join various groups and organizations to stay healthy and social. Living arrangements are usually the same as with assisted living, providing a comfortable setting.

3. Retirement communities
After your loved one retires and needs a safe environment with a touch of added support, a retirement community is probably best for him or her.  These communities are generally high-end to provide those who have worked hard with a relaxing, luxurious lifestyle. Although your loved one may not need daily support, there are usually caregivers on hand ready to assist your loved one if need be.  Many people prefer that their retired family member chooses a retirement community instead of living on his or her own due to the social environment and on-hand support.

4. Memory care communities
These communities are staffed with experts who have undergone specialized training to give your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease the assistance he or she requires.  Memory care residents usually live in small neighborhoods so that they’re surrounded by friends, but live in a quiet environment where they receive 24/7 support.  With these communities in particular, it’s important to make sure you’ve chosen a reputable senior care center to ensure your loved one’s well-being.


At Elmcroft, we offer all of these types of senior living facilities and care options for your loved one, catering to his or her specific needs with quality full-time support. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.