7 Senior Housing Options Explained

With so many available senior-housing options, trying to choose the best type of care for your loved one can be a little overwhelming. However, knowing what type of care your loved one requires and understanding the types of available care will make the process much less stressful.

Here is a list of the seven most common senior-housing options:

1. Aging in Place

Aging-in-place care allows your loved one to remain in one location throughout their life, with increasing levels of care as the need arises. Aging-in-place care can occur anywhere, from your senior’s home to a licensed nursing home.

Pros:

  • Aging in place at home will be the least expensive option, provided you and family members are able to act as caregivers.
  • The biggest advantage of aging-in-place care is it allows your senior to settle in and stay permanently in one location as their health condition worsens.

Cons:

  • With at-home care, the senior typically won’t receive the same level of care as in a professional facility, especially as their health deteriorates.
  • Seniors with serious medical conditions often require around-the-clock supervision as they age.

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The cost of aging-in-place care can become increasingly expensive as the need for additional care increases. Home care may require hiring a home-healthcare worker.

2. Retirement Village

This concept links families with neighbors and local businesses to allow residents to live in their respective homes as they age. Here residents all work together with help from youth groups and businesses.

Pros:

  • Residents can downsize, moving into a smaller home or apartment with communal spaces shared with neighbors.
  • Reduces chores, like yard work, leaving more time to indulge in leisure activities and hobbies. • Onsite healthcare facility.
  • Social events with other people of the same age. Retirement-Village

Cons:

  • Expensive if skilled at-home nursing care is needed.
  • Loss of some independence as many tasks and activities are handled for residents.
  • For those who are still active and healthy, moving to a retirement village may feel like they are giving up some of their independence.

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Retirement villages can be at the lower end of the cost spectrum. However, there will be annual or monthly fees for things like yard work, accounting and transportation.

3. Independent Living

These communities are designed for older adults who want to live in an active community, but without the bother of daily chores like cooking or housekeeping.

Pros:

  • Opportunities for socialization and planned activities.
  • Worry- and chore-free living in apartments, condos or individual homes.
  • Many retirement communities include all amenities, such as utilities, in the monthly rent.

Cons:

  • Most independent-living communities do not provide onsite medical staff.

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The cost of an independent-living facility falls in the medium range. The atmosphere in an independent-living facility has been compared to a college campus for the elderly, with people of similar ages living together in a community.

4. Residential Care Homes

Residential-care homes are a homier alternative to traditional nursing facilities. These facilities are designed for seniors who can no longer live alone, but dislike the idea of an institutional setting.

Pros:

  • Home-like atmosphere with onsite healthcare.
  • Social functions and gathering areas.
  • Residents set their own schedules.
  • Meals available on demand.
  • Higher ratio of staff to residents than larger facilities.

Cons:

  • Fewer services and amenities than larger facilities.
  • Less availability than larger facilities; may have to wait several months for an opening.
  • Not as much opportunity for interacting with different people.

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Cost is in the medium rage for adult living facilities, and often half the cost of traditional nursing facilities. Be sure to carefully assess how individual residential-care homes fit the needs of you loved one.

5. Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

A type of aging-in-place facility, CCRCs are a combination of independent and assisted living and nursing facility. These communities are designed to let seniors live out their life in one location where their future care is already in place.

Pros:

  • Independent living in an all-inclusive facility with room, board and care included in one monthly fee.
  • Large social network.
  • Couples can remain together.
  • May allow potential residents to spend a few nights to see how well the facility suits them.

Cons:

  • Living only with other seniors.
  • Possible financial instability and risk for those on a fixed income.
  • Residents must move in while still able to live independently.

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CCRCs are typically the most expensive of long-term adult-care options. There’s an admittance fee, ongoing monthly fees and additional fee increases as more care services are added. CCRCs are a good choice for spouses who want to remain together.

6. Assisted Living

Assisted-living facilities are for seniors who are able to live independently, but need some assistance with daily tasks. Services include a round-the-clock staff and help with meal preparation, medication management, housekeeping, bathing, dressing and transportation.

Pros:

  • Assistance with daily living activities and adapts to change-in-care needs.
  • Greater privacy and a home-like setting.
  • Opportunity to socialize in a group-dining area with scheduled social and recreational activities.
  • Less expensive than nursing homes.

Cons:

  • Can be cost-prohibitive.
  • Some seniors have problems adjusting to life with restrictive procedures and policies.
  • No care for moderate to severe medical conditions.

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Costs are relatively high and can vary significantly according to the type of living space and level of care provided. Be sure you completely understand the fine print in the contract.

7. Nursing Home

Sometimes referred to as “skilled nursing” facilities, a nursing home is often the best option for seniors needing constant supervised care. These facilities provide meals, activities and healthcare support from a 24-hour trained staff with a doctor who supervises each resident’s care.

Pros:

  • Aging in place facility with 24-hour professional care.
  • Structured schedule for meals and social activities.
  • Active social life allows seniors regular interaction with other people their own age.

Cons:

  • This type of skilled care may be out of reach for most seniors without insurance.
  • Loss of independence and freedom, with meals and activities only available at set times.
  • Stigmas and negative views. Many people have heard horror stories about someone who received abysmal care, mistreatment and neglect at a nursing facility.

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Costs for nursing homes can vary according to the type of living space and level of care provided. These types of adult-care homes are typically best for patients with severe dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Perform solid research on a nursing facility, just as you would any adult-care facility.

By Care Homes Direct Editorial Team
Image: GreatSeniorLiving.com

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