DifferentSenior Living Options

There are a lot of different options for senior living, and navigating them can be very confusing. We only offer assisted living and memory care, but we want to give you the information you need to make the right decision.

Senior living is a complex market, but we want to clear it up for you. The primary differences in the options below are your needs for day-to-day assistance, medical care, and personal preference. Day-to-day activities include bathing and showering, personal hygiene, dressing, mobility, and eating. Medical care could be as simple as self-administering oxygen or complex enough to require 24/7 care. Your health care provider may have information and concerns about your senior living options, and you should consider their recommendations along with how you feel about the situation. Below are the different types of senior living and how they differ from one another.

What Are the Different Types of Senior Living?

There are many different options for senior living, and often your situation won’t be cut and dry.

Here are some of the most common options.

Assisted living facilities provide assistance with activities of daily living (also called ADLs) along with dining, housekeeping, activities, and other amenities. Assisted living communities may also provide adult day care and respite care. These are daily or short stays where the primary caregiver has other responsibilities like work or vacation to attend to. Assisted living provides a medium to high level of supervision and assistance with activities of daily living. Seniors generally live independently or in retirement communities prior to moving to assisted living.
Memory care is a component of assisted living specializing in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another neurological disease. Memory care residents are provided a secure, enriching experience designed to stimulate memory recall. Many memory care residents transition from assisted living to memory care as their condition worsens. Seniors who need memory care also may receive in-home senior care from family or outside caregivers to manage their responsibilities.
Independent living communities are designed for active and healthy seniors to continue their lifestyles while requiring minimal or no assistance with activities of daily living. This is a lighter form of assisted living emphasizing social interaction and reducing some of the more difficult burdens for seniors like lawn maintenance, but still expecting seniors to lead a mostly independent life.
Skilled nursing facilities, also known as nursing homes, are the senior living option providing the greatest amount of medical care. Nurses, rehabilitation specialists, doctors, and allied health professionals like therapists are on hand around the clock to provide for you. This makes skilled nursing the most expensive housing option, and typically it’s reserved for short stays focused on recovering from surgery or illness.
Continuing care retirement communities are usually a combination of the above. They may incorporate everything from independent living to assisted living, nursing care, and even some forms of hospice care depending on their size and scope. Because of the wide range of options available at CCRCs, the expected costs and level of care can be tough to pin down. Generally, those costs will persist and increase over time as the community accommodates a senior’s decline in abilities.
While not included in senior living, hospice care is sometimes confused with some of the options above. Hospice care is a practice reserved for seriously or terminally ill Americans with a short time to live. Hospice care is provided by Medicare and designed only to provide care at the end of one’s life. A doctor’s certification is required to qualify for hospice care.

To a certain degree, in-home senior care can span any of the options above. In-home senior care like private duty nursing can grow or change to fit any plan of care in any setting. But for seniors requiring certain levels of assisted living or memory care, moving into a community may be necessary.

What Senior Living Option Is Right for Me?

Your senior living options and the facility you choose are driven largely by your level of independence, your medical needs, your financial resources, and your personal preference. In the ideal world, seniors have caregivers who can work together with their physician to determine a plan of care that’s right for them. They can also build this plan to include progressing through different forms of senior living. This is a great jumping off point to think about your other important planning options, like preparing a will and expressing your desires if you end up in critical condition.

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Other Resources

If you’re interested in assisted living, memory care, adult day care, or respite care, you’re in the right place. Read our other resources below to learn more about your options in the Tampa Bay Area. If you need help, don’t hesitate to call us at (866) 283-5406 to discuss your situation with our senior living advisors.