Navigating Senior Housing


There are a variety of housing options available to seniors, from specialized facilities that provide round-the-clock care to independent living communities. The names of the different types of housing options can sometimes be confusing, as the terminology can vary.  The main difference will be in the amount of care provided for activities of daily living and for medical care. There are various levels which will be described below.

Independent Living

Refers to residence in an easy-to-maintain, private apartment or house within a community of seniors.  As the name implies, Independent Living is just that: the ability to maintain one’s residence and lifestyle without medical assistance.  If assistance with daily needs or medical care becomes necessary, residents are permitted to bring in outside services of their choice. Housekeeping and some meals are generally provided.

Assisted Living

Provides a cost-effective and enhanced living environment for seniors. Clients receive the help they need with everyday living tasks and often some health care in a residential setting. Assistance with medications, meals, housekeeping and daily needs is provided.

Care Homes

These facilities are usually 4-10 bed homes which can provide hands-on care for seniors. They provide meals, housekeeping, laundry, medication management, personal care, and include a limited amount of social activities. These homes are most often less expensive than the other options.

Memory / Dementia Care Centers

Memory care is designed for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. As Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses, the level of care and assistance a person requires increases. Many families prefer to keep their loved one home for as long as possible, but at some point a person with dementia will likely need more care than you can provide at home.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Skilled nursing facilities are the highest level of long term care and generally the most expensive. They provide ongoing nursing care with licensed nurses 24 hours a day. Skilled nursing facilities provide all care with daily needs, nursing care, medication administration, meals, and housekeeping.