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The Many Senior Housing Options:Assisted living, Nursing Homes & More
Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on May 27th, 2013

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The Many Senior Housing Options:Assisted living, Nursing Homes & More

assisted living  |  assisted living farmington ct  |  assisted living newington ct  |  assisted living ct  |  indpendent living ct  |  senior housing  |  Aging & Caregiving

Senior Housing OptionsYes, there are many senior housing options to choose from and no simple answer to the question of which one is right for you. But, here’s the upside of having so many choices:  you stand a better chance of finding onethat matches well with your long-term goals, so let’s get to it!

There are seven (7) distinct options for seniors recognized in the US. These are listed, together with their pseudonyms (or a.k.a.) and specific characteristics of each option. 

1. Independent Living Communities

Also known asRetirement Homes, Senior Housing or Senior Apartments; these living arrangements can either be apartment complexes, condominiums or free-standing homes. Housing is usually fully equipped and easy to navigate. Some are extravagant, offering a wide range of social amenities and fine dining others provide just the basics.

This facility is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You’re fully independent, aside from a few minor medical needs.
  • If you like the idea of socializing.

2. Assisted Living Communities

Also known as Assisted Care Community or Personal Care Home; this facility allows residents to live in private apartments, occupy private rooms or share with a roommate and receive assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). Most have communal dining, recreational programs and areas, transportation services and a variety of housekeeping, laundry and maintenance services; some facilities are modest while others are lavishly designed. They host regularly scheduled social and interactive events.

This facility is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You’re no longer able to live at home safely but do not require a high level of care.
  • You need more personal care services (assistance with personal hygiene and dressing, medication management, escorts, and help managing incontinence) not feasible at a retirement or nursing home.

3. Nursing Homes

Also known as Convalescent Care, Skilled Nursing or Long term Care; this facility accommodates the highest level of care in either a private room or shared room. Scheduled activities are available and meals are served in a central dining area or in the resident’s room. 

This facility is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You’re a frail elderly or disabled person who requires 24 hour skilled assistance.
  • You require short-term rehabilitative care (recovering from surgery or illness).

4. Alzheimer’s Care

Also known as Dementia Care or Memory Care, this special community generally allows residents to live in private or semi-private apartments with structured activities delivered by trained personnel. The living environment has fully secured areas to prevent residents from wandering off.

This facility is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You have memory problems and need 24-hour support.
  • You need specialized dementia care and services.

5. Respite Care

Also known as Short-Term Stay Programs or Adult Day Care; these options may be available within the assisted living community for a short time frame, usually a matter of days or up to a month.  Most Adult Day Care centers offer programs during the day, but do not provide overnight accommodations.

This facility is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You are a caregiver and need a temporary break.
  • If you need a “getting acquainted” period for your loved one.

6. Residential Care Homes

Also known as Board and Care Homes, Group Homes or Adult Family Homes; these facilities offer a similar setting to in-home care and with live-in care-takers. Senior care services may vary greatly, but most offer assistance with ADLs and recreational opportunities.

This facility is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You want the feel of a home and need assistance with ADLs.
  • You want a more private setting than is available in other settings.

7. Home Care Companies

Also known as Home Health Care or In-home Personal Care; this option allows you to stay in your own home and have health care services brought in. Residents often have their homes modified to accommodate their changing needs. They have access to a range of home care services that include in-home help to daycare services.

Investment cost: modifying your home will attract a one-time payment, plus hourly costs for in-home services.

Remaining at home is right for you (or your loved one), if:

  • You’ve no desire to be anywhere else but need assistance with ADLs.
  • Your neighborhood is safe and you have a network of family and friends nearby.

Key Takeaways

  • There are seven distinct senior housing options recognized in the USA.
  • Independent Living Communities are suitable for healthy independent seniors.
  • Assisted living is suitable for seniors who do not require a high level of care.
  • Nursing homes are suitable for seniors who require a high level of care.
  • Alzheimer’s care is suitable for seniors who require a specialized care.
  • Respite care is suitable for seniors who require short-term care.
  • Residential care homes are suitable for seniors who want a private setting.
  • Home Care Facilities are suitable for seniors with no desire to be anywhere else.

Learn More

United Methodist Homes has assisted living, independent living, Alzheimer's and Memory Care, and short & long term rehab care communities that can cater to you or your loved ones specific needs. 


About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.