What’s Your Type: An Overview of the Different Kinds of Senior Living Communities

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If you’ve been researching senior living, by now you’ve realized there are a number of options from which to choose – perhaps more than you ever imagined! The options can admittedly seem overwhelming at first, but that’s certainly not the intention. Rather, it’s to give you or your loved one the benefits that only a more personalized experience can. But with the different kinds of senior living communities, how do you know which type is right for you or your loved one? Let’s find out. 

Choosing the right senior living community

Understanding Your Senior Living Community Needs

Before diving into what your options are, it’s helpful to zero in on what you need and want first. We believe this makes it much easier to prioritize and stay focused in your search, as each type of senior living community is designed to provide a different lifestyle experience in terms of daily life and care. These questions can help.

Are there any health issues or concerns?
Are chronic conditions starting to become harder to manage at home?
Are there cognitive challenges or concerns?
Are there concerns about falling or other safety issues in the home?
Are there any mobility challenges or concerns?
Would you or your loved one benefit from more social opportunities?
Do you or your loved one have enough opportunities to enjoy hobbies?
Would you or your loved one like to have more purpose in daily life?
Is it becoming harder to perform daily tasks (bathing, dressing, toileting) independently?
Is it becoming harder to maintain the house and/or yard?
Are there concerns about nutrition and/or is it becoming harder to prepare fresh meals each day?
Are you or your loved one concerned about medication errors?
Are you or your loved one concerned about driving?

Different Types of Senior Living Communities

With a better understanding of what specifically you or your loved one need and want in a senior living community, let’s discuss your options.

Active Adult Living 

Active adult retirement living is a lifestyle for those who wish to spend their retirement time enjoying their favorite interests, hobbies, and passions while also exploring new opportunities. Active adult retirement communities are the home base for adventure. They are purpose-built for ease of living and offer a range of options to learn, grow and have fun, as well as just the right blend of privacy and community. Plus, they are age-defined, which means all residents must be 55 and older. 

Services and amenities typically include:

  • A maintenance-free lifestyle filled with amenities such as housekeeping, maintenance, meals, life engagement, and transportation
  • Dining venues that may include a bistro, pub and restaurant, with a delicious, yet well-balanced diet with chef-created meals that use fresh, locally-grown ingredients
  • Concierge services, pool, library, dog park, and walking trails on beautiful grounds
  • Housing options from suites or villas to a number of bedrooms; may include an attached garage
  • A focus on wellbeing with state-of-the-art fitness centers, yoga and Tai Chi classes, and even onsite spa and salon experiences
  • An ever-changing monthly calendar filled with social activities, outings, classes, and clubs, as well as opportunities to serve, teach or share your experiences with others

Independent Living

These communities are focused on lifestyle. They are ideal for active seniors who are able to live independently and want to spend more time enjoying retirement without worrying about chores and home upkeep. 

Services and amenities typically include:

  • Accommodations such as an apartment, townhome, or cottage
  • Dining venues that include a bistro, pub, and restaurant
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Fitness center
  • Pool and spa
  • Dog park and walking trails
  • Concierge services
  • Transportation
  • Variety of social opportunities, activities, and clubs
  • Community spaces like a library, pub, and movie theater

Assisted Living

These communities feature many of the same amenities as in independent living. However, in assisted living, onsite care and assistance with daily living activities are provided. In our communities, you can expect just the right amount of personalized support to help residents remain as independent as possible.

Services and amenities typically include:

  • Comfortable, spacious apartments in a range of floor plans
  • Care staff onsite 24/7
  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Beauty/barbershop
  • Exercise programs
  • Transportation
  • Variety of social opportunities and activities

Memory Care

These communities are exclusively for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. We feature a neighborhood setting that offers 24-hour, specialized care and support based on each resident’s needs and abilities with a program that encourages independence, engagement, and success. 

Services and amenities typically include:

  • Comfortable private or companion apartments
  • Low staff-to-resident ratio
  • Assistance with daily living activities
  • Secure environment and emergency call systems
  • Exercise programs and time in nature
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Cognitive health programs and creative outlets
  • Social and enrichment activities

The Pros and Cons

Beyond what each type of senior living can offer, there are also pros and cons to consider. In independent living, the lifestyle is most definitely a pro as it’s maintenance-free and comes with a range of amenities, as well as social, fitness, and enrichment opportunities. However, a con would be that onsite medical care is typically not offered in these communities unless they also offer other levels of care on the same campus.

Assisted living offers the pro of personalized support with daily activities and onsite medical care; while still being able to offer a lifestyle filled with convenience, amenities, and opportunities to engage, as well as connect. On the other hand, typically, these communities do not offer intensive, round-the-clock care such as IV therapy, injections, catheter care, and wound treatment. Nor do they focus on specialized care such as memory care unless it’s within a separate unit.

The fact that memory care is just for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia means that staff training includes a deeper understanding of dementia, and techniques for managing challenging behaviors, even effective communication strategies, which is definitely a pro. Plus, the environment is safer and more secure than other types of senior living in addition to being designed with calming colors and easy-to-navigate layouts for these residents. Of course, cons for a loved one with dementia would be the stress of an unfamiliar setting and/or adjusting to a group environment.

Check out our guide on Choosing the Right Senior Living Community for more information. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!