Housing communities for older adults used to be limited to a retirement village or a nursing home. Today, seniors can also choose active adult living, home care, independent living or assisted living, too.
Carol’s husband used to take care of yard work, finances and all the driving. After he died, she felt overwhelmed by the work of owning a home. In addition, her health was declining. At age 72, she was ready to sell the house, but was confused about her choices. What was the difference between assisted living and a retirement community? Could she get help with her medicine if she didn’t go to a nursing home?
In the past, older adults had to choose between a retirement village or a nursing home. Today, seniors have many more choices.
The best time to learn about long-term care is before you need it. When you are in the middle of a medical crisis, you often have to make a quick decision.
Below are the different levels of long-term care. You’ll want to choose the option that will give you as much independence as you are capable of. Other considerations are your income, health status and any special services you want.
Active adult living
This is for healthy people, age 55 and older, who want to own or rent a house or apartment. Activities are provided, as well as home and grounds upkeep. Meals, housekeeping and health care are not included.
Most older adults want to remain at home. Many can do so with the help of a visiting nurse or physical therapist. An aide can help with household chores or personal services.
Private apartments are available for healthy seniors who can live safely on their own. This type of care may include meal plans, home upkeep, social activities, security and transportation. Residents pay monthly rent.
These facilities offer support for daily tasks (like dressing and bathing), but not for major medical needs. There is 24-hour care, laundry service, nursing staff and organized activities. The senior pays for the room and meals, plus monthly fees for some services.
Nursing homes provide 24-hour care under a doctor’s direction. Services like bandage changes and feeding can be requested. Some nursing homes have units for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Continuing care retirement community
These communities include independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing at one location. As needs change, residents can move to a higher level of care without leaving the community.