Did you know that there are one million elders currently living in senior communities in the United States? Senior living communities, like nursing homes, continued care, residential care, and assisted living are so popular that this figure is estimated to double by 2030. Yet, understanding which housing option is best can be challenging and chances are you may be expected to be able to render knowledgeable advice to assist your loved one. With so many options there can be a lot to consider. The following are suggestions that you might find helpful should you find that you are assisting your loved one with making an informed decision about senior housing:

Long-term Care Facilities

Long-term care facilities (nursing homes) are usually best suited if your loved one has complex medical needs that have rendered them unable to care for themselves without assistance. Supervised care 24/7 is another benefit to long-term care. The supervised care usually includes medication management, meals, and assistance with activities of daily living.

Long-term care facilities typically have licensed doctors, nurses, caregivers, and nutritionist on the premises. Physical, occupational, speech, or physiotherapists might also be on site, while others have special services such as Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Continued Care Retirement Communities

You may consider recommending a continued care retirement community if your loved one wishes to have access to a variety of care options while aging in place. It would also be advisable to recommend a continued care retirement community if your parents or loved ones wish to stay together when one spouse has a different care need than the other.

Continued care retirement communities generally have three divisions: independent living division, skilled nursing facility, and assisted living. These options afford your loved one freedom from worrying about making additional arrangements for future care needs.

Independent Living

Another option for your loved is an independent living community. Independent living communities are ideal if your loved one would like to live in a lively community setting with individuals of similar ages where he or she can mingle. Independent living homes include senior housing sites, retirement communities, senior apartments, and retirement homes.

Independent living communities are designed similar to a college campus. Your loved one does not have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or other general housekeeping activities. Independent living communities are relatively easy to navigate. They also come with assistance for outdoor maintenance and activities.

Aging Place

If your loved one is independent and able to remain at home where friends and family can surround them, aging in place with in-home care might be the best option. With aging in place, your loved one might need a variety of services to assist with activities of daily living. For example, he or she may need their meals delivered, cleaning, or assistance with errands, among others.

Modifications may also be made to your loved one’s home to improve safety and navigation. These improvements might include installing bathroom grab bars, medical alert systems, and even wheelchair ramps.

Assisted Living Community

Assisted living communities are one- or two-bedroom apartments where your loved one can receive care and assistance. Assisted living communities offer a variety of services and different levels of care; however, some services are standard across communities. Such services include housekeeping, bathing, meal provision, transportation, medication management, and assistance with dressing.

These communities also try to ensure that staff is available all day long on the premises to attend to every need. Additionally, your loved one has access to common areas for recreational activities and socialization. Lastly there is usually a shared dining area where restaurant style meals are provided.

Residential Care Home

If your loved one prefers to be in a smaller group setting and requires personalized care in a home-setting, a residential care facility is a great option. Such facilities are designed to provide personalized services in a place that feels like home.

Residential care homes are also usually referred to as board and care homes, adult family homes, or home-setting care. Services generally include lodging, assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s), and meal preparation.


Group of adult multiethnic friends playing American football on the beach

The Village Concept

The village concept is usually best suited if your loved one needs treatment and care similar to the care provided in a retirement home, but does not wish to leave his or her home. With this option, your loved one can remain at home and receive help and services from neighbors, local businesses, younger village members, and other youth groups. Yard work, transportation, and bookkeeping may also be provided by individuals in the village.

If your loved one does want to choose housing options that involve their own homes but is looking for a change in environment, Connect 55+ communities are the best choice as they offer various housing services across multiple cities.

Understanding your loved one’s preferences and possible options for care will help you to render the best advice to your loved one. Be sure to explain each option and associated price ranges, so that you can factor in cost and affordability before arriving at a decision. Together, you and your loved one will feel good about making an informed decision, that includes care preferences, affordability, and your loved one’s long-term needs.