Independent Living is a general name for any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors. Other terms include retirement communities and senior apartments. In general, it is housing that is friendlier to older adults. As we age, many of us are faced with the prospect of revising our living arrangements. If you feel overwhelmed by home upkeep, cut off from transport and social amenities, or simply want more companionship with others your age, an independent living facility or retirement home may be a good option.
Generally, assisted living is a housing option for those who need help with basic activities for daily living (ADL - a frequently used industry acronym ). These include the daily tasks of eating, dressing, bathing, and managing medications. Most assisted living communities provide apartment-style living with scaled down kitchens, while others provide single rooms. Most facilities also offer room-mate options that can help with overall costs. Assisted living communities provide group dining areas and other common areas for social and recreational activities.
As the name implies, memory care is a specialized type of senior care designed to meet the unique needs of those with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. As Alzheimer's disease and dementia progress, the level of care and assistance needed will also progress and there may come a time when it is necessary to consider other care options.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC's)
Although healthy right now many seniors want to make long term plans which include the possibility of a significant change in health and health related issues as they age. A CCRC offers a continuum of care from independent living to nursing home care in the same community. As a resident begins to need more help with the activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, eating or managing medications they can transfer from independent living to assisted living. In the case of an accident or prolonged illness there is a skilled nursing facility on the same site. This is particularly helpful to married couples that might require different levels of care.
Life Care Communities
A Life Care Community is also a continuing care retirement community offering a continuum of care from independent living to nursing home care. They differ from other senior living communities in that they require a long-term, upfront financial commitment that serves to guarantee housing, services and nursing care all in one community through the end of life. This up front payment can also guarantee a locked-in price as residents move to a greater level of care. These communities are a good alternative for those who are healthy now but do not have long term care insurance. Entrance into a life care community is always through Independent Living and applicants typically must pass health and medical requirements.
Home Health & Home Care
Senior home health care is a government-regulated service provided at home to elderly disabled or chronically ill people. These agencies will provide physical care such as nursing, physical therapy or speech therapy. They also provide assistance with the activities of daily living such as housekeeping, bathing, dressing, meals and help in managing medications.