Aging is a time of adaptation and change. Planning for the future will ensure that your loved one's needs are fully met. When the time comes to seek extra help or move to a senior living community, there are many options to consider. Awareness of all of these options will help you and your loved one to make an informed and confident decision on how and where to receive care.
Types of Senior Housing
- Aging in Place with in-Home Care
If the goal is for the senior to remain living in their own home, but they need some help with activities of daily living, home care is a good option. Home care services range from bathing and dressing, housecleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, medication management and more. Not all home care agencies provide registered nurses for skilled medical care, so check with the agency to ensure the elder's needs are met.
- Independent Living
When an elderly person still has the physical and mental capacity to live independently, but wants companionship with others who are their age, independent living could be a good option. Independent living communities, also known as retirement communities, promote seniors' active lifestyles while offering a secure environment and providing specific services and amenities related to elderly people's needs. If your elderly parent is not in good health, or cannot care for themselves without assistance, they are not a candidate for independent living.
- Assisted Living
Assisted living is a housing option for seniors who cannot live independently and for safety reasons, need staff close-by to monitor them. Apartment-style living is common, with studio apartments and one, two or three bedroom apartments with kitchens, private bathrooms and couples can usually live together. Assisted living communities might provide daily living care for bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and eating -- however be sure to read to contract carefully. In some cases, "personal care" is an additional cost, or an outside home health care agency is required to perform these tasks.
- Continuing Care Retirement Facility
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) include independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care in one location, so seniors can stay in the same general area as their housing needs change over time. Elders usually have the luxury of living in the same apartment or house while living independently or in assisted living; however, once the elder moves into skilled nursing, they usually move to a different part of the building or campus.
- Skilled Nursing (Nursing homes)
Skilled nursing homes are for elders who have health conditions that require constant monitoring and availability of medical personnel. Skilled nursing facilities, also known as nursing homes or extended care services, provide 24-hour supervision, meals, activities and health management support for their residents. A licensed physician supervises each resident's care and a nurse or other medical professional is almost always on the premises. Skilled nursing care and medical professionals such as occupational or physical therapists are also available.
- Memory Care
Many communities provide specialized care for people with Alzheimer's or dementia, often known as memory care. Memory care is a form of long-term residential care designed to meet the care needs of those experiencing cognitive decline. Memory care can be provided in a stand alone facility or a unit within a tiered senior living community that is staffed with attention to a higher level of care and security.
- HUD- Sponsored Senior Housing
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development creates affordable housing through public housing, subsidized housing, and housing vouchers. Formerly known as Section 8, rent vouchers may be provided to seniors for housing in the private market. Eligibility is based on income. There are extremely long waiting lists to qualify, and HUD does not assist with locating housing in which an owner will agree to rent using the HUD program's guidelines. In communities where public housing is available, seniors should apply through their local public housing authority. Eligibility is based on the ability to live independently and show financial need. Once accepted into a public housing setting, the senior must live in the community where accepted, acceptance is not transferrable.