Questions & Answers

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a residential option for seniors who want or need help with some of the activities of daily living—including but not limited to cooking meals, getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night, keeping house, and traveling to appointments.

Either an assisted living community or care home (also referred to as a group home, usually with 10 residents or less) may be a good choice if you need more personal care services than you can get at home or at an independent living retirement community, but you don’t necessarily need the round-the-clock medical care of a skilled nursing home.

Assisted living communities and homes offer the safety and security of 24-hour support and access to care. In care homes there is more individualized care as opposed to care found in a community. There are less patients for one caregiver than there are in a community. Doctors and nurses are available at communities and care homes. However, privacy and independence are encouraged. A good community or care home will develop a personalized plan that meets your needs and accommodates your disabilities, all while giving you the freedom to do what you can for yourself. In general, assisted living is in a residential type facility. Some provide apartment-style living with scaled down kitchens, while others provide rooms. In some, you may need to share a room unless you are willing to pay a higher price. Most communities and care homes have a group dining area and common areas for social and recreational activities.

Usually a community is recommended for seniors who enjoy many social activities, do not require as much care, and are not at a severe fall risk. If more care is needed and the senior is less active then a care home is usually the better option. The family’s budget is also a factor, of course. Communities tend to be more expensive. Care homes usually do not increase their rates as the senior needs more care. Rates at a community generally will increase as the senior needs more care.

What is Independent Living?

Independent living is simply any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, generally those aged 55 and over. Housing varies vastly from apartment-style living to freestanding homes. In general, the housing is friendlier to older adults, often being more compact with easier navigation and no maintenance or yard work to worry about.

While residents live independently, most communities offer amenities, activities, and services. Often, recreational centers or clubhouses are available on site to give seniors the opportunity to connect with peers and participate in community activities, such as arts and crafts, holiday gatherings, continuing education classes, and movie nights. Independent living facilities may also offer amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, tennis courts, or even golf courses, among other potential clubs and interest groups. Other services offered in independent living may include onsite spas, beauty and barber salons, daily meals, and basic housekeeping and laundry services.

Since independent living facilities are aimed at older adults who need little or no assistance with activities of daily living, most do not offer medical care or nursing staff. However, if needed it is generally close by in another part of the community. Utilization of medical care or nuring staff comes with increased costs. At this point moving to an assisted living community or care home is usually recommended.

Our staff at Caring Senior Transitions will ask the senior, family and case manager, in the case they are at a medical facility, thorough and crucial questions to determine what housing and care arrangements would be suitable.