What are the Different Types of Senior Care Communities?

senior care communitiesAs people age, they aren’t always able to stay in the home they’ve lived in for many years. It could be that their home is too big, requires too much maintenance, or has just become too expensive to live in. Or perhaps they decide to move closer to children or other family members who can provide them with much-needed help and assistance.

When we are talking to our clients about the different types of senior communities, there are four main types of communities available to our senior population. When making a decision to help a loved one move into a senior care community, the first decision that needs to be made is what level of senior care is required. Once you have made that determination, you can visit and tour the properties that best meet the needs of your family member.

We break down these senior care communities into four main categories.

The Four Categories of Senior Care Communities:

  1. Age Restricted Communities
  2. Independent Living Communities
  3. Assisted Living Communities
  4. Skilled Nursing Facilities

There is a fifth option that is specifically for those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and that is called a “Memory Care” Unit. I’ll discuss that option in a separate post.

Age Restricted or “Active Adult” Communities

These are communities that typically have an age restriction for the residents (Typically 55 and up). One of the most famous of these communities is The Villages in Florida. These are communities where older people can live in everything from a standalone house to an apartment or condo. There are typically many amenities that are focused on the aging population, such as tennis courts, swimming pools, golf courses, restaurants and more. For active seniors who want to be around other active seniors, this is typically a great option.

Age Restricted communities in the Triangle include:

  • Carolina Preserve
  • Heritage Pines
  • Blakely
  • Carolina Arbors
  • Creekside at Bethpage
  • Regency at White Oak Creek

Independent Living Facilities

An independent living facility is a great option for seniors who are well enough to live on their own but want to maintain the community and social interactions that come from living with other senior adults.  In these facilities, the residents will receive meals, housekeeping services, and opportunities for socialization through activities and other wellness programs. Residents can purchase or rent an easy to maintain standalone home or apartment within the community.

Generally speaking, an independent living facility will not offer medical services, but they may partner with an independent home health care provider who will provide services to residents on an as-needed basis.

An age-restricted community is a great option for seniors who are mostly independent and enjoy having the convenience of pre-planned programs and activities, easy access to other amenities, a community of similarly situated seniors, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they are safe if an emergency should arise.

Assisted Living Facilities

An assisted living community offers a step up in support and monitoring from that of an independent living facility. Residents are provided a studio or one-bedroom apartment with a small kitchenette for residents that prefer to cook on their own. These facilities provide 24-hour support and access to additional personal care services, such as help with bathing, medication reminders, dressing, and more. Residents also typically receive 3 meals a day which are included in the overall cost of the facility.

These are a good option for residents who need help with personal care services but do not require 24-hour medical care and supervision.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities offer the highest level of care for our senior population. These are most appropriate for chronically ill patients that require assistance with multiple activities of daily living, such as dressing, eating, toileting, bathing, taking medications, and more.

In these facilities, the residents typically live in a private (one bed) or semi-private (two beds) room. The residents received care 24-hours a day by a licensed nurse or nurse’s aide. In addition, these facilities offer social and educational activities for their residents. This is considered a “long-term care” facility and can be paid for by either private funds or with the assistance of Medicaid.

Which Type of Senior Care Community is Best for Your Family?

Every senior’s needs are different. And choosing a category of senior care community is a highly personal decision that should be made with the primary goal of keeping the resident safe and ensure that there personal and medical needs are appropriately taken care of.

Some facilities offer a smooth transition from independent living to assisted living, and some even offer a memory care unit for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients who are otherwise independent but need some supervision and monitoring.

At The Hart Law Firm, we are developing relationships with many of the communities in the Cary and Raleigh area. If you are looking for a referral or more information about these communities, please feel free to reach out to us at (919) 460-5422.