As you get older or when you have a older family member or friend, there may come a time when you or they need additional assistance. At this point, you can either consider contracting with a home healthcare provider or move to one of the many forms of senior housing.
This article outlines the different versions of the senior housing that exist including independent living, assisted living, memory and continuing care retirement community, or a life plan community. In choosing the right place it is important to know what specific care you or they will need. Some locations offer specific services for particulars needs that are not available at other facilities.
SeniorCareData.com provides detailed information on home healthcare agencies and skilled nursing homes.
The Different Types of Senior Living Facilities
Independent living is a housing arrangement designed for older adults who are age 55 and above. The housing type can vary from apartment-style living to single-family detached homes. Its primary purpose is to give ease of living to older adults who need little to no assistance with their daily living. Some independent living facilities do not offer medical or nursing staff but hiring in-home help is acceptable.
Why Independent Living?
- Active, independent senior
- Can safely manage personal care needs
- Independently manage their medications
- Intend – and are able – to maintain an active lifestyle
- Basically an apartment
- Private rooms for individuals or couples
- Maintenance and upkeep
- 24-hr staff to provide help
- Range of activities and social events
The monthly cost for independent living can vary from $1,500 to $5,000.
Neither Medicare nor Medicaid pay for independent living. Medicaid may cover some costs related for things like physical therapy which generally falls under the umbrella of home healthcare.
Assisted living is similar to Independent Living in that nursing care is not provided around the clock. Residents are expected to be able to generally care for themselves although some services typically are provided, like meals and transportation.
Why Assisted Living?
- If you find you need help with daily activities such as bathing and dressing
- If you are concerned about personal care and safety, such as falling down
- If you need help preparing meals
- If there is not someone else at home that can provide assistance
- If mobility is a problem
- If you want to be part of a larger community
- Looks like an apartment equipped for handicapped people
- Typically a private room for individuals or couples
- Three meals a day are served in a common dining area
- Housekeeping services
- Access to health and medical services
- Emergency call systems
- Exercise and wellness programs
- Medication management
- Laundry services
- Social and recreational activities
- Other assistance at an additional cost, such as assistance with bathing, dressing, go to the bathroom, and walking
The monthly cost for assisted living can vary from $1,500 to $5,000.
Neither Medicare nor Medicaid pay for assisted living. Medicaid may cover some costs related for things like physical therapy which generally falls under the umbrella of home healthcare.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
Nursing homes are ideal for seniors who require nurse care around the clock. They offer the highest level of care to older adults outside of a hospital. What they provide is often referred to as custodial care.
Why Nursing Homes?
- You require regular medical assistance
- You cannot perform your normal daily routine without assistance
- You require other medical services
- Looks like a hospital room
- Private or semi-private rooms
- Advanced treatments similar to a hospital room
- All meals customized to dietary requirement
- Regular medical evaluations
- Round the clock nursing
- Some social activities
- On-site rehabilitation facilities and assistance
- Usually an on-site pharmacy, laboratory, and radiological lab
Costs for skilled nursing facilities can range from $4,000 to more than $10,000 per month
Part A of Medicare will pay a portion of the cost of skilled nursing. For the first 20 days, Medicare pays all costs, after that until 100 consecutive data, insured have to pay $185.50 per day (or approximately $5,565 per month). Medicare will not cover stays past 100 days. Coverage also depends upon the health of the patient and you must be referred by a hospital. Medicaid may provide some additional benefits depending upon the state.
Alzheimer’s/Memory Care Units
Memory care facilities are places where older people with memory problems like Alzheimer’s disease are most likely to stay. They offer 24-hour care with specialized staff, memory-enhancing activities and therapies, and a secured environment. They also provide meals and housekeeping with the assistance of daily living for the seniors.
Why Alzheimer’s/Memory Care Units?
- Patients need round the clock monitoring
- Patients are difficult-to-manage behaviors, such as Sundowner’s Syndrome, wandering, or aggression
- You struggle to remain engaged in meaningful activities
- Rooms are like hospital rooms rather than apartments
- May be private or semi-private
- Memory-enhancing activities and therapies
- Meals and housekeeping
- Assistance with daily routines
- Social activities
- Medication management
- Physical therapy
- Secured entrances and exists
Costs for Alzheimer/Memory Care Units can range from $4,000 to more than $10,000 per month
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) / Full-Service Housing
A continuing care retirement community is a facility that incorporates the entire spectrum of senior housing options.
Why Continuing Care Retirement Communities?
- Residents do not have to move as often. Once in a CCRC, as your needs change you remain within the same facility and same community.
- This also works if couples require different levels of care
- Independent Living
- Assisted living
- Skilled nursing
- Assistance with daily living needs
- Mental therapy
- Physical therapy
- Nutritional counseling
- Recreational and social activities.
Costs for CCRC ranges from $1,500 to more than $10,000 depending upon the level of care.
Medicare will cover part of the costs at the skilled nursing level. Medicaid will cover some of the therapy costs.
For older people to get the care they need, they must choose which type of senior living facility would best fit their needs. The most common would be nursing homes but assisted living, or independent living would be a good choice if you are not ill and do not require 24-hour medical assistance. You will still receive the medical help you need, but you will have the freedom to do other things in other seniors’ companies. You also have an option to continue living in your residential home or live in a community facility. For example, if the senior has memory problems, the best option is to send them to a Memory Care facility to give the required care for seniors with memory problems. If the senior chooses to stay in the same place, they may select retirement facilities. Unlike other facilities, CCRCs are pretty expensive, but if you know the methods of paying, your seniors might be able to live in retirement homes for a long time.
Meanwhile, senior day programs apply to older adults who need to be supervised and daily personal care. This is the most economical option for family members with regards to their seniors. The last option would be hospice care. Hospice care is often the go-to facility for seniors with terminal illnesses who wouldn’t want to undergo any operations.
Senior Day Programs
Another option for people that are not ready or do not want to move into senior housing full time is senior day programs. These can be good if you have other people at home that can help in the evenings and weekend but work during the day.