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Overview of Senior Housing and Care Types

Senior housing includes a wide variety of housing types, some of which involve personal and health care.

There is no "typical" resident of a senior housing community. Ages of residents range from 55 years of age to over 100. Residents include those that are still working full time, part time and the retired.

The wide spectrum of senior housing options range from large master planned retirement communities that are designed for the active independent living senior that uses the gym and pool, plays golf and tennis, rides bicycles, walks, practices tai chi and aerobics through the other end of the spectrum involving nursing care facilities that provide ongoing personal and health care.

Senior housing facility types include active senior independent living communities, senior apartments, assisted living facilities, board and care homes, continuing care retirement communities, memory and Alzheimer's care facilities and nursing homes.

Someone with long term physical limitations or memory loss including Alzheimer's will often need ongoing personal and health care.

Personal care can involve a variety of services including help with activities of daily living including hygiene, dressing and bathing, using the bathroom, incontinence control and assistance with taking medications.

Health care includes the changing and adjustment of dressings, casts and medical appliances, administering medications orally, intravenously and by feeding tube.

Long term personal and health care can be provided in-home and at specialized assisted living, memory and Alzheimer's care and nursing care facilities.

Please click on any of the tabs on the left side of each page for detailed information on a specific type of senior housing and care.

The most common options for senior housing are:

  • In Home Living - The least restrictive environment for the individual, remaining at home is considered by the majority of seniors to be the most desirable option. As the individual ages, modifications to the living environment can be made to ensure the continued safety of the person and in-home health and care giving services can be employed.

  • Independent Living - A living environment in which the individual is self-sufficient and resides within a community where there is little worry about home maintenance and a wide variety of social and recreational activities are offered. This category includes living within one's own home, active senior housing and senior apartments.

  • Assisted Living - Housing for individuals who do not require a great deal of medical care but who may need assistance with daily care such as bathing, dressing, cooking, grooming and transportation. Assisted living can take place within a senior housing community or within the individual's own home with the assistance of outside caregivers including home care and health aides, meal delivery services and community transportation services.

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities - A combination of various types of housing and care facilities that includes independent living housing, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are developed so that the individual can remain within the same basic facility during his or her retirement years and continue to receive services that address health and housing needs as he or she ages.

  • Memory care facilities (also referred to Alzheimer's care facilities) provide care for individuals that are experiencing memory impairments including dementia and Alzheimer's disease. These facilities tend to be very similar to apartments as opposed the more medically oriented nursing care facilities.

  • Nursing Care Facilities - Medically oriented settings (or in some cases home-like settings) with 24-hour nursing care for individuals in need of rehabilitative care as well as long-term health care. In addition to nursing care, residents receive daily personal care assistance with bathing, dressing, and meals, as well as structured recreational and social activities.